The International Student Recruitment Landscape:

Insights from the Virtual Event Survey

In September 2021, we conducted a short survey to better understand international virtual events and gather some insights from Canadian colleges and universities on international recruitment. Here is what we found.

The Survey

 » 58% of respondents represented a university, 21% college, and 10% other.

» While it was a small sample size, respondents came from institutions including York University, the University of Victoria, Humber College, Western University, Okanagan College, and the Ottawa School of Art.


The most popular recruitment activity is virtual international student fairs

» 74% of respondents indicated that they use virtual international student fairs to recruit students. Working with agents and using social media channels were tied for second place, with 68% of respondents using those methods.

Are you actively recruiting international students, and, if so, what activities are you doing?”

  • Virtual international student fairs 74% 74%
  • Working with agents 68% 68%
  • Social media channels 68% 68%
  • Primarily our own website 63% 63%
  • Virtual open houses and campus tours 63% 63%
  • Internet promotion and advertising 58% 58%
  • In-person education fairs (pre-COVID) 58% 58%
  • Print publications 47% 47%
  • In-country recruiting with our recruiters 42% 42%
  • Generating leads on websites such as 32% 32%
  • Buying mailing lists 5% 5%


Over the next two years, most organizations are looking to recruit many more international students

» 47% of respondents stated that their current student bodies are made up of 10%-20% international students, while 40% said their schools had more than 20%.

» 73% of respondents indicated that they are looking to recruit at least 10% more international students over the next two years.

Over the next couple of years, how many international students is your institution looking to recruit?”

  • 5%-10% more international students 27% 27%
  • 10%-20% more international students 33% 33%
  • Over 20% more international students 40% 40%


Having a well-defined international student recruitment strategy ranked the most important concern

» When it comes to international recruitment concerns, having a strategy ranked first, followed closely by finding the right students to recruit.

In order of importance, what are your most important concerns when it comes to recruiting international students?”

  • Having a well-defined international student recruitment strategy 45% 45%
  • Finding prospective students to recruit 44% 44%
  • Managing recruitment communications 39% 39%
  • Retaining students once we recruit them 38% 38%
  • Getting students integrated with the campus/online school community 32% 32%
  • Managing risk in recruiting from certain countries 29% 29%
  • Managing our agents 29% 29%
  • Helping students cover the costs of tuition and living in Canada 28% 28%
  • Finding agents 18% 18%


Asia and India among the top recruitment destinations

» 47% of respondents stated Asia was an active recruitment destination; followed by 40% for India and 26% Europe.

» Less than 20% of respondents stated that they were actively recruiting in Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean, or the Middle East.

Next Steps


Thank you to those who participated in the survey.

If you’d like more information on the survey or how the SchoolFinder Group can help you recruit international students, you can reach us at:

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