The 2018 NAFSA Conference may have come and gone, but the lessons learned have only just begun to make an impact back home. Our leadership team compiled their key takeaways from the conference. Check them out below, and don’t hesitate to reach out to keep the conversation going!
Client Success Director
I had the opportunity to meet with many great partners at the 2018 NAFSA Conference. Throughout my conversations there were several common themes, including:
- NAFSA is one of the most influential and collaborative conferences. You can hear the buzz throughout the hall floor of institutions networking and collaborating on how to leverage their best assets … especially the voices of current students. Idea sharing is evident and that is exactly what institutions are looking for.
- It is apparent that more and more institutions appreciate how important it is to engage not only students, but parents throughout the process.
- Institutions are looking for innovative ways to engage their audience throughout the summer; whether it’s preparing students for orientation and arrival or starting their 2019 campaign.
Director of College Partnerships
As I was speaking with international admissions representatives at NAFSA, I heard many common challenges, including:
- Recent political climates, in both the United States and China are resulting in challenges such as VISA approvals or navigating the I-20 process. Additionally, as labor markets in China improve, it becomes more challenging to recruit these students.
- Travel funds, bandwidth, and staff energy are in short supply. There just isn’t enough time and money to do it all. Many people I spoke with shared that they are weary of travel challenges and looking for solutions to streamline their international recruitment process.
- International Student Support Services are playing a huge role in the recruitment and retention of international students. “Bringing the campus to students” helps international students understand not only how much an institution may want them there, but more importantly what type of experience they can expect when they arrive.
Having attended numerous NAFSA conferences, this conference was different in many ways. Above all, the focus on true change in processes has increased dramatically over past years. Some key conversations I had included:
- The need to connect with parents of International prospects greater than ever before. While students are interested in programs and student life, parents are very focused on ROI, campus safety and resources available to their students
- In regard to working with DACA students, there seems to be a split among universities as to who works with them (Domestic or International). Regardless of who is assigned the task of working with DACA students, there does seem to be an all-hands-on-deck mentality.
- University reps seem less and less enthusiastic about travelling this fall. Being out of the office for a month (or more) seems to be wearing thin on campus reps when they know there are tools out there to help them. Those that are travelling are very interested in using current international students in the re-engagement process. I also had numerous discussions on how institutions can set up an International Student Panel being scheduled prior to fall travel and used to re-engage students after their visit.
Just before the 2018 NAFSA conference, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect on May 25. At the conference, I had a number of conversations on how to interpret the regulation, strategies for being compliant, and what we did here at PlatformQ Education to support our partners.
- At the core, GDPR is about clarifying data privacy for EU citizens. In summary, users have the right to understand how their personal data is being used, have access to their data, and have the Right to be Forgotten (i.e. removed) from your SIS or CRM system. As an institution, you must have systems in place to provide copies of your inquiries data, as well as delete them entirely.
- One of the largest pieces of GDPR, in my opinion, is around inquiry, or RFI forms. Does your current RFI form have the option for EU citizens to explicitly opt-into your communication flow? GDPR is very clear on the fact that EU citizens must explicitly opt-into communications, and for inquiries prior to May 25th, these users needed to have updated their contact preferences to opt-in to communications. If you haven’t already, you should review your registration forms to ensure that you are capturing the proper permissions from EU users.
- At PlatformQ Education, we have modified internal procedures to allow end-users a copy of their data from CollegeWeekLive, changed our registration forms to allow EU users to explicitly opt-into communications on CWL and your Conduit platform, and have reviewed our policies to ensure proper and swift notification in the event a breach was to ever occur.