Expanded international recruitment team embracing new opportunities

Despite the many challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the international student recruitment team at Western is focused on expanding, evolving and exploring new opportunities to attract the world’s brightest minds to Western.

Between August and November of last year, Western International undergraduate recruitment team members met with and provided information virtually to prospective students in more than 120 countries, represented Western at more than 40 fairs, conducted more than 50 individual high school visits and spoke at 30 conferences and workshops – all in an effort to increase the number of international students choosing Western.

“As a result of all our work in outreach, we were able to promote Western to people in more countries around the world than if we did ‘boots on the ground’ travel,” said Carolyn Ford, Director, International Undergraduate Recruitment for Western International.

In November, Western International and Western’s English Language Centre (WELC) joined forces to enhance Western’s previous successes with international recruitment, creating a newly established unit tasked with international recruitment and capacity building led by Matt Bazely.

“We are committed to working more closely with the faculties to address their specific needs and expectations, including holding meetings with all faculties twice a year to discuss collaborative strategies to improve recruitment results,” said Britta Baron, Vice-Provost, International.

In addition, the team plans to immediately broaden the range of approaches and methods of recruitment, with an increased focus on deepening and broadening the use of digital media in recruitment efforts and investing resources into additional international marketing.

“We are also beginning to work more systematically with professionally reliable and well reputed agents, who will work closely with our team members to reach out to potential students in different countries and increase awareness about our programs in areas where we haven’t had much of a presence in the past, including India,” explained Baron.

These enhanced recruitment efforts have resulted in a total of more than 12,000 applications, which suggests that Western is in line with previous years’ developments. Western’s numbers of applicants from China are down, but almost all other major sending countries are up, especially India, the United States, Bangladesh and Peru, said Baron.

Other plans underway to broaden the reach of recruitment efforts beyond the traditional methods include the addition of sponsored student recruitment and the hiring of a new team member to lead that program; increased recruitment for graduate studies, especially for professional Master’s programs; and a focus on providing support to faculties to assist with their efforts to build articulation programs with partners abroad.

“Looking to the future, our team is committed to working with colleagues on campus to identify those elements about Western that make us truly special and set us apart from other institutions so we can highlight those value propositions to potential students,” said Bazely. “We know that, more than ever, today’s students are looking for ways to have a big impact on the world and to participate in meaningful experiences.”