The COVID crisis will end and international student markets will reopen. But as we head towards mid-2021 it’s clear that we are not out of the woods yet. Third waves are taking hold in some countries leading to precautionary travel restrictions, and in some cases (for example Australia and New Zealand) borders effectively remain closed completely to international students.
When it is possible for international student to return for face-to-face teaching, recruiting them will be more challenging and competitive than ever.
It’s also likely that education agents may play a much greater role in the recruitment of international students than they did before COVID, particularly in the US, UK and Canada.
Many educational institutions are now focusing on ensuring that their education network and strategy is in good shape to support international student recruitment when markets reopen.
Here COVID-19 strikes again, because recruiting new education agents during the current crisis is hard.
Education agent recruitment options
Most educational institutions that use education agents as part of their international student recruitment strategy must regularly recruit education agents to:
- grow their agent network to achieve a ‘critical mass’ that will deliver the required flow of international student enrolments
- establish representation in new markets, or
- refresh their existing education agent network.
Prior to the current pandemic crisis an educational institution wanting to recruit new education agents could attend a face-to-face education agent recruitment fair in one or more of its target markets. That’s not possible in the midst of COVID-19 because:
- international travel is difficult
- many of the key international student source markets remain high risk for COVID-19, and
- face-to-face education agent fairs have generally been cancelled or postponed for obvious reasons.
Instead you’ll need to consider online options for recruiting education agents. Some of the face-to-face education agent fair providers like ICEF and WEBA are now offering online options, at least in the short term.
AgentBee also offers an online education agent recruitment solution which your institution can implement with $0/zero upfront investment required.