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The DOs and DON’Ts of Student Recruitment

Student recruitment agents are reliable partners of global learners in their international education aspirations. They are experts in liaising with institutions, students, and government agencies but their jobs go above and beyond just helping students process their applications.


In this blogpost, we compiled some of the dos and don’ts in stakeholder management. Student recruitment agents may adapt these to help them in thriving as dependable partners of both higher education institutions (HEIs) and international students.


The DOs

Be receptive to the students’ needs

Student recruitment is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Every student has varying needs and aspirations. Student recruitment agents need to listen carefully and be able to tailor recommendations accordingly.


While it is true that student recruitment agents are trained consultants and knowledgeable about the programs that HEIs are offering like the back of their hand, they must ensure that recommendations are aligned with the study goals and career aspirations of a student.

Be transparent

As a sort of middle man in the international education journey of global learners, student recruitment agents are expected to be open to their clients– the students. They must keep them updated on the progress of their application and must keep them in the loop in case a roadblock arises.


When an issue arises, however, student recruiters must update clients in a smart and helpful way. They should not only reveal a problem but must also be ready to recommend solutions.

Manage their expectations

Student recruiters are also considered counselors of international students. As such, they must effectively paint a picture of the whole journey from visa processing, college admissions, and settling into the student life in their chosen college.


Painting this picture does not only mean letting the students know about the good things in overseas studying but also the bad. What roadblocks can they possibly face? What issues should they prepare themselves for? How can they rise above these possible issues?

Be 10 steps ahead

To manage the expectations of international students, agents must plan ahead and be 10 steps or more ahead in the journey. They must have foresight on the possible challenges that might be encountered and must have realistic recommendations on how to address them.


As liaising experts between HEIs, government agencies, and the global learner, this is one of the reasons why student recruiters are considered as drivers of the international education system– they know the ins and outs of study-abroad policies and, hence, can effectively assist both HEIs and students.

Make meaningful connections

More than just being experts at liaising between students and the HEIs, education recruiters must also go out of their way to make meaningful connections with their students.


Getting to know the students well and their objectives will enable education agents to give sound recommendations. Doing this will also, in the long run, help ensure student referrals and even retention.

The DON'Ts

Absorb their frustrations

While it is true that empathy is critical in stakeholder engagement, it does not mean agents have to feel and react the same way they do.


Agents must listen to what frustrates or worries them, but they should never immerse themselves in these emotions. Student recruitment agents must stay level-headed even in challenging situations to help empower global learners who are going through difficult times. This allows recruiters to always tackle a situation with a clear disposition and the proper frame of mind.


Remaining empathetic but keeping calm will help student recruiters in giving sound advice that’s not muddled with strong emotions.

Make promises

While student recruiters are experts in getting things done in the international education journey of global learners, it does not mean that they can do every single thing along the way.


Education agents must be able to manage expectations and must never promise anything to their clients. Instead, in communicating to students, they may use phrases like, “We can look for ways to work this out.” However, in order to exude confidence, they must show that they know how to tackle possible problems and would do their best to work things out if problems arise.


They should not make promises but show that they know what to expect and are prepared to tackle anything along the way.

Agree to every request outside the scope of work

Education agents are always ready to assist students and give sound advice concerning the international education journey of global learners. They are even always willing to go above and beyond their call of duty especially during difficult times such as during a pandemic.


However, it is much better for student recruiters to set healthy boundaries. Before agreeing to the request, the education agent may first reflect if the student’s ask is within their objectives. Is agreeing to this request helpful in getting us closer to accomplishing a requirement for the student’s international studies? Is this something I can deliver and still within my scope of work?


Agents may overdeliver beyond what is expected, but only up to reasonable levels. Overreaching is not healthy since it may set a precedent that agents may find difficulty avoiding if it goes out of control.

Forget the homework of getting to know the student

Part of a student recruiters’ due diligence is knowing as much info as possible about their clients– the students. This will help them come up with solutions and recommendations that match the requirement and goals of the student. This is why forgetting the basic task of getting to know them is a huge no-no.


The key things that student recruiters must know include the aspirations of students, expectations, worries, pain points, and career goals. Going over the students’ social media posts may give agents an idea of what they aspire for in life and, as such, they can best tailor-fit their recommendations to suit students’ needs and wants. Knowing what students need right from the start will go a long way in developing trust and confidence. 

Make clients feel they are not a priority

Agents should never make the mistake of making their clients feel like they are not a priority. They should be able to manage their time well, and schedule meetings with them properly. Saying yes to everything will spread them thin and they may end up taking some of their students for granted rather than giving them the optimal service they need and deserve.

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MSM Reporter is collated by a globally spread team of MSM and is published every Thursday.

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