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August 2012 issue

Contents
News
News Round Up
Inside the industry
Advisor Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
Vocational Focus
Direction
Special Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
Regional Focus
Market Analysis
Grapevine

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School partnerships

With international recruitment from an array of countries becoming big business for many secondary schools in the USA and Canada, advisors have a greater role to play. Bethan Norris reports.


Agents are very important to our programme,” says Anne-Marie Bereza of Ottawa International Student Programs at Ottawa-Carleton District School Board in Canada, highlighting the important role education consultants have to play in growing international student enrolments in secondary schools in the USA and Canada. “Seventy per cent of our international students are from agents.”

With many secondary schools in the USA and Canada – both in the public and private sector – looking to develop their international student recruitment strategies, debate regarding the use of education consultants is ongoing. However, many schools with a well-developed international programmes area agree that to ensure a wide range of student nationalities, consultants are essential to the marketing mix.

Blair McDonald, Director of Braemar College in Toronto, ON, Canada, says, “Agents form the backbone of our marketing efforts. They have knowledge of the local market that is difficult-to-impossible for a school to acquire, given the number of markets a school covers – in our case 35 markets this year. Approximately 85 per cent of our students are referred via agents.”

When dealing with secondary school aged children, consultants provide a vital link between the school and the parent throughout the enrolment process and beyond. Many parents like the fact that they have someone they can call upon in their own country and language to deal with any issues that may arise. Bereza also highlights that a consultant can deal with a lot of the communication between school and family. “The number one advantage of working with agents is that it is less work for us in the office with questions,” she says. “The agent has an important role in the application process, orientation and also in communicating with the family after the student is in Ottawa.”

Scott Eckstein from Solebury School in New Hope, PA, in the USA says that they use education consultants as well as overseas marketing trips to recruit international students. “Much of the success we have is due to the relationships with consultants we have developed. When consultants understand your school and your programmes, they can help you not simply find students, but to find students who are good fits for the school.”

The value of a good consultant is enhanced by making sure they are familiar with the school and are able to advise their clients effectively. The international programme at Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Wilbraham, MA, in the USA, stretches back many years and the school was the first in the USA to enrol students from China in 1847. Currently, the school enrols students of between 20 and 30 different nationalities and for them a right fit between school and student is very important. Chris Sparks, Director of Admissions at the school, says, “The majority of the consultants that we work with have been on campus and understand what we are looking for. The main advantage they have is the ability to know their area better than anyone, which allows us to have a bigger presence, maximising our resources.”

The school also uses other methods of student recruitment such as “current or former parents who may host receptions in their hometown to generate interest in our school”, although Sparks reports that consultants are “very important” to their international recruiting efforts.

When it comes to finding new and good consultants to work with, many school representatives are clear that face-to-face contact is best at agent fairs. However, McDonald points out that there is more work to be done after attending a fair. “We have attended four agent fairs in the past 12 months. The success of an agent fair turns on the degree of follow up done by the school representative. Office visits, staff training, [and] doing joint promotional events are all key to taking a contact and turning them into an active partner who is referring students.”

Reaching out to new agents can also be done through personal visits to a country and can ultimately result in far more student enrolments than a direct marketing approach in that particular country. McDonald suggests that in countries such as Kazakhstan, using the local knowledge of consultants is essential. “This year we did a four-city tour [of Kazakhstan] with an agency and the results have been good. Trying to sell direct in a market like this where the school representative does not speak the language would be futile.”

For Eckstein, using consultants is essential when trying to tap into certain student markets. “Because the volume of applicants is lower, I find consultants from Europe in particular crucial in recruiting students,” he says.


Association support

Since 2008, public schools in Canada that offer international programmes have been able to join the Canadian Association of Public Schools – International (Caps-i), an association that sets quality standards and promotes the use of overseas consultants.

Brent Poole, President of Caps-i, says according to a recent survey of members, more than two-thirds of all overseas students at member schools were referred by an overseas partner. He says, “We at Caps-i have strived to improve our website, printed material and online resources over the past year to help improve understanding among agents about public education in Canada and the various programme optionsand opportunities.”

As well as being a source of information for consultants, Caps-i also assists in facilitating consultant partnerships with schools. “Our organisation is happy to assist agents whether they are sourcing a unique programme to meet the needs of a particular student or, for example, are looking for a new partner for a short-term programme,” says Poole. “We will quickly and efficiently survey our membership and provide agents with several options to further explore.”

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Study Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.

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Company

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ASSOCIATIONS / GROUPS
Alto  
English Australia  
MEI - Marketing English in Ireland  
Perth Education City  
Study Gold Coast  
English in Chester  
Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart  

ACCOMMODATION
English Australia  

AUSTRALIA
IELTS  
Perth Education City  
Study Gold Coast  

CANADA
Bow Valley College  
Braemar College  
Centennial College  
College of New Caledonia  
Connect School of Languages  
Georgian College  
Hansa Language Centre of Toronto  
Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced  
Omnicom School of Languages  
Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology  
St James Assiniboia   
York University English Language Institute  
iMandarin Language Training Institute  

CHINA
Camp Beaumont  

ENGLAND
English in Chester  
Embassy CES   
International House London  
INTO University Partnerships  
Kaplan International Colleges  
London School of Business & Finance  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
Stafford House   
St Giles International  
University of Essex - International Academy  
Wimbledon School of English  
Alphe Conferences  

EVENTS
Cambridge Esol  

EXAM BOARDS
IELTS  
Trinity College London  
TOEFL Educational Testing Service  
Active Language Learning  

IRELAND
Centre of English Studies  
Clare Language Centre  
English Language Academy ELA  
Galway Cultural Institute  
Galway Language Centre  
Language College Ireland  
University College Cork Language Centre  
Clubclass Residential Language School  

MALTA
Malta Tourism Authority  
Maltalingua Ltd.  
CNN International Language School  

PHILIPPINES
EIEN Power  
Global Standard  
MDL Cebu Language School  
Paradise English  
International House - Sevilla CLIC  

SPAIN
Xul Comunicación Social  
EF International Language Centers  

SWITZERLAND
Eurocentres International  
Malta Tourism Authority  

TOURIST BOARDS
California State University San Marcos  

USA
ELS Language Centers  
Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart  
University of California San Diego  
Zoni Language Centers  





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