A Comprehensive Guide to Recruiting Chinese Students: Strategies and Best Practices in 2023

A Comprehensive Guide to Recruiting Chinese Students: Strategies and Best Practices in 2023

06 Jan 2023 |  Shy L & Lorrie Y  | 7 min read

In recent years, the Chinese government has been actively promoting international education, which has resulted in a significant increase in Chinese students studying abroad. However, the pandemic has caused a big hit in the market.

Number of Chinese students study abroad from Statistics
Number of Chinese students study abroad from Statistics

Fortunately, throughout 2021 we saw news reports regarding Chinese enrollment progressively increasing after reaching a low point in 2020 in several nations and educational institutions. Moreover, a Shanghai-based research firm’s survey found that 83% of China’s millionaires plan to send their children abroad for education.

With the vast number of Chinese students seeking higher education abroad, universities and institutions worldwide are looking for ways to recruit Chinese students.

In this article, we will explain why Chinese students choose foreign studies rather than study in their hometown, tips, and strategies to effectively recruit Chinese students, and explain the benefits of attracting this talented pool of candidates. We will also discuss the best practices for reaching out to these Chinese students and maintaining relationships with them throughout their studies and beyond.

Why do Chinese students choose to study abroad?

China has a long history dating back more than 5,000 years. For example, the country is home to various cultural traditions and diverse experiences, so there is always something new to discover and learn. Despite this, many Chinese students choose to study abroad, leaving the country to pursue their education in other countries. This raises the question of why Chinese students want to study abroad rather than stay in China to continue their studies.

Here are a few reasons you should know why Chinese students choose foreign studies

Enriched experience, including cultural and language learning

In the article “Global Citizenship Development: Effects of Study Abroad and Other Factors”, one Chinese student remarked the trip to Spain gave him a new perspective on the world and made him more conscious of how much civilisations differ from one another.

It also allows Chinese students to learn a new language and culture, which can be beneficial for personal growth and career development.

Future career/employment advancement

There is a deep belief that receiving an education abroad is a way to gain an edge in the job market and professional advancement among Chinese students and their parents. In addition, many international employers value the experience and skills Chinese students gain while studying abroad.

Employment and Career development for Chinese students
Employment and Career Development for Chinese students

Better advanced quality of education

In China, students learn that there is only one correct answer, which may develop drawbacks, such as thinking outside the box. In contrast, foreign schools allow them a flexible learning environment and focus more on students’ abilities, such as leadership, teamwork, and decision-making.

The different education system gives Chinese students the ability to absorb knowledge, apply it, and continue learning.

The purpose and meaning of studying abroad varies from person to person, but it generally offers an opportunity for personal and academic growth. It can also open up a range of possibilities and opportunities for students to explore. Overall, studying abroad can be a catalyst for growth, as it allows students to expand their horizons and learn in ways that might not be possible if they stayed in their home country.

Best practices to reach out to recruit Chinese students

As the demand for international education grows in China, many educational institutions seek to attract talented students from this large and rapidly-developing market. However, recruiting Chinese students can be a challenging and competitive process. Given these circumstances, how can you effectively and affordably increase the visibility and reputation of your educational institution in China to attract students?

To gain visibility in China, here are several strategies you could include:

Leverage Online Platforms / Social Media

Chinese students are increasingly using online platforms to search for universities, courses, and scholarships. Therefore, universities need to be present on popular Chinese websites such as Weibo, WeChat, and Baidu. Having your own quality Chinese landing page and online presence is essential. These websites allow universities to interact effectively with potential students and promote your institution.

By sharing casual content about student life, events, and initiatives on a platform like Douyin and Xiaohongshu, you could give potential students a glimpse into what it would be like to study at your institution.

UK University using Douyin as a method to recruit Chinese students
Some UK Universities attract Chinese students from Douyin

Weibo is a microblogging platform like Twitter, but with a much larger user base in China, with over 300 million. It allows you to reach a large audience by linking these resources and embedding QR links in Weibo posts to drive significant traffic to your university’s WeChat page.

Here is a video talking about how to recruit Chinese students from WeChat

China WeChat for Education

On the other hand, WeChat has over 850 million users, with a messaging app that you can use for recruiting students by creating a group or official account for your school, programme, and events and then sharing updates and information about admissions and other opportunities to your potential students. In addition, it allows students to ask questions and interact with admissions officers.

Here are a few additional questions that you may want to consider answering in your article about recruiting Chinese students:

  • How does the university support Chinese students regarding language assistance, cultural adjustment, and other needs?
  • What resources and support does the university offer for Chinese students’ academic and career development?
  • How does the university’s academic program and research opportunities align with the interests and goals of Chinese students?
  • How do the university’s alumni network and career services support Chinese students’ future prospects?

By answering these questions, you can provide valuable information to these students and their families as they consider studying at your institution. It is also vital to highlight any unique features or advantages your university offers and be transparent about any challenges or limitations.

By communicating openly and honestly with Chinese students, you can help them make informed decisions about their education and future.

5 Steps to engage Chinese students in WeChat
5 Steps to engage Chinese students in WeChat

Additionally, to provide the best possible customer service to Chinese students, it is best to have someone fluent in Chinese to communicate with them in their native language. This person can respond to inquiries through your website or school emails, ensuring that Chinese students receive helpful and personalised assistance.

Also, it is crucial to remember that social media strategies in China can be different from those in other countries due to the platforms’ unique characteristics and the audience’s preferences. Therefore, it is a good idea to research and consider working with a local partner or consultant with social media experience in China.

Optimise through SEO ( Search Engine Optimisation)

A significant number of these students (around 90%) say they will use social media (such as Baidu, Xiaohongshu, and Sogou) when deciding about which institution or school to attend. Therefore institutions can establish their reputation and status by publishing useful, reliable content on reputable platforms.

To effectively reach your potential audience, it is crucial to provide consistent fresh content and ensure that it is easy to access and search on Chinese websites through Mandarin keyword searches. By including specific Chinese keywords and phrases on your website, you can make search engines in China prioritise your website and rank higher in search results.

Moreover, to improve your website ranking on Baidu, you can build links from Chinese websites by partnering with Chinese universities and educational organisations, or by creating high-quality content that Chinese websites will want to link to.

Around 70% of Chinese students use their phones as their primary research tool for
researching different options. Therefore, optimising your website to be mobile-friendly and
easy to use on these devices is essential.

4 Ways to Enhance SEO with Baidu
4 Ways to Enhance SEO with Baidu

Here are some relevant articles to help you to improve your SEO:

Baidu SEO Marketing Service

To be successful on social media, it is essential to have an active and engaging presence, with daily interaction and the sharing of high-quality content.

Partner with Chinese agents and education fairs

Using education agents in China to recruit Chinese students is a great way to expand international student recruitment efforts. In addition, education agents can access a wide network of potential students and provide valuable advice about Chinese education.

There are several reasons Chinese students may turn to agents for assistance in finding and applying to universities abroad because of the language, cultural, and logistical challenges they may face.

Many Chinese students may not be fluent in English, which can make it difficult for them to navigate the application process and communicate with universities directly. Agents who speak Chinese and English can help these students overcome this barrier and navigate the application process.

The complexity and time-consuming application process can feel daring if you do it
yourself; therefore, with the help of an agency, you can be more assured and understand
the institutions’ requirements and deadlines.

Why it is beneficial to attract Chinese students to your institution

Why is beneficial to attract Chinese students to your institution
Why it is beneficial to attract Chinese students to your institution

If you are wondering why your institution would need to attract Chinese students, then you
are in the right place!
Chinese students can bring diversity to your institution regarding their cultural, linguistic,
and academic backgrounds. This can enrich the learning experience for all students and create a more global and inclusive community.

Providing opportunities for cultural exchange and understanding between your institution and China. This can foster long-term partnerships and collaborations with Chinese institutions, businesses, and organisations.

By attracting Chinese students you can enhance your institution reputation as a top-quality and international destination for education. This can improve your institution’s ranking and attractiveness to other students and stakeholders.

It can enhance your institution’s global impact by increasing Chinese students with the knowledge and skills they have gained at your institution.

In conclusion, attracting Chinese students to your institution can be beneficial in several ways. Also, by building relationships with these students and supporting their success, you can create a more vibrant and international community at your institution and positively impact the world.

Are you looking for a partner to guide you through the process?

Now is the ideal time to start attracting Chinese students to your institution, as the number of students in China interested in studying abroad is likely to continue growing. We have already discussed some effective ways to attract Chinese students above, and it is crucial to note that this process can be complex and requires in-depth knowledge of the market to be successful. Therefore, it is essential to carefully plan and execute your recruitment efforts to reach and engage potential Chinese students.

You will benefit the most when you partner up with an agency that knows the entire ecosystem in China. We are offering our expertise to speed up the process of attracting Chinese students to your institution.

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