How Sweden can attract more non-EU students

In the 2010/11 academic year, Sweden made the risky decision to introduce tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students. The move was part of a longer-term plan to improve the quality of education offered at Swedish institutions and, therefore, attract the very best international talent. 

However, the roll-out caused an almost instantaneous decline in enrollments from so-called third countries. So, universities have been on a mission to rebuild international student interest and trust ever since. 

The importance of international students to Sweden 

International students are a welcome source of income for Swedish universities - there’s no denying that. But the cultural and academic contributions they make to your university and wider society are perhaps even more important. 

A staggering 78% of PhD students in Sweden are international1. Not only are these researchers essential for the development and longevity of the higher education sector, but many of them will go on to have high-powered, influential jobs in business and beyond. 

Sweden relies on the expertise of international students, so getting them enrolled at your campus must be a priority. 

You’ll have to work harder to convince prospective students to study with you, but it’ll be well worth it. Here are some of the measures that could transform your recruitment strategy: 

Find the right students 

If you want to improve the efficiency of your recruitment strategy and reduce the number of unqualified leads, you need to target the right students. Nail down the entry criteria you’re looking for, and center your marketing efforts around these. 

If you’re clear about what you’re expecting, you’re more likely to attract the best-fitting applicants. If applicants don’t fit your requirements, let them know as soon as possible. 

Although rejecting international students may seem counterintuitive, doing this at the very start will save you serious time and protect the long-term health of your recruitment strategy. 

Vetting applications is resource-intensive, especially when your admissions department is already so busy. Luckily, Studee can help.

We check every application we receive to ensure they meet your entry requirements. We’ll only match students with your university if they’re the right fit, giving you the best conversion rates.

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Promote your scholarships 

Scholarships are a powerful way to make your university stand out, especially since the tuition fee introduction. As one of the most frequently searched terms by international students, they play a massive part in application and enrollment decisions. 

If your university is in a position to offer international scholarships or bursaries, advertise them wherever possible. Push them to the top of your website, execute targeted social media campaigns, and provide application advice. 

Finance and budgeting is a huge worry for prospective students. In fact, it’s the number one reason they drop out of university. Alleviating some of this pressure through financial support schemes could cause a big interest spike in your institution. 

Simplify the visa process 

All non-EU/EEA students need a visa to study in Sweden. For many pupils, applying for a visa can be complex and daunting. Therefore, supporting students throughout the process will help you to prevent drop-off and claim the best conversion rates. 

At Studee, our NAFSA-trained advisors are experts at doing just this. We provide one-to-one visa advice, helping students with documentation, deadlines, and everything in between. So, you don’t need to worry about visas being a deterrent anymore. 

Advertise your English-taught programs 

Swedish is a beautiful language but it’s not widely spoken outside of Sweden. So, most international students won’t be fluent. Some might view this as a barrier to a Swedish education, thereby reducing your application numbers.  

By contrast, English is a global language with loads more speakers worldwide. English-taught programs will be more accessible to most foreign pupils, so be sure to prioritize these in your overseas marketing efforts. 

If you’re not currently delivering English-taught programs, or only have a couple on offer, now’s the time to expand. Thousands of students visit daily in search of their ideal program and university, and English-taught courses undoubtedly secure the most interest. 

Partnering with Studee is an unbeatable opportunity to advertise your programs worldwide. You’ll gain exclusive access to loads of new leads and potential enrollments, taking your recruitment to the next level.  

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1 UKÄ, 2019