Yet, with competition amongst schools for international students being so heated it pays to stay ahead of the game. Here are a few of the marketing tools and techniques you can use to help put you on top.
- Make your prospectus available digitally and in a variety of languages. Emphasise your facilities, academic achievements, boarding services, and all the photographs of the happy pupils! This means you can quickly and easily reach audiences across the world with as little cost to yourself as possible. Remember to think carefully about what areas of the world you wish to target and choose the appropriate languages.
- Tell potential students how you will help them settle in. Pupils settling into a new school from another side of the country can be difficult for them, and this is even more the case for international students. Always remember to clearly indicate in your literature how your school will help them settle in! Be reassuring about setting up valuable and caring guardians and make sure that, to begin with at least, that there will be someone who can converse with them in their native tongue (although I’m sure they’ll be speaking and writing great English in no time.) The key here is reassurance for both pupil and parent alike.
- Get your name out there in the international education literature (through testimonies, adverts and press releases), and make organizations such as the Boarding School Association aware that you are looking to attract international students. Building your reputation for educating children from abroad may take some time, but once you’ve established yourself within the sector, then you’ll be getting plenty of enquiries!
- Create good working relationships with international school agencies. More often than not, you’re busy running your school and educating the pupils, and finding the time to both attract and manage international students can be resource draining. However, having good working relationships with services such as Anglo Education can be hugely worthwhile. By being on the ground at education fairs around the world (making numerous vital contacts), and holding bags of experience in mentoring and managing pupils through the whole application process, international agents can really make the difference
PS - while the majority of international students study at private schools in the UK, there are many in state schools and this may change further - in July this letter was leaked to the Independent newspaper setting out the idea of opening up academies to international students!
*Christine Alford is Educational Advisor to Anglo Education, an agency that works closely with a number of UK schools to attract students from the Spanish-speaking world. She can be contacted via Christine@angloed.com