Activating Southwestern College as a Destination College for International Students To Combat Declining Enrollment

Southwestern Community College District, International Student Awareness Campaign


With community college enrollment steadily declining across California, identifying, prioritizing, and targeting a segmented population was key to increasing enrollment at Southwestern College (SWC).

Finding an untapped yet sizable new target audience meant reaching beyond borders, literally. While Southwestern’s proximity to the US/Mexico border makes the college an accessible entry point into the US higher education system, awareness of the school and its international program was low.


Our goal was to make SWC the destination college for international students to support sustainable enrollment growth. While targeted strategies are proven to work, we knew speaking directly to Mexican residents in border towns and international students currently attending local English-as-a-second-language (ESL) schools would be the solution to building enrollment.

Using appropriate messaging focused on the insight that, in an increasingly globalized world, international students are the future because they enrich the communities in which they love, live, and learn. The “You’re What’s Next” campaign was born and utilized an inspiring, conversational tone, hyper geo targeted tactics, and approachable social mediums to build awareness of Southwestern and its international programs’ benefits.



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The international campaign earned incredible awareness for SWC with record-breaking industry KPIs. The campaign not only delivered on its primary awareness objective; it went further to move prospective students to applicants. The campaign delivered 38% of total annual Fall applications in 2022.

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