Inform and Invite
by Marlene Bylenga, the SCSBC International Education Coordinator ◊
At this time of the year school boards are already making plans for the upcoming school year. Budgets and staffing are directly affected by student numbers necessitating advertising, open houses and increasing the visibility of our International Student programs.
Recently, I have met international parents who did not have access to information regarding Christian schools in their home countries. They often comment that they wish they had known about Christian schools before they came to Canada. How do we get that information into the hands of prospective parents and how can we do that in a cost effective and efficient way?
The internet is an incredible tool and a rich source of information. Creating a link on your website with specific information regarding your International Student program is one way to give your school visibility. That link should be simple to use but also filled with information for parents which will enable them to make an informed decision. Here are some ideas you might consider including on your website:
Clearly articulate how your school can help International Students achieve their goals and how that might help them when they return to their home country.
Show how your school enables International Students to gain an integrated and enriching experience, include homestay, ELL programs and opportunities for students to interact with others outside of their own cultural comfort zone
Have some of your key documents translated into the languages represented by your international Students and include them on your website. After the documents have been translated be sure to ask someone who is a native speaker and who is familiar with your school to check the material for accuracy.
It is important to visit the countries represented by your students. It is not only a positive way to connect with current parents, alumni and prospective students but it also provides a way to get a small glimpse of what life is like in your student’s home countries.
Building relationships with reputable agents who under-stand the mission and vision of your school and maintaining regular contact with them is also an effective way of increasing enrolment. Provide them with quality brochures which highlight the programs available at your school.
Finally, ask for advice and support. The SCSBC hosts quarterly networking meetings for International Student Coordinators which have become times of mutual sharing and support. Marlene Bylenga is also available to provide information regarding International Student programs. Feel free to call or email for more information.