Generating inquiries.

Generating ideas.

Online since 1996.
April 2009 
Measuring ROI... Incorrectly

In the rush to measure Return on Investment in international student recruitment, there's a dangerous tendency to plug any figures into any ROI equation. Say, for example, your boss demands the dollar figure for cost per inquiry or lead from an online promotion where the annual cost was $6,696 for a five-language campaign. That campaign happened to generate 933 qualified inquiries. From a pure dollars and sense perspective, $6,696 divided by 933 inquiries equals $7.18 per inquiry.

We at never calculate Return on Investment like that, because we only send qualified inquiries to each of our advertisers; prospective students must express interest in a particular U.S. campus (in addition to their academic preference, geographic preference and available funds) before arriving at our inquiry form.

If advertisers judged their success only by those criteria, it would be in's best interest to bulk up our numbers, by sending every one of our tens of thousands of inquiries to every one of our advertisers. But we only forward inquiries of students that have expressed an interest in enrolling at a specific campus.

We know for a fact that students find our advertisers at or our sister sites, then call them directly or Google for their .edu domain, and never complete our form that will be fed into our advertisers' spreadsheets. We know because students mistakenly call our number, thinking that we're the international admissions department or ESL program.

Ultimately, I understand the necessity of tracking expenses. But this stuff is simply not a perfect science; just ask your domestic admissions department, who have likely seen a marked increase in stealth applicants -- prospective students whose first contact with the institution is their actual application. Learn more about the challenges of measuring Return on Investment in international student recruitment (and the progress we've made) in a webinar on Wednesday, 6 May:
Podcast Preview:
To register:

NAFSA Conference Planning

NAFSA's Annual Conference in Los Angeles is only a few weeks away. Plan to meet with's Cheryl Darrup-Boychuck to discuss ways we can help you effectively recruit international students. Several time slots have already been filled. Choose from these remaining time slots, and contact

  • Sunday, 24 May
    - 7:30 a.m. Breakfast
    - 6 p.m. Dinner
  • Thursday, 28 May
    - 9:30 a.m. Meeting
  • Friday, 29 May
    - 9 a.m. Meeting
    - 10:30 a.m. Meeting

For details about the biggest event of the year for U.S.-based international educators:

Cheryl's Presentation Schedule

* Wednesday, 6 May, ROI Webinar: 1 p.m. EST
Podcast Preview:
To register:

* Tuesday, 26 May, CyberRecruitment Workshop: 8 a.m. PST
To register (WS047):

* Wednesday, 27 May, Precision Marketing Session: 8 a.m. PST
No registration required for this General Session at the NAFSA Conference

* Thursday, 28 May, The Opportunities and Challenges of Using Agents: 8 a.m. PST
Former title: The Good, Bad and Ugly of Using Agents
No registration required for this General Session at the NAFSA Conference

International Education Fair in Germany

EINSTIEG Abi is Germany's biggest international high school student fair. Each year we welcome exhibitors from more than 20 countries. In 2008, over 129,000 students visited our EINSTIEG Abi fairs.

The U.S. is one of the most popular destinations for German students who wish to study abroad. Discover talent in Germany!

The next fair will take place on 18 - 19 September 2009 in Berlin. More information is available at or via email or call Karin Schleider at +49.221.39809-62. Visit us at NAFSA booth 632! Your source for translations in 17 languages

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Corning, New York
14830 U.S.A.

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