Sonja Phongsavanh, head of career and university guidance at Yew Chung International School of Shanghai, said the school is running its spring university fair in person for the first time in several years this month, with students and parents invited to meet international university representatives.
“University guidance counsellors and university admissions representatives are excited to have the opportunity to attend events in person again now that China’s border restrictions are returned to normal,” Phongsavanh said.
Some 60 universities from locations including Australia, Canada and Switzerland will be represented at the fair, mainly by in-country staff.
Earlier in March, China announced it would reinstate multiple-entry 10-year business visas. David Weeks, co-founder and COO at Sunrise International, told The PIE that this was good news for universities as it reduced the barriers for international recruitment staff, many of whom hold these visas, to return to the country.
Phongsavanh said the announcement came too late for the school’s March fair, but that a “big return” is expected for the October fair.
“It is even more important for lesser known schools and low ranking universities”
Similarly, Nicole Sheng, head of university guidance counselling at Shanghai United International School, said she hadn’t seen many recruiters travelling to China from overseas yet but thought they would be likely to come in the Autumn.
Both Sheng and Phongsavanh emphasised the importance of face-to-face interactions to Chinese families.
“Parents and students have university virtual event fatigue,” said Sheng, adding that they are keen to talk to admissions officers in person. “It is even more important for lesser known schools [and] low ranking universities. I have noticed parents and students are more likely to explore [and] consider these unis if they see an admission rep face-to-face.”
“Students and parents want to know they are getting correct information directly from the university,” said Phongsavanh. “Even though online meetings can be more flexible and convenient, parents and university guidance counsellors are looking for more face to face opportunities to connect and engage.”