How UK universities should take action on the commercial impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, when meeting 2020 recruitment targets

Are you a UK University looking to recruit Chinese students in September 2020?

Despite the UK expecting the largest ever Chinese student numbers this Autumn, recent events in China have certainly put a stop to that!

Travel bans have prevented hundreds of thousands of Chinese students from returning to international universities where they were studying or were due to begin courses at.

In late January, the IELTS authority cancelled its February tests across China. A further cancellation of IELTS tests was announced on 14th February, postposing tests until April.

What does this mean? This means that offer holders can’t accept conditional University places.

This topic has triggered more than 20,000 discussions and over 100 million reads on Chinese social media platform Weibo. Applicants who have not yet taken their IELTS, or need to work on higher scores are worried they will miss university deadlines.

University agents are busy answering enquiries, but it is the universities that have the power to offer solutions, not agents.

What measures can universities take to work within Chinese government guidelines and meet recruitment targets for 2020?

1.Moving deadlines for September 2020 enrolment

  • Extending the deposit deadline
  • Extending the language test result submission (IELTS)
  • Extending the pre-sessional course application
  • Offer flexibility on pre-sessional courses

2.Targeting current inbound Chinese UG final year students to apply for 2020 September PG intakes

3.Promoting courses that start in January 2021

It is usual within UK universities that international, digital and marketing team work separately and to different budgets. This is one occasion that strategy simply won’t work!

Only through collaboration and providing agile solutions can universities deliver a timely positive message, and more importantly actionable routes to Chinese students who are currently in different stages of their application journey.

If you are a university or college and need help with a business strategy or promotion targeting Chinese students for Sep 2020 or Jan 2021, please contact us at [email protected].


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