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The United States is a global leader in education, as evidenced by the steady increase in international applications to American colleges and universities. Research from the Institute of International Education shows a 10 percent increase of international students studying in the U.S. during the 2014/2015 school year for a total of nearly 1 million scholars. Chinese students make up the largest group of international students, though there is a growing number coming from India.
Educational institutions that want to increase on-campus diversity face heavy competition from well-known American universities. Name recognition takes on greater significance with international undergraduates, which explains why Harvard University hosts the most international students out of all schools in the U.S.
Here are the top three universities that are marketing internationally. High-quality marketing specifically designed for target communities ensures that less recognizable schools also have an opportunity to enroll international learners.
Approximately five years ago, the Georgia Institute of Technology made a commitment to increasing international representation on campus, and this focus has been highly effective. Since then, Georgia Tech has seen 53 percent growth in the number of J-1 international scholars teaching and doing research on campus.
The university’s commitment to international students means that it goes beyond standard marketing practices to connect with prospective applicants in Asian countries. For example, in 2007, the school appointed a Vice Provost of International Initiatives who maintains an exhausting travel schedule to visit with scholars in more than 50 countries around the world. Georgia Tech goes beyond basic translation and localization services when creating materials for international audiences. Instead of simply translating existing documents, the institution creates content in the local language to reflect local customs and culture. Through the use of transcreation, Georgia Tech builds relationships with potential students.
On the list of which U.S. schools host the most international students, the University of Illinois – Urbana – Champaign comes in at number twelve. Since the turn of the century, the school has transformed its global presence. In 2000, there were just 37 Chinese undergraduates on campus; however, by 2015, that number increased to almost 3,000. Some university staff believe the school is better known in Beijing than in major U.S. cities, and the Chinese nickname for the University translates to “village of corn.”
The University of Illinois became well-known in China based on extensive efforts to integrate Chinese students once they reach the U.S. While the school uses some direct marketing, the biggest boost comes from transcreating student materials on campus. Chinese students have extensive language support, and there are entire divisions of the university dedicated to assisting with the cultural changes these students experience upon arrival in the Midwest. This support extends off campus, as well. For example, the local bank employs tellers who speak Mandarin in order to provide financial services to Chinese students.
Though Arizona State University doesn’t have the prestige of an Ivy League school, it has successfully made a name for itself among international scholars. Its regular inclusion in “best of” lists geared towards Asian students, such as the Academic Ranking of World Universities (produced by Shanghai Jiao Tong University), is one of the reasons Arizona State has achieved a 30 percent increase in international students as of the 2014/2015 school year. Arizona State markets itself as a global leader, going beyond simple localization when communicating with international students. By matching materials with the specific cultural needs of its target markets, Arizona State encourages a stronger relationship with potential students.
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