5 Ways to Nurture International Student Leads to Successful Applicants


Expert advice from Sweden’s leading student recruitment agency.

Once you’ve developed a pipeline of prospective international students, the next step is to qualify and nurture prospective students through to a successful application. We’ve asked Blueberry, EMG’s student agency arm, to share their expertise to help promote better practices in international student recruitment.


Count down to read our top tips!


#5: Find out what is important to the students aka listen to your audience

Depending on your audience, you need to relay the right message. To share an example with you, we at Blueberry do many school visits and presentations for students. Often we bring our partner-schools and most of the time this is great.


However, I have experienced how important it is to talk about the right content. Many institutions want to inform students of their whole portfolio of courses and programs. In my opinion, this is seldom the right decision.


It is more important to find one or a few programs that work for the audience and only talk about these. Don’t mention irrelevant programs. The attention span of the students is often short so make sure they receive the right message.


Also listen to your audience. Maybe the program is not the most important part of why they want to study abroad. Often the destination, city, student life, campus etc could be just as important.


#4: Details - highlight the unique, the different or the weird

Details, details and details. I have experienced so many times in my career that students “get stuck” with a detail about the school, area, campus life or program. Most of the time this detail is positive but it can also be negative.


To try and steer students away from such specific details, especially the negative ones, highlight things about your institution that are unique, different or even weird. Maybe it is not a unique thing at all but no other school talks about it.


Does everyone who attend your Bachelor of Computer Science program receive a specific software, does your school help students get a part-time job, can you eat a free lunch once a week or is there a specific animal that lives on your campus? All of these things may pique the interest of your prospective students.


#3: Be personal

Once you have started a conversation with a student and want them to convert, it is important to cut through all the “noise”. Often students are browsing different options and you need to make them pick your institution.


To do this, it is smart to be more personal than your competitors and understand the students’ needs. Students definitely have an expectation these days for stores, services and education to be more proactive and show them why they need your product, course or program.


#2: Know your recruitment market

“Each country is different” is a common refrain you hear in the education industry. Country origin should be a key factor for your lead nurturing strategy.


Different subjects are popular in each country. Also the economic situation for studying abroad differs by country. For example, students from high-income countries are usually not the ones who can afford expensive programs abroad. Since higher education may be free in their home country, parents don’t tend to save money for college.


Also if a country has government funding for studies abroad, students tend to be interested in finding programs within the funding limits.


#1: Work with an agency

Each market is different and has different conditions. It is key to know each market to be able to recruit from that country. Using agencies ensures you can connect more effectively with the students and have people helping you to recruit in the best way possible.


To ensure the agency is serious, you can look at certifications such as AIRC and ICEF.


Also in my opinion, use an agency which is free for students. This will give you - as a partner to the agency - more legitimacy with the students. Even though you are using an agency, don’t be afraid of working closely with them and meeting students in the country together with them. Students love to meet with universities on their own home ground.


Have Blueberry’s tips piqued your interest? If you’re interested in targeting Swedish international students, read more about how you can partner with us here.

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Picture of Steven Engström
Steven Engström

Steven Engström is the CEO of Blueberry. He has been working with international student recruitment for 7 years. Blueberry is the leading agency for higher education in Sweden and collaborates with over a hundred partner-institutions around the globe.