WhatsApp: the gateway to increase international enrollment

Summary

International students are highly valuable additions to university life. They come from all over the world and bring diverse perspectives and culturally rich experiences to your campus. Although choosing the right university is an already difficult task, international students are faced with the added complexity of doing so from abroad....
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International students are highly valuable additions to university life. They come from all over the world and bring diverse perspectives and culturally rich experiences to your campus. Although choosing the right university is an already difficult task, international students are faced with the added complexity of doing so from abroad. They likely don’t have any of the taken for granted context that a local student does, or even a domestic student. On top of that, information and decisions on tuition, accommodation, and the safety and logistics of studying in a particular country are all made from their mobile devices, often asynchronously. 

Seeing that international students are beyond your physical reach, SMS delivery is in a manner of speaking, non-practical. The reality of geographical borders thrown into the mix means that you’d likely have to rely on email as your main mode of communication. With the social fabric of everyday life being driven by mobile devices and asynchronous communication, why not adopt another easy-to-use platform with an already high number of global consumers to meet students where they are?     

As the competition for international enrollment continues to grow, WhatsApp can become the competitive edge you’re looking for to keep up with this mobile-centric bunch and ensure that your institution remains in the running.

🔍Here’s why: 

WhatsApp stands as the most used messenger application in the world with over 69% of Internet users (excluding China, Gohil, 2023). It’s available in more than 180 countries in 60 different languages, and comprises a user base of over 2.7 billion people. Thanks to today’s mobile economy contributing to the steep decline of email open rates, it’s undeniable that WhatsApp is the go-to platform to be at the conversational forefront of international users. 

Over 100 billion WhatsApp messages are sent every day, with 80% of those messages being read within the first 5 minutes of delivery. Practically the counterpart of SMS, the functionality of WhatsApp also offers both real-time and asynchronous communication. But the biggest upsell of WhatsApp to SMS? It’s completely free to send a WhatsApp message. And, we’ll let you in on a little secret: we only charge an implementation fee, and we’ll manage your channel for you!

WhatsApp services are also end-to-end encrypted. This means that all messages are only visible to the sender and recipient; even WhatsApp can’t access your private conversations. After your users have explicitly expressed consent to receive messages from your institution and are presented the option to opt-out at any given time (i.e., reply ‘STOP’ to unsubscribe), you can easily:   

  • Send a personalized video message to any candidate in the world. 
  • Prompt applicants to complete tasks or inform them about specific requirements. 
  • Foster meaningful relationships from the moment they complete an inquiry form from your organization’s website.

In the digital era, it’s less about adding another channel of communication and more about choosing the right one. In order to reach international students effectively, you need to, as GenZ would say, start WhatsApp-ing. Don’t believe us? Let’s take a look at how Sault College increased international enrollment in their Goodkind and WhatsApp journey.

Sault College is a public community college based in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. With a total enrollment of 4,500 students, their international population comprises 3,000 of those students from 39 different countries. 

Through Goodkind video messages via WhatsApp delivery, Sault was able to successfully enhance the experience of incoming international students. Goodkind data allowed Sault to track engagement rates from different regions accurately and boost enrollment by connecting with highly engaged students more regularly. Their use of peer ambassadors to build connections via a familiar application not only helped foster a sense of belonging among incoming students. It also facilitated their workflow to focus on deeply interested students from all over the globe. 

Learn more about Sault’s success story here.  

It’s clear that Gen-Z has a preference for communication methods and platforms that they are familiar with, and WhatsApp increases the likelihood that they’ll engage with your messages. Through WhatsApp, you’ll spend less time lobbying for passive applicants, and hone in on highly engaged prospects with relevant information throughout the admissions process. In a world of apps and instant connection, WhatsApp is the gateway to meet students where they are, and increase international enrollment. 

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