Working towards sustainable student recruitment – an agent’s view

This guest blog is written by Pankaj Trivedi, Director at India-based Trivedi Educational Consultants, providing counselling and guidance to students and professionals who intend to pursue their education and training at universities and colleges abroad.  He provides a few key thoughts about recruiting Indian students to worldwide study destinations and perceptions of student decision-making in the current climate.

These days for Indian students technology plays an important role and has opened a lot of gateways. Information can be easily accessed at the click of a button and students are more aware and well-informed. The internet not only provides students with information they are specifically looking for, but also a lot of secondary information which is easily accessible and helps them to take a better decision in pursuing their study abroad.

Despite this, a large number of students still prefer to process applications through agents. Today Indian students have become more conscious of university rankings, alongside the courses on offer and their future prospects. There is a vast change in terms of the curriculum and the diverse courses students are considering when looking at study abroad. The undergraduate market has seen tremendous growth due to the number of schools offering IB and IGCSC curriculum and the pathway market is also increasing in a big way.

Apart from popular destinations like USA, UK & Australia, there are many more active countries like Canada, New Zealand, Singapore and Germany (giving a full fee waiver), which has caught the eye of students who want to study abroad. In our experience, engineering students still opt for the US against any other study destination across the globe.

Students seeking study abroad are looking for work experience and so they prefer sandwich courses, or courses with internship and consultancy projects. Some universities have introduced these courses and students receive them very well, while others have achieved good results by forming partnerships with local institutes for twinning programs/dual degrees.

Students looking for immigration are now exploring countries like Canada under the SPP program and New Zealand. The market for the UK has changed following the withdrawal of the PSW visa. Numbers are not substantially affected in metro cities and for quality players, but it has a tremendous impact on the Tier 2 & 3 cities. One has to accept that the numbers during the PSW were an anomaly.

Finally, in the past few years UK universities have diluted the brand with over-marketing and lowering of entry criteria; Universities need to work on ‘Brand Equity’ and a longer-term approach, which will help them achieve consistent student numbers with reasonable growth year after year.