Developing a good relationship between agents and institutions is vital for successful student recruitment and retention. It might seem as though institutions simply rely on agents to do a specific job and there’s no need to go beyond the transaction. However, agents must be in contact with institutions regularly and vice versa. They must act as partners, working together to recruit students into universities and programs that fit their strengths and academic goals.
Institutions and agents can use this time of everyone being online to work on their relationship and search for areas of improvement. Here are some best practices for both sides to develop a well-rounded agent-institution relationship
Institutions should first ensure that their campuses, whether online or blended, are ready to accept international students. Colleges and universities must first set clear targets, establish their marketing budgets, and have well-prepared support staff and services. These steps are essential before allowing one international student to enroll at any institution.
Part of preparing an institution’s campus for international students is determining what kind of students you want to attract first. Narrowing down where you want to recruit is key for keeping an optimum number and diversity of agents from around the world. Institute a good onboarding process so that agents can also be more familiar with the institution’s application process and marketing strategy.
If an institution is already recruiting international students, find out how agents complement the current recruitment strategy.
Allowing agents to give their insights on recruitment is key to maintaining a healthy agent-institution relationship. They are the ones on the ground and speaking directly to students. They can be the first to notice any lapses in strategy or current events that are affecting students. It’s important to keep communication lines open between institution and agent so that any issues or needs that arise can be addressed swiftly. This makes restrategizing faster and easier since everyone is on the same page.
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Clarity in Model and Commission Payments
Being transparent about commissions and fees is crucial for agent-institution relationships. Agents don’t just look at the rates and percentages, though these are very important, but on the institution as a whole. Maintaining openness and honesty is part of building trust between agents and institutions. When agents see that institutions want what’s best for their international students, agents are more likely to continue working with them.
Simplifying the processes and operations helps agents develop better relationships with institutions. Agents are less likely to feel motivated to work for institutions who have very complicated and difficult processes. When institutions do their part to make working with them and joining them hassle-free, agents will do their best to close great deals for them. Institutions who make agents or students jump through many hoops do not set themselves up for success and more partnerships in the future.
These best practices ensure that agents and institutions maintain a mutually beneficial relationship that lasts and helps as many students as possible. With these tips in mind, agents and institutions can work together for international education that is more accessible and create the best possible opportunities for students.
In its global and in-country offices, MSM manages agent networks on behalf of partner institutions, training and upskilling them for greater recruitment outcomes and to free up institution staff’s time for more value-adding work. Learn more today.