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All The SMIE News Fit To Share

In our day-to-day professional work in international education, we all struggle to manage information flow, identify opportunities, synthesize possible solutions, and act appropriately to better ourselves, our audiences, and our world. 

To help in this often overwhelming task, Social Media & International Education (SMIE) Consulting offers this free weekly e-news brief to share our perspectives and to provide some wisdom along the way. Happy reading!

An archive of these e-news briefs is kept on the SMIE Consulting site.

Top SMIE News for the Week of July 6
International Education News
  • The Big Picture
    • The pandemic's impact on intl student mobility will be felt for some time to come, but right now the biggest challenge are the lack of embassies and consulates open for student visa processing. Shocking how slow the US has been on this front.
    • Does your college have anything in its intl student orientation on matters of race relations in the U.S.? Here's an important discussion that should prepare new students from abroad to better understand the history that continues to divide our country.
    • Europe is throwing a little travel ban magic of its own our way, as most US travelers will be unable to visit EU countries for the foreseeable future. Thankfully, students are exempted from this ban. Yea, study abroad!
    • Interesting and needed perspective from India on how the latest US executive order is being viewed by prospective students - "a mood dampener." That's putting it mildly.
    • Students applying to Ivy League institutions have enough to worry about in light of the pandemic. This report from Harvard on what to focus on for this coming year ignores several areas related to testing, extracurriculars, financial aid and more.
    • Not sure I agree with the premise of this Times Higher Ed piece that at one point Covid-19's impact on our field was ever going to be short-term, but here are some long-term implications to ponder.
    • One of the many knock-on effects of the decreased numbers of US-bound intl students this fall is the drop in private high school enrollments from overseas which will impact those colleges in future years as well. 
    • How has MBA admissions been changed for the upcoming year? Here's are some responses from some of the top programs in the country. 
    • I increasingly feel that the State Department is slow-rolling the re-opening of embassies and consulates for student visa processing. This article about what's happening in Jamaica isn't remarkable other than this: "we hope to receive guidance soon regarding processing of student visa cases."
  • Solutions Central
    • This positive declaration by major university presidents worldwide is something all higher ed institutions should be backing - resilience and renewal of intl student mobility to counter pandemic fears and right-wing populism.
    • Is this the future for struggling institutions: a 3-way buyout of one institution's debts to create a "university park" concept? U of Bridgeport, once strong internationally, now going the way of the dodo.
    • While the U of Michigan may think this is a practical solution for prospective freshmen for fall 2021, they miss the mark entirely with this plan, especially for intl students who "are encouraged to submit predictive and/or national examination results."
  • What Students Think
    • This is a troubling survey of currently enrolled intl students at US colleges that shares that 25% experienced "intimidating, hostile or offensive behavior that occurred during the pandemic." We're better than this, people!
    • With all the various intl student surveys out there, one theme is consistent: most students still plan to enroll this fall, but this BridgeU survey, albeit a small sampling, shows that the US has dropped from the first choice destination of 32% (#1) to only 9% now preferring us.
    • QS has been regularly tracking intl student behavioral trends related to study destinations during Covid-19. If you'd like a compilation of there recent results, here's the summary page and download form. 
    • Prospective undergraduate students in India are most eager to get enrolled this fall. I hope they get the chance to do so, but I'm not optimistic about their chances in the U.S. 
    • Enrolled intl students in the US liked online learning better than their domestic counterparts, but have significant worries about health and safety on campus in light of the poor handling of the pandemic in the U.S.
    • This UC-Santa Barbara student from China says it all: "People in the U.S. don’t even have the awareness to wear a mask or anything like that. So I felt a bit concerned."
  • Fall 2020 Options
    • For a different perspective, this interview with the founder of BOSSA (the Chinese professional association for educational agents), shares that Chinese student who wanted to go abroad, now have no choice but to as they won't have the gaokao.
    • I expect more highly selective institutions (and frankly most other forward-thinking ones) to begin offering deferrals for a year for incoming first-year undergraduates. It's only fair, and is the right thing to do, but you have to give them a reason to stay interested.
  • Test Optional Debate
    • When reading this University World News story, I'm comforted hearing that a rethink of standardized testing's value is long overdue. Is the UC system's decision the "shot heard around the world?"
  • Global Roundup
    • This move from the UK's business secretary to set up an Innovation Expert Group, increased funding for research, and expand post-study work visas for Phd graduates makes a lot of sense for a country looking to maximize its international talent.
    • Looks like UK unis will have some important decisions to make regarding future EU student enrollments, as those students seem unwilling to pay non-home student fees in 2021. 
    • This piece emphasizes the need for investment by western countries like the UK to avoid a loss of prestige and soft power to Asian nations that were already on the up. This loss will be enhanced this year with the pandemic forcing Asian students to stay closer to home.
    • I know the IEP industry in the US has been devastated over the past 5 years with the collapse of the Saudi and Brazilian government scholarship programs. But north of the border, 68% of Canadian language schools will close permanently without govt. intervention in the next six months.
    • Institutions in Western Australia face an daunting "day of reckoning" if Chinese students don't come back. Cautionary tale on the overreliance on one country for your source of intl students (and revenue).
    • Even the Australian government's visa prognosticators see new intl students' chances to get visas for this next intake in July to be less than positive. Ouch.
    • When we look at what our fate may be in the US post-pandemic, see what's happening in Australia and the damage the pandemic has done to that country, and the views intl students have of the country now.
    • What are students in the UAE to do if they can't study abroad this year (for a variety of reasons)? This Gulf News article shares the local options available that are likely to benefit.
    • Though I don't know if it's an official move by the Australian govt. to replace Chinese students with Indian ones, the commentary on this possibility from China is hilarious. 
Social Media News
  • In case you missed it, regular recruitment travel, particularly in groups, is not happening this fall. Many tour providers, including my UWC Recruitment Tours and Events, are going online. Good piece from The PIE News.
  • Decent summary from NAFSA explaining what institution's need to be exploring in the realms of digital recruitment. The colleges that already had a well-developed online intl student strategy are the ones thriving right now. 
  • For those investing in digital strategies these days, what kind of benchmarks are you using to measure your student recruitment success? Good insights from the Intead team as to what really matters.
  • Always good to see a social media industry expert's take on what colleges should be doing when it comes to leveraging various platforms to attract prospective students, Nice work from Social Media Explorer.
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