Kitchener-Waterloo

International applications at Wilfrid Laurier University increase 48.3%

Wilfrid Laurier University has seen a 48.3 per cent increase in the number of international applications this year over last, thanks in part to new outreach initiatives in the Middle East and India.

'Laurier was a bit of an unknown' in places like the Middle East, India

International students make up about 6 per cent of WLU's student body, a number that's unlikely to change next year despite the dramatic increase in international applications. (@LaurierGlobal/Twitter)

Wilfrid Laurier University has seen a 48.3 per cent increase in the number of international applications this year over last, thanks in part to new outreach initiatives in the Middle East and India. 

The university has intensified recruitment efforts in those areas over the last two years and that's now paying off, Julie Hummel, the associate registrar for Recruitment and Admissions, told CBC News. 

"Prior to five years ago, Laurier was a bit of an unknown entity there," Hummel said.

A 'truly Canadian' experience

When international students are considering their options, they tend to pick the country where they want to study first, said Hummel, then the program by institution. The actual university choice comes last. 

She said while there are other universities in the region and across the country that are more high-profile abroad, "the appeal of Laurier is that Canadian students choose Laurier."

"So they feel there must be something about that," Hummel said. "They want their students to have a truly Canadian experience in a really diverse population — which we have here at Laurier — which is reflective of Canada, on a tolerant campus."

International students 6 per cent of campus

She said the university has also been the benefactor of the current geopolitical climate and friendly immigration policies. 

Despite the major influx in applications, Hummel said it's unlikely there will actually be a major shift in the number of international students at Laurier. 

Currently, they make up about 6 per cent of the student body — and that will likely stay the same in the 2017-2018 school year. 

It won't be clear until the end of July how many international students will attend Laurier next year. That's when final grades come in and the admissions office clears the conditions of offer. 

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