International Educator - November/December 2016 - 52

INTERNATIONAL ENROLLMENT

Using Social Media
to Recruit Chinese Students

S

By Charlotte West

ince 2009 the Chinese government
has blocked access to many foreign
websites and social media platforms
such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and
Google as part of its Internet censorship
policies. In response, students have flocked
to local providers. Recruiters and marketing
experts say that it's necessary for institutions
wanting to reach Chinese students to have a

users, whereas Weibo has 468 million," adds
Jemma Davies, international education marketing manager at SMRS Ltd in Manchester,
United Kingdom.
She says that WeChat is considered to be
the most sought after social media platform
for Chinese students on a day-to-day basis
because it allows them to remain in contact
with their parents: "As a result the parents

presence on local networks such as messaging app WeChat, microblogging site Weibo,
and video site Youku.
"Social media is not the only channel
that the Chinese students and families are
using to choose foreign institutions, but it is
very important at the initial decisionmaking
stage to learn about what's out there. With
the numbers of (high-school age) students
declining in China, social media adds to the
points of contact for overseas schools to
connect with the students," says Angela
Zhao, senior project manager at Arizona
State University. "In China social media must
be used in combination with other recruiting
methods, such as in-country visits and longterm relationship development."
Many Chinese social media sites are
similar to their foreign counterparts, but
managing Chinese platforms requires local
expertise. "Within China a different platform
is required to reach and attract your target
audience, swapping out YouTube for YouKu,
etc., but then there are platforms like WeChat that offer a unique set of functionality
and a subsequent challenge in terms of
resource, content, and the ability to react in
real time with local language-speaking staff,"
says Anthony Lee, digital marketing director
of the UK-based Study Group.
"As the two main established social
media platforms in China, Weibo and

who in some capacity will financially support
the students use the platform."
She adds that being active on WeChat
and other platforms can help foreign institutions build a reputation within China. "Creating an official presence on WeChat enables
a university to build its brand awareness
among the family members of the prospective students. This is especially useful
because, except for the very top universities,
the brand awareness many universities enjoy
in the West does not exist in the Far East,"
Davies says.
The University of British Columbia (UBC)
in Vancouver, Canada, has created a Weibo
channel where students can ask questions
about UBC and join a community of their
peers. They are also active on Youku, where
students can view their videos. Jessica Allen,
social media coordinator in the UBC Office
of Recruitment Marketing and Prospective
Student Engagement, advises engaging current students in social media efforts.
"The channels are run by a student employee who can read and write in simplified
Chinese characters, who works with our advisers to translate their answers to complex
admissions questions," she says.
In addition to social media platforms,
Quick Response (QR) codes, which can be
scanned by a smartphone, are still popular
in China. According to Zhao, institutions can

WeChat offer great potential opportunities
for Chinese student recruitment. WeChat
has more than 650 million monthly active

use them to collect student data. They also
allow students to easily capture an institution's webpage.

This sidebar was also published in the international enrollment
management supplement with the September/October 2016 issue of International Educator.
EDITOR'S NOTE:

52  

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR N O V + D E C .16

tion about what they want to do in life and
who seem to lack any intrinsic motivation."
"It is no longer to possible to assume the
old stereotypes about Chinese students-that
they're strong in math and science, overall they do well academically, they're highly
motivated, with good reading skills," Urbonya
said. "You can't assume any of this anymore
and that makes our work more challenging.
Having lived and worked in China from 1987
through 2001, I find the attitudes of many of
these students perplexing. "
Ren said she is trying to impress on her
Chinese subscribers the importance that U.S.
colleges and universities place on "soft skills."
"People are talking about soft skills a lot
lately in China-teamwork, leadership skills,
communication skills, presentation skills,
problem-solving skills," she said. "But that
can't be measured or quantified and that
makes parents and students quite confused
at some points, and worried most of the
time. People don't know how to prepare for
that. We advise parents to look at soft skills
early on, not just before applying to college."

Integrating Chinese Students
on Campus
With the large number of incoming Chinese
students on U.S. campuses, many institutions are grappling with ways to better
integrate them to U.S. campus culture.
"Many U.S institutions rely on just a few
countries as sources for their international
students. It is common, when a large contingent of students comes from a single region
or country that the students will congregate
together, reducing the amount of time they
spend integrating into the campus community," Waxman said. "Though they are
motivated to improve their English and you
really want their international experiences
to be part of the educational experience of
everyone on campus, human tendencies to
gravitate toward the easy and familiar undermine our best efforts."
IE
DANA WILKIE is a freelance writer in in
Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. Her last article for
International Educator was "Assessment 101:
Measuring the Success International Student
Integration," which was published in the
September/October 2016 issue.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - November/December 2016

From the Editor
In Brief
Voices
Act Globally
Tradition and History
Health and Insurance
Education Abroad
International Enrollment
View From Out Here
In Focus
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Cover1
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Cover2
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 1
International Educator - November/December 2016 - From the Editor
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 3
International Educator - November/December 2016 - In Brief
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 5
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 6
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 7
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 8
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 9
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 10
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 11
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Voices
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 13
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 14
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 15
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Act Globally
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 17
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 18
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 19
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 20
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 21
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 22
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 23
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 24
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 25
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Tradition and History
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 27
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 28
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 29
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 30
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 31
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 32
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 33
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 34
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 35
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Health and Insurance
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 37
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 38
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 39
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 40
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 41
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Education Abroad
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 43
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 44
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 45
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 46
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 47
International Educator - November/December 2016 - International Enrollment
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 49
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 50
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 51
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 52
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 53
International Educator - November/December 2016 - View From Out Here
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 55
International Educator - November/December 2016 - In Focus
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Cover3
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Cover4
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