International students in Canada form a significant portion of the cohort. In the five years preceding the pandemic, Canada’s international student population grew 80% making it one of the fastest-growing international student markets in the world.
For institutions, there’s an eagerness to work with counsellors to continue attracting a diverse cohort of international students.
Drawing upon my own experiences, I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. And the most productive agent–institution relationships tend to have similar characteristics.
1. Be easily approachable
Whether it’s on the side of the institution or the agent, being easily approachable is a key to a positive long-term relationship. It sounds simple, but being able to pick up the phone and easily contact the other side saves time, avoids potential delays and keeps applications moving swiftly.
Institutions want to work with agents who are available, friendly, and who can make updates to applications as needed.
On the agent side, it’s the same. Counsellors are more likely to favour institutions that they know are approachable, easy-to-work-with and answer queries quickly.
2. Bring humanness
While the agent-institution relationship is technically a business one, getting too caught up in the business transaction can be damaging. In my experience, I’ve come across those who are more focused on churning through students, than building relationships.
At the core of the agent-institution relationship are real people who all want the experience to go well for students.
The better the relationship, the more productive it’ll be for both sides. Institutions prefer to work with counsellors they can form a genuine relationship with. And counsellors send more students to institutions that provide an excellent experience.
Bringing authenticity and humanness to recruitment can be a key component in a positive long-term relationship.
3. Applying early
In Canada, institutions work far in advance. For intakes beginning in September, many institutions start taking applications in October. And many of the most popular programmes will be full by February or March.
Lateness doesn’t just affect course choice, it also affects scholarship opportunities for students. Entry scholarships often have very early deadlines and waiting too long can mean missing out altogether.
Counsellors, then, must help their students decide on courses early. Early applications move quickly through the process giving students a much better chance of getting into their first choices.
With Adventus.io, our course search makes matching students to the right course easy. And with the fastest turnaround times in the industry––80% of applications are processed in just three hours––we keep applications moving to institutions quickly.
In line with applying early for courses, it’s important to recognise––particularly if you apply late––that popular courses fill up early. An element of flexibility then is important.
For many counsellors, there’s often an insistence on getting their students to their first choice. This can prove frustrating for institutions. If the programme is full, it’s important to begin looking for other options, rather than putting unnecessary pressure on the institution.
Flexibility, showing students the plethora of options they have, and maintaining professionalism are all essential when this happens.
5. Keep counsellors up-to-date
On the institution side, to help ensure counsellors work within the right processes, meet deadlines, and best represent courses, the best institutions maintain continuous communication with counsellors.
In times like these, communication is more important than ever. Contact from institutions keeps counsellors motivated and interested in the courses and means a greater likelihood of sending students their way.
The most successful institutions keep recruitment partners informed on programme availability, policy changes and even offer detailed training.
Through Adventus.io, with our single point of contact, institutions can update our 4,000+ agents without having to manage each agent relationship one by one. We also allow institutions to offer sponsored institution highlights as a form of live training to keep counsellors motivated and knowledgeable––all without having to leave the country.
Word of mouth matters immensely in Canada. Those who are dedicated to genuinely helping students and building positive long-term relationships with all partners are much more likely to succeed. And once those partnerships form: they’re likely to last.