Segmentation to Understand Prospective International Master’s Students

By Li Chang, WES Research & Advisory Services

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LC MM 2013 November IRC 2 2.0

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 The latest report from WES Research & Advisory Services, Student Segmentation for an Effective International Enrollment Strategy, suggests that U.S. higher education institutions (HEIs) should develop effective and informed international enrollment strategies through a deeper understanding of student segments.

According to Open Doors 2012 published by Institute of International Education, 56% of international students in the United States at the graduate level are from China, India, and South Korea.

Graduate applications from international students grew only 2% from 2012 to 2013 due to a sharp decline in interest from China and South Korea, indicating a need for HEIs to better understand their prospective students and adapt enrollment strategies accordingly.

Percent of respondents choosing one of the following among their top three information needs

    • 54% program content
    • 46% reputation
    • 46% career prospect

 22% of the respondents said they used social media or online discussion forum to seek information about studying abroad.

“Social media…….enables us to receive information, react to information and give feedback. As a result, we can better communicate with universities or colleges.”


    • Highlight program differences, reputation, and post-graduation career opportunities in institutional marketing material.
    • Provide more opportunities to communicate directly with admissions officers through virtual channels.
    • Connect prospective students with current students and alumni through online forums and social media.

Develop Informed Enrollment Strategies

Institutions wanting to maximize the efficacy of their outreach efforts have to continuously monitor and adapt to a changing environment.

    • Recognize the diversity of your student body
    • Adapt to the changing needs of students
    • Deploy an analytics-driven framework

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WES Research & Advisory Services offers research-based consulting solutions on student mobility, international enrollment, and transnational education.

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