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Lessons for 2021: When all else stops, trust and integrity shine through

Name a decision as big as studying overseas. The stakes are high emotionally, academically, and financially. It is a decision so big that it can’t, and shouldn’t, be made alone.

Students need someone they can trust in their corner. They need support far beyond filling in an application and hitting send. Students and their families worry about finances, culture, language and many other issues in addition to academics.

This is our space. IDP has been in the corners of our students and partners for 50 years. Our success comes from connecting the right student with the right institution and ensuring that there is support and accountability every step of the way.

But when the most common ways students accessed our support, like study expos and face-to-face counselling, were taken away, we needed to build new ways to be by their sides.

Before we shifted anything, we needed to accept three facts:

  • 1 – In a virtual environment, the role of human connection and integrity grows
  • 2 – Big talking, flashy websites and apps cannot emulate trusted, human expertise
  • 3 – The focus can never drift from setting genuine students up for success

What happened and what did we learn?

We all know 2020 was the year screen-to-screen replaced face-to-face. For a global company like IDP, technology was used as a tool to break down the barriers of time and distance.

Our Virtual Events platform was launched globally. More than 110,000 students logged on to connect with universities and colleges this year.

Key to the success of these events was the pre-event interviews and screening role of our counsellors. By ensuring the right students were connecting with the right universities, everyone at the event could jump in with meaningful conversations.

Genuine students, genuine intentions, genuine connections.

Here is the recap of our largest event, the IDP India Conclave, attracting 15,000 students and their families.

Students turned to our apps

To support the real time conversations with universities and counsellors, our students also turned to our apps. Our students can now track their application, hear video responses from universities and connect with our counsellors, right from their phones.

Hear Lakehead University in Canada provide video advice for students via our Ask IDP app.

Driven by our students. Informed by our data.

Earlier on in the year, travel restrictions and border closures were changing daily. When you have been planning your studies for more than two years, understanding how these changes impacted your lifelong goals was tough.

With an unparallel global community of students across the world, IDP felt a responsibility to share our students’ motivations and concerns with universities and governments.  We needed to be a voice for our students and show them they were being heard.

The resulting research series, International Student Crossroads, proved to be the insights governments needed. In preparing the surveys, we partnered with government departments and peak bodies including CBIE and UUKi to ensure the insights captured could be used by destination countries to shape their policy decisions.

To see this in action, take a look at how Griffith College in Australia formed their quarantine support program based on Crossroads insights.

One thing hasn’t changed…

The thing that hasn’t changed is the same core reason IDP has led the international recruitment sector for decades.

Our expert global counsellor team, backed by consistent quality verification processes, shone this year as they came together to set students and clients up for success.

This is what we have always done, and despite technology advancements, this expertise, rigour, pride and integrity in our work is not something that can be copied – although others try.

The proof is in our higher visa acceptance rates. Over the past four years, more than 90% of visa applications by IDP students from India travelling to Canada have been approved.

The proof is in our satisfied customers – more than 9 in 10 students would refer IDP to their family or friends.

The proof is in the generation of globally ambitious people who have studied through IDP and are now changing the world. Students like Ralph. Like Gary. And our team members like Amrita.

Looking ahead

So, as we embark upon this new year, we are ready…with new tools, new connections, new services and new opportunities. We are ready to continue to work with our institutional partners to provide the best possible experience for the students who rely on us. Our 50+ years in the sector have taught us that you can never rest on your laurels– but they have also taught us that it our relationships with institutional partners and our direct connection to students that make us special. We will continue to provide high quality services to our students and ensure that our partners continue to receive qualified students who are the right fit for their institution.

To our institutional partners, thank you. It is your shared passion for student success that makes our work possible.

To our students, we applaud you. The grit and resilience you have shown in pursuit of your study goals makes us confident you are unstoppable and will achieve your biggest goals.

Here’s to 2021!

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