Student experience and the International Education Strategy - Project 2: Practical tips

Student Experience

Student experience and the International Education Strategy - Project 2: Practical tips

Practical tips to help marketing and recruitment teams meet the student experience requirements of the International Education Strategy

YOU WILL LEARN

  • Your role in delivering on the International Education Strategy student experience components
  • Why student experience matters
  • The importance of making your communications student-centred
  • How to provide good student experiences during the attraction and arrival stages
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Introduction

Enabling students to have good experiences of New Zealand is not just about our responsibility to provide good pastoral care. Student experience begins with the marketing and recruitment process.

By considering student/customer experience at every stage of the sales and recruitment process, you’re setting the student up for a positive journey that will generate new business for your institution in the future.

“Our international graduates become life-long ambassadors and advocates for New Zealand, supporting closer international linkages and business opportunities.”

International Student Wellbeing Strategy, June 2017

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About the International Education Strategy

The International Education Strategy has three key goals, which are:

Goal 1: Delivering an excellent education and student experience

Goal 2: Achieving sustainable growth

Goal 3: Developing global citizens

This project focuses on the education industry’s role in helping to meet the intended outcomes of Goal 1.  

Strategy Goals2

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Understanding Goal 1

The strategy identifies three ways to measure how successful we’ve been in meeting Goal 1.

They are:

  • International students receive a high-quality education

  • International students are welcome and safe

  • New Zealand delivers an excellent overall international student experience

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Your role in student experience

Who is responsible for delivering on the government’s commitment to giving international students an excellent overall experience?

While it’s easy to assume responsibility lies with student services teams, student experience starts much earlier than on arrival in New Zealand.

It starts with the teams that generate the business.

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Why it matters

If you work in marketing, student recruitment or sales channels, you probably already understand the importance of the customer experience in converting prospects to enrolments.  

The student experience is the proposition that underpins the brand promise and New Zealand’s attractiveness as a study destination.

Enabling students to have good experiences throughout the student journey not only gives value to students for their investment, but generates goodwill and advocacy over a lifetime. 

ABE graph

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How to tell the student experience story

Making your communications student-centred is a powerful way to talk about what your institution has to offer.

Bring the student voice into your storytelling by:

  • Using peer-to-peer communication – students talking to other students

  • Finding real and meaningful stories to promote to students and families

  • Using students’ individual experiences to find points of difference. For example, ensure your Bachelor of Commerce programme stands out from the rest by having a student talk about what it was like to go through the programme

“The new strategy recognises a maturing industry and strikes a balance between sustainable growth and marking a clear commitment to student experience. The focus on wellbeing and student experience supports our ongoing efforts to life quality across the system.”

Education Minister Hon Chris Hipkins, when launching the International Education Strategy 2018 - 2030

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Student touchpoints

These three touchpoints are particularly critical for student experience, and show the links between attraction, arrival and advocacy.

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1. Channels

Digital events

Students who discover New Zealand through digital searches will be influenced by student stories and by their own motivations: they may be seeking academic rigour or a fun overseas study experience.

Day-in-the-life stories are often used in digital marketing, but it’s also important to focus on the quality of teaching and learning in New Zealand.

You could highlight New Zealand being ranked first in the world at preparing students for the future by The Economist Intelligence Unit (see ENZ’s Future Proof campaign), or show research about our teaching quality and learning style.

TNS research for ENZ tells us that, compared to competitor countries, students who know more about us are more inclined to choose us.

 

Agents

Agents are important influencers who play a key role in setting expectations for student experience.

They can set students up for success, or give them and their families unrealistic ideas about what it might be like to study in New Zealand.

 

Events

Face-to-face events and any other interactions with institution representatives also set expectations for students and families.

Opportunities to speak to current students and alumni provide an authentic perspective and can be particularly powerful.

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2. Application

The application stage is a key opportunity to provide a quality experience.

Factors to consider include:

  • Responding early

  • Providing personalised communications

  • Keeping students engaged

  • Fast, clear decision-making

  • Providing easy-to-understand enrolment instructions

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3. Arrival and orientation

We’ve created a diagram that maps out the student journey, from the ‘dreaming’ stage to embarking on a career.

 

Students’ arrival and orientation experiences stay with them throughout the time they are in New Zealand, and can make or break their impressions of studying here.

So it’s important to get arrival and orientation right, and to make it count.

From an advocacy perspective, students are likely to share their experience of arriving in New Zealand with friends and family.

Orientation can also be a very rewarding time, making a lasting impact on whether students feel welcomed and included.

 

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Summary

  • Marketing, recruitment and sales teams have an important role to play in student experience

  • Good student experiences are good for future business

  • Amplify the student voice into your storytelling

  • Highlight the quality of teaching and our style of learning in your marketing

  • Focus on providing good experiences at the attraction, application and arrival stages

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