International Educator - March/April 2018 - 42

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INTERNATIONAL ENROLLMENT
By Glenn Cook

Boosting International Recruitment Efforts
by Working With Alumni
work to boost international recruitment efforts, alumni
who have graduated and returned to their native countries are sought after resources. But working
with alumni can present a series of challenges if you don't have the proper elements-organization,
resources, and understanding-in place.

AS U.S. COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

Alumni can help connect with prospective students
who come from the same country or region. "It can
mean a lot when someone who is from your hometown
has been to the school, has a successful career, and has
returned home and made an impact. That's really powerful," says Aaron Zdawczyk, director of international
recruitment at Northwestern University in Chicago.
But in many cases, budget-strapped admissions offices
have come to rely on alumni to do more than they are
qualified to do, and the end result is negative for all parties-students, staff, alumni, and the university.
"Because international recruiting can be so expensive, we've seen other universities that think of alumni
as a cost-saving tool," says Wei Loon Leong, University
at Buffalo's director of international alumni engagement.
"These are volunteers who often are doing their best to
answer questions, but they don't have the type of knowledge that a university employee does, so parents and
prospective students don't get their questions answered.
That can hurt you more than help you."

Appropriate Role of Alumni in
Recruitment
In what admissions officials describe as a best-case
scenario, Leong's background is perfect for his role at the
university. The native of Malaysia received his bachelor's
degree and MBA from the University at Buffalo, then
worked in China for eight years in K-12 international
school management before returning to his alma mater
in 2012.
"I was an alum working to recruit and I've seen a little
bit of everything, both good and bad," he says.
The University at Buffalo has nearly 4,700 international students-about two-thirds are graduate and PhD
candidates-and more than 31,000 international alumni.
But the university purposely limits the types of alumni it
uses in recruitment and makes sure those who do help
42  

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR M A R .+ A P R . 2018

know what to talk about and when to make a referral to
staff, says Joseph J. Hindrawan, associate vice provost for
international education.
"Unfortunately, not every alum is a good recruiter,"
Hindrawan says, noting that international graduates are
always accompanied by a recruiter on site. "They may
not have been on campus in 20 years and may not know
about the new buildings, research, and social happenings. Students attend the recruitment events to make a
connection and learn more about the university than what
they can learn online, or they have very specific questions.
When an alum representing the university does not have
the answer, students are disappointed."
Leong looks for graduates who have previously worked
with Buffalo's international admissions or education office,
and seeks referrals from other alumni who live in a particular country. Like others in his field, he relies on social
networking groups-LinkedIn, Facebook, and, in China,
WeChat-to engage prospective alumni, then follows up
with interested parties as needed via email. Because the
university offers limited training to the alum before an
event-usually only 30 minutes in a face-to-face meeting-word of mouth is key in finding good candidates.
"One of the greatest challenges is not biting off more
than you can chew, and there are limitations on what you
can expect from alumni," Zdawcyzk says. "The alum's role
is to essentially discuss their experience and direct people
to the proper information, not to distribute information.
I like to say their role is to enthuse, excite, and provide
access."

Engaging With Prospective Students
Providing alumni opportunities to engage with prospective students is "a great touch point for the university," says
Melissa Thammavongsa, international alumni officer for
the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa. Eleven
percent of USF's 40,000-plus students are international.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - March/April 2018

From the Desk of
Frontlines
In Brief
Global Spotlight: Canada
Quick Questions
Feature: Using Technology to Reach Students Where They Are
Feature: Global Connections, Staying Local: Online International Education Continues to Grow As an Alternative—and Support—to In-Person Study
Feature: Getting to Work How Career Services Offices Are Helping Students Launch Their Careers
Feature: How Assessment Approaches Measure Up
Education Abroad
International Student Affairs
International Enrollment
International Education Leadership
Forum
In Focus
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Cover1
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Cover2
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 1
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 2
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 3
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 4
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 5
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 6
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 7
International Educator - March/April 2018 - From the Desk of
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Frontlines
International Educator - March/April 2018 - In Brief
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 11
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 12
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Global Spotlight: Canada
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 14
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 15
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Quick Questions
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 17
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Feature: Using Technology to Reach Students Where They Are
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 19
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 20
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 21
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 22
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 23
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Feature: Global Connections, Staying Local: Online International Education Continues to Grow As an Alternative—and Support—to In-Person Study
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 25
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 26
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 27
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Feature: Getting to Work How Career Services Offices Are Helping Students Launch Their Careers
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 29
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 30
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 31
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Feature: How Assessment Approaches Measure Up
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 33
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 34
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 35
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 36
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 37
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Education Abroad
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 39
International Educator - March/April 2018 - International Student Affairs
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 41
International Educator - March/April 2018 - International Enrollment
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 43
International Educator - March/April 2018 - International Education Leadership
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 45
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Forum
International Educator - March/April 2018 - 47
International Educator - March/April 2018 - In Focus
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Cover3
International Educator - March/April 2018 - Cover4
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