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Post-pandemic student recruitment from Latin America

As we all continue to deal with the effects of Coronavirus I have been giving some thought as to how international universities can continue to successfully recruit international students from Latin America operating within the global pandemic.

The Brazilian Reis fell an average of 20% between May 2020 and May 2021. Photo: pexels

"With all this noise, universities must be discerning about the messaging that goes out which needs to be precise and clear"

Given that travel to key student recruitment markets will be challenging for the foreseeable future, how can universities develop emerging markets such as Latin America and continue to manage existing stakeholder relationships within these?

“It is important to focus more on conversion than previously”

Since the start of the pandemic the international student recruitment industry has been re-shaped, and it has changed the environment for Latin American students who are looking to apply to international universities. The industry seems to have changed more rapidly in 18 months than ever before.

These are some of the characteristics that are impacting on Latin American students looking to apply to universities abroad, together with some recommendations for universities.

  • Students and universities are embracing technology at a faster rate than previously. An outcome of this is that students are finding it easier to apply to multiple universities. This means while application numbers are increasing to many universities, conversion rates will decrease as a result. It is important to focus more on conversion than previously.
  • Agents also have access to more technology and there has been a big increase in partnerships between agents and agent aggregators meaning that agents now have access to many more universities increasing their reach. It is important universities ensure they have a good proposition for the Latin American market to remain competitive among increased competition.
  • Most currencies across Latin America have seen a decrease in value against the dollar between May 2020 and May 2021 (most notably the Brazilian Reis which fell an average of 20%, the Mexican Peso (15%) and Colombian Peso (15%) making it more expensive for students to go and study abroad.
    Financial support is needed for students and those universities that have competitive scholarships and flexible payment terms will have a greater chance of succeeding in their recruitment efforts.
  • Although communication between Latin American students and international university representatives has moved totally online due to the pandemic, students very much appreciate an opportunity to speak with a member of staff who can help support them. This means adapting to local time zones and/ or investing in regionally based staff who can communicate in the local language and understand cultural norms. A mix of input from university staff and locally based staff works very well in the conversion process.
  • Students now have access to a multitude of information sources about a university. Gone are the days where the brochure was the main source of material. With all this noise, universities must be discerning about the messaging that goes out which needs to be precise and clear, pointing out the differentiating factors so students can easily understand the proposition.

EdCo LATAM Consulting will be running a workshop on September 8 2021 at 10:00 AM Colombian time / 16:00 PM GMT.

‘Creating a winning strategy for student recruitment in Latin America’ aims to provide the tools you need to successfully recruit students from Latin America to your institution.

Please register here to attend the event.

About the author: 

This is a sponsored post from Simon Terrington, from EdCo LATAM Consulting. After a career of nearly 15 years supporting UK universities in their recruitment efforts, Simon re-located to Bogota, Colombia to set-up MAS Education with family members. By 2015, MAS represented more than 30 UK universities and was helping support close to 200 students per year to study in the UK. Simon then worked for 4 years as the Recruitment Director, LATAM at INTO University Partners. Since 2019, Simon has been working at EdCo LATAM Consulting as joint founder with Jamie Ash. EdCo provide local expertise and infrastructure for international education institutions looking to succeed in Latin America. The company currently works with clients from Australia, Canada, the UK and USA. Simon lives in Bogota with his wife and two daughters.



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