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International education, India and how to increase conversion rates

The number of Indian students seeking higher education overseas increased from 440,000 in 2016 to 770,000 in 2019 and is expected to reach 1.8 million by 2024.

"The industry is predicted to grow rapidly in the coming years owing to India's high college-aged population"

Sources suggest that the number of students departing India for higher education in the current year is 133,135 so far, while some 444,553 students did the same in 2021 and 259,655 in 2020.

The US, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland and Germany still remain the popular destinations, with others such as Finland and Cyprus emerging as new choices.

Why Indian students wish to study abroad

Better educational quality and outcomes abroad, opportunities to live and work in another country during and after their studies, higher standards of living, gaps in the Indian education system have all contributed to the significant increase in student outflow from India in recent years.

The industry is predicted to grow rapidly in the coming years, owing to India’s high college-aged population and fierce rivalry for admission to the best universities.

Dissecting the expectations

Students who choose to study abroad are taking a huge step toward launching their own unique life projects, and it is reasonable to suppose that they have hopes and aspirations of having a great experience, whether for academic or personal.

Following are some expectations of Indian students from their chosen university or college:

  • Quicker turnaround times on their applications
  • Correct and personalised information
  • Human guidance on application and visa procedures
  • Information on the course modules and prior engagement with professors and course leaders
  • Engagement opportunities with current or previous students, preferably Indian students
  • Interaction with local representatives from the University or college
  • Unbiased and impartial counselling
  • Sessions on careers and employment opportunities either from the University or any other body In the chosen country
  • An opportunity to meet with University representatives

To ensure maximum satisfaction for prospective students, universities and colleges need to break down their approach into smaller steps and should be more personalised, planned and progressive.

Conventional ways that universities have always employed to maximise student interactions and meet students and parents are those such as: education fairs; roadshows; visits to schools and agent offices.

Pre departure briefings, offer holder events, tele calling and email communications and scholarships and discounts on tuition fees have also long proven to be successful.

While these conventional ways have worked in favour, the recent years have witnessed certain other ways of engagements that have worked even better:

  • Targeted social media campaign / email marketing
  • Social media live sessions like (Instagram live, Facebook like etc.)
  • Webinars with course leaders
  • Taster masterclasses
  • Webinars and seminars on careers and employment opportunities
  • Virtual tours and interactions with the school bodies
  • Connections with current and previous year students
  • Introduction of their own boarding process while they are in their home countries
  • Live chat on their websites

Accommodation, fee structures, financial guidance, and earning money while studying are excellent discussion starters with prospective students. Though the number of students going abroad is increasing every year, most colleges are still grappling with issues related to student conversion.

According to research, most countries and universities have an average of 15-20% conversion rates from application to student enrolments and a slightly higher 20-25% conversion rates from offer holders to enrolments. While it is not ideal for universities to deal with the volume of applications for student enrolments, it does not seem to have a quick fix.

Options that universities could start adopting to boost conversion range from introduction of application fees, higher amount of deposit fees required for students to confirm their place on the program, faster turnaround on applications, capacity increment or maximum utilisation of seats and interesting and continuous engagement plans devised for the potential student.

“The last year saw an overall 163% growth in student numbers for our clients”

Better engagement and training with agents and school counsellors and having Indian local representatives who can engage with students better and faster can also be beneficial.

The past several months have been a very challenging environment, but all our partner institutions at OneStep Global have done stupendously well. The last year saw an overall 163% growth in student numbers for our clients.

A performance driven model, with services ranging from market development to market expansion aimed at providing tangible business results, ours is a unique effort in a tried and tested model of market entry space for international education.

Interested in talking to OneStep Global? Visit our website or get in touch via email.

Author bio:

This is a sponsored post from Aritra Ghosal, the Founder and Director of OneStep Global. OneStep Global is an education management company based in India and Malaysia. It helps global academic institutions to land and expand across Asia through in-country representation and stakeholder management. A graduate from the University of Sheffield, Aritra is an expert in overseas education, service delivery and strategic management. Aritra has worked across continents with fortune 500 companies, early start-ups and not-for-profit organisations. In all his assignments he has been able to deliver tangible business results. Aritra likes to cook and is a die-hard supporter of Liverpool Football Club.


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