Abroad101 Advisors Newsletter – Summer 2016

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Now more than ever, we need the first-hand accounts of what goes on in study abroad.  Parents and families worry about health and safety in study abroad so we suggest (to use the old sports analogy) “the best defense is a good offense.”  Translated, this means we should flood the market with good news, and by news, we are referring to student reviews.  Each review tells a student’s story and becomes yet another testimonial as to the impact that an international education experience has on a young life.  If you are an existing user of Abroad101, this is your reminder to login and send review invitations out.  Below you’ll find some additional suggestions and recommendations from Abroad101, THE study abroad review website.

Lack of Reviews is Bad Practice

The word “transparency” is used more and more when it comes to education.  Despite some well-intended efforts, the field of education abroad has not conformed to the spirit of transparency and that is likely turning people away from participating.  We hear arguments that education is different, but consumer research is pretty clear, lack of reviews turns customers away.  Bad reviews draw more interest than good reviews AND random bad reviews don’t deter buyers.  A pattern of bad reviews does indicate trouble and would impact participation as it should.  A search for the negative is often what compels people to come to a review website and in an odd way, the negative provides reassurance to people skeptical of the rhetoric of other outlets.  We suggest you read the influence of reviews.

Your Best Option: Replace you Evaluation Process with a Review Process

We encourage you to take the leap as a number of universities have done, and become fully transparent by turning your private study abroad program evaluation process into a public review process.  When every student is required to complete a review in order to received credit, you get more candor, usable data and testimonials of the impact of study abroad.   We can’t help but think this transparent process positively impacts participation at these institutions. 

Take a look at our Best Practice Leaders:

Brandeis University

Middlebury College

Trinity University

Wellesley College

Another Option: Make a review a Re-entry Exercise

If your hands are tied by legacy systems and processes, perhaps you can approach the problem from the student’s point of view and incorporate a study abroad review as part of a re-entry exercise.  If a student can coherently state what happened to them in writing, they will be much more prepared to discuss their experiences with friends, family and as the student moves beyond college.  Showing they can express their emotions, in a published format is a big step forward and a reason to complete a review.  Having this review published demonstrates the student can express themselves in coherent ways and is a great writing sample and an expression of their new world view.  You will help your students better prepare for their future by making a review part of the study abroad process.

WhyAbroad101?  It is Re-Entry in a Box

The Abroad101 review is 38 questions in length and is designed to walk students through a reflection of who they were before they left, who they are now and what they hope for their future.  As part of this process, they will rate 9 different aspects of their program and provide some insight and tips for future students.  Taking 20-30 minutes to complete, the review can help students put their feelings into words and start the process of communicating their experiences.   They can add photos and turn their review into a point of pride, a capstone to their education abroad experience.  As a university, you get to control this process using Abroad101.

Other Uses of Reviews

In addition to giving you better data and providing marketing material to bring you future students, perhaps the most innovative use of reviews is to help set expectations.  Reviews and their insight can help students and parents have a better idea of what to expect making reviews ideal content for orientation.  We’ve heard of overseas staff who welcome students to a program by directing them to their program listing on Abroad101 and using this to start a conversation about the program.  A few create a Facebook group for the new students and the first posting is to review the reviews.  It’s a real fresh approach to orientation and harnesses the power of social media.  Please read: 10 reasons to use Abroad101 

It’s for Faculty-led and Exchange Programs Too

Abroad101 is happy to list your faculty-led programs in our system.  For your exchange partnerships we have a catch-all “Direct Enrollment & Exchange” listing for every foreign university.  You are welcome to use Abroad101 for each or all of types of education abroad and study away programs.  Remember, you can use Abroad101 to boost your home university enrollments.  There is a feature to turn off the inquiry option for programs not open to outside students.

Managed Services, Abroad201 and Other Ways We Can Help

Every university is provided with an account on Abroad101 and free access to manage your portal on Abroad101.  The software that operates our system is a fully functional program evaluation tool along with a host of utilities, provided free of charge.  Abroad101 has a support team here to help you understand and make the most of the tools.  We are quick to answer questions (support@abroad101.com or +1-212-321-0928) and in some cases we can help you with simple tasks like your approved programs list, sending out invitations, creating faculty-led program listings.

If you need more, we’re able to help.  With our Managed Services, we can tie Abroad101 to your enrollment management system.  We can extract lists of participating students from your enrollment system, oversee review collection, then tie reporting back or produce external reports.  We know data, and for a modest fee, we’d be happy help you get better data, manage it and generate effective reporting.

Our Abroad201 service offers a host of customization with options as to what to survey, who to survey plus what and where you might publish the data.  It is an industry-specific version of survey software, so if you are using SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics, think about using Abroad201.

We thank you for taking the time to explore abroad 101 and for your continued support.

Happy Summer!

 Mark Shay / Abroad101

Life in Spain vs. Life in the U.S.

Parents, thinking of visiting your college student abroad? While your world-traveler is learning about a new culture and building memories, it’s also the perfect opportunity for a vacation for you! 

While you likely did a fair share of research before he or she left, actually experiencing the culture with them is a totally different feeling. Moreover, seeing a familiar face can be comforting for many students experiencing a bit of culture shock or homesickness. No matter how many Spanish classes you’ve taken, for example, navigating the world in your non-native language is nervewracking for many.

Even for a short jaunt to Spain, it’s smart to understand the lifestyle differences before you board the plane. TakeLessons.com recently shared a helpful article and infographic about life in Spain that provides a great introduction; check out the graphic below, and read more on their blog

Culture-Shock-Life-in-Spain-vs.-Life-in-the-U.S.-Infographic

This is not your typical gap year. – Abroad101.com Cool Program of the Week

Multi region-Winterline

Still unsure about college?  Uncertain about what to do in the fall?  Consider a Gap year with Winterline and their Global Skills Program.  You will develop skills in negotiation, critical thinking and problem-solving, and in team-building and leadership. You will learn how to build a house, cook a meal, manage your finances, sail a boat, speak in public, care for the young and the elderly, start a business, serve a customer, negotiate a deal, and drive a car safely, how to operate power tools and heavy machinery such as forklifts and tractors.  It will be the busiest, most challenging, constructive, fun and exhilarating time of your life.

This is not your typical gap year.

In 9-month, 4-month or 2-month programs, you’ll travel the world, learning real skills for the real world.

To learn more or apply to this program please visit:

https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/winterline-global-skills-program-gap-year

CAPA – Full-on London!

England-London-CAPA

The courses, internships, service learning, and cultural activities you’ll experience will be unlike anything you’ve known before.  Brilliant courses will challenge and inspire you to come up with new ideas and help change the world – Ace life with CAPA in London!

CAPA reviewTake a hop across the pond and you’ll see that CAPA’s London program will always remind you you’re somewhere new. Yes, you will be in an English-speaking country, but from afternoon tea breaks to the various cultures London is home to, you will be surrounded by a set of new experiences. Try your hand at learning some new vocabulary (“trousers” are “pants”, a “flat” is an “apartment”, and let’s not get started on “chips” and “fries”…) as you take the tube (subway) to class. London has always been a center for the arts, from everything to beloved bands like The Beatles to the writings of Virginia Woolf. Enjoy the inspiration that will surround you, and create some of your best work while you create some of your best memories.

To learn more or apply to this program please visit:

https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/capa-the-global-education-network-london-study-or-intern-abroad

Study abroad in Florence, Italy – Abroad101.com Cool Program of the Week!

The Cool Program of the Week is Benedictine College Semester Program in Florence.  There are a lot of programs that operate in Florence, lots of Americans there too.  Benedictine College - ItalyWhat seems to attract students to this program is using Florence as a grand laboratory to experience: 

“Beauty in art, nature and relationships

Fellowship while living together

Discovery while living near the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance”

One of the  latest reviews include “I have friends who did not do a semester abroad for one reason or another and they all have regretted it.”

The Program uses the city of Florence and its surroundings as a grand laboratory. The courses offered draw on the enormous literary and artistic heritage of the city of Florence, widely considered to be the cradle of Italian culture.

To find out more about this program, read returning student reviews and learn more or apply, please visit:

https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/benedictine-college-florence-semester-program-in-florence-italy

Abroad101 Providers Newsletter – July 2016

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Thank you for taking a few minutes to read how to get more from Abroad101.  It’s been 9 years since our first university partner, 2 ½ years under new management and we’re getting better every day!  Summer a great time to catch up on projects and plan for the year ahead.  Below are some ways you can benefit from working with Abroad101:

Login to Your Dashboard, Add Scholarships!

Abroad101 publishes a popular Study Abroad Scholarship Directory (Page 1 on Google).  These entries are also displayed on the matching Program (free) Listings under a Financial Aid tab.  You’ll find links to add/update your scholarships on the left side of your account dashboard.  Under the “Providers” heading, click “Scholarships Available” to a menu with 2 tabs: “Current Scholarships” and “New Scholarships”.  You will have the option to make each scholarship apply to all your programs, or specific ones.  Add as many as you’d like. 

After you revise this part of your listings, we encourage you to edit each of your programs, add some new photos, videos and don’t forget the study subjects.  Each study subject puts your Program Listing in an additional directory.  If you are an advertiser, your Featured Programs will also appear in matching Study Subject Directories.

Use Abroad101 to Connect with Universities:

When a student completes a review, a notification is sent to both the provider and the student’s home university advisor(s).  The reviews are displayed on the Program Listing, provider’s portal and the home university’s portal on Abroad101.  We hope you’ll use this as a calling card with each university as each review is:

  • a point of pride of the returning student
  • a testimonial for future students
  • reassurance for parents about what to expect from study abroad

Advisors have the option to create a preferred programs list on their Abroad101 portal and we encourage you to ask your partners to be sure your programs are included.  The “University Approvals” report on your Abroad101 dashboard will show how you’re doing.  We also hope you will encourage your partner schools to use Abroad101 for all program evaluations.  We’d be happy to give any an online demo of our free software to any advisor/administrator you nominate.  In return, you get a steady flow of reviews with the extra candor that comes when universities require the review.

Survey Fatigue? Use Abroad101 as YOUR Official Program Evaluation Software:

Universities who use Abroad101 as their official program evaluation software have the option to add to the standard set of 38 questions.  If you use Abroad101 as your official program evaluation software, you can have that same feature.  With Abroad101 you can also export the completed evaluations, tie them to your CRM/enrollment system with an API or use our “Graphs” for simplified reporting.

The core system and extra questions are free.  Managed Services and our custom Abroad201 tools are available at reasonable fees, so consider outsourcing your evaluation process to us!

Why Abroad101?  It is “Re-Entry in a Box”

The Abroad101 review is 38 questions in length and is designed to walk students through a reflection of who they were before they left, who they are now and what they hope for their future.  As part of this process, they will rate 9 different aspects of their program and provide some insight and tips for future students.  Taking 20-30 minutes to complete, the review can help students put their feelings into words and start the process of communicating their experiences in concise and coherent ways. With Abroad101:

  • Each review becomes a web page managed by the student
  • Notification of each review goes to the student’s home university advising team
  • You also get notice of each review
  • You get important feedback and insight
  • You get good data that can measure against other providers
  • You take a leadership position in Transparency
  • You get recognized as a market leader who puts students first

Candor is Key:

Reviews are very influential in today’s consumer market and study abroad is no exception.  People come to review sites looking for balance to the always-positive websites, brochures and in-person presentations.  They know things aren’t perfect and want to understand what may be imperfect about a given location, program or host.  Quite often the visitors to Abroad101 are coming to validate their earlier discoveries and because of this, we see a significant portion of our traffic from parents and other adults who support students.  The 38 questions in the Abroad101 review give everyone something to discuss with plenty of examples to engage in a meaningful dialog and hopefully break some stereotypes about other people and other parts the world.

If you are worried that negative reviews will negatively impact recruiting, think again.  For review websites, criticism draws traffic and attention.  Complaints are usually about things beyond the programs control: weather, crime, cost of living and attitudes of local students/residents.  For marketers, this goes against your natural instincts, but for Review Websites, the negative sells.  We suggest you read “You Don’t Want a 5 Star Review” and Reviews Sell Products (and lack of reviews can hurt).

Cost-Effective Ad Packages:

It’s that time of year when many of our client renew their advertising and new budgets bring new clients.  Our constant attention to detail and continual improvements to the site’s performance seem to be working.  Abroad101 is a review website, it’s all we do.  That means we are different than sites that focus on lead generation.  Our inquiry volume will be lower, but our quality is higher and a number of advertisers are telling us that they are seeing enrollments from those that visit Abroad101.  Respectable ROI has led some advertisers to increase the size of their campaigns with Abroad101 this year.  Don’t worry, we’re not sold out yet! There’s still room for more ads through our unique ad rotations. 

In case you need a refresher:  

  • Abroad101 is the first and largest study abroad review website, recognized by many as the “Trip Advisor” of Study Abroad, a responsible member of the study abroad community and an advocate for students
  • Abroad101 is the official evaluation platform at a number of universities which assures exposure on those campuses, more schools join use each month
  • Students visit Abroad101 to discover programs and also to research and validate their options, a good presence on Abroad101 can impact their choices and boost conversions
  • Reviews are used for multiple purposes, visitors are often parents and advisors who impact a student’s decision
  • Advertising is designed to increase exposure and generate extra clicks to program pages and generate additional student inquiries or requests for application instructions
  • Extra inquiries/leads are generated through Abroad101’s LeadMatch which gives students extra choices after inquiring to a non-advertised program
  • Advertisers see their programs highlighted and select reviews promoted through Abroad101’s popular social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest)

Ads appear in 190 country directories, 1041 city directories and 422 study subject directories.  Over the Past Year, Abroad101 has introduced the following new directories:

For more information about advertising, please contact sales@abroad101.com

For support and general questions, please contact support@abroad101.com

Feel free to call us at 212-321-0928 whenever we can be of service.

 

Happy Summer!

Abroad101 Newsletter for Providers – April 2016

Abroad101-reviews-logo-webFirst, a reminder to invite returning students to submit a review through Abroad101.  We recommend you use the Invite Tool in your Abroad101 account, you can also tell your students to start here: http://www.StudyAbroad101.com/reviews/new

While the impact of online reviews is still a topic of debate in higher education, there is little debate that reviews influence consumers who shop online.  How important are customer reviews to shoppers?  One recent survey reports 90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business, and 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

What do the Scholars Say about Reviews?

While we’re pretty confident reviews do matter, Abroad101’s Social Media editor Caleb House went to work to uncover some evidence.  In “How Online Product Reviews Affect Retail Sales: A Meta-analysis” published in the academic “Journal of Retailing”, Caleb discovers that: “the only factor that had a greater influence on sales was price” and “the indication that electronic word of mouth has actually overtaken more traditional sources of information.”  Read more of Caleb’s analysis.

The article looked at retail purchases and what would be considered transactional sales.  Study abroad is more complex than this so this data should be taken with appropriate disclaimers.  This being said, it is a new generation of students on study abroad, what it says when you have NO reviews?

What about Bad Reviews?

The most common objection we get to fully transparent publishing of student reviews is a concern about how a negative experience will impact a program or the institutional stakeholders.  In the complex world of social media and online transparency, the opposite is often true.

People often come to review sites to validate their choices and to search for the negative. Reviews of student struggles and reports of negative things will actually help future students prepare and set their expectations.  In an odd twist of logic, they go to review sites to relieve the anxiety about what happens when things go wrong.  Reviews also provide a practical balance to the always-positive websites, brochures and on campus presentations.  For those, like parents, who may not be present in Q&A sessions, reviews provide a welcome reality check.

Taking some best practices from the tech sector, it is ironic to discover that negative reviews actually have a positive impact.  We suggest you read “You Don’t Want A 5-Star Review

Alumni Ambassadors and Beautiful Reviews

This “always sunny” concept is something that savvy marketers are concerned over.  Study Abroad providers are increasingly using Alumni Ambassadors in their marketing efforts.  These are typically very satisfied students who have demonstrated great affinity for a program and are fantastic spokespeople.  When they are tasked with writing a review, human nature kicks in and we have noticed these reviews being too promotional and “too good to be true.”  In looking at the traffic these reviews generate, they get less page views than reviews with lower overall ratings.

It is worth noting that Abroad101 modified our page display algorithm to adjust for any one-sided approach to reviewers.  We welcome Alumni Ambassador submissions and in your training of them we hope you’ll reinforce the need to be candid in their stories so the review will be viewed as legitimate and credible.

The Latest Study Abroad Rankings:

For the fifth year, Abroad101 has tallied student reviews and produced “The 2015 Study Abroad Rankings.”  The rankings recognize the study abroad programs and locations rated highest by American students who have studied abroad in the last year. The rankings also reflect the dynamic nature of study abroad and identify up-and-coming destinations and program types in addition to top programs and providers.  From this years data we found that:

  • Big cities are in
  • Programs are touring
  • More students are on programs through their home universities.

 You can read the press release or view the full rankings.

For Top Programs, the threshold for inclusion was 15 reviews, or 10 reviews if they came from 3 different universities.  For Top Providers, we needed 20 reviews from at least 3 different programs or from 3 different universities.  Read details on the rankings methodology.

Each review counts toward the rankings and contributes insight about the whole of study abroad: from academics to food and from cost to the friendliness of the destination.  Please remember, rankings are an indicator of quality, not a measure of quality, and it is in the spirit of transparency and strong demand from parents that we publish the rankings. 

Reviews as a Re-entry Exercise:

Several universities have described a process where they engage the students in a final day exercise that describes the review as part of the re-entry process.  Using the review as the student’s official personal statement makes it their point of pride.  It’s a productive exercise if they can put into words their feelings about their discoveries, growth, maturity and overall gains during the time abroad.  Abroad101’s 38-question review can serve as the means to do this.  Asking the students to bring their laptop, tablet or smart-phone to class is one way to assure high or full participation in the process.

Paper Evaluations into Online Reviews:

We recognize that even with today’s tech savvy youth and Wi-Fi enabled campuses, capturing evaluations/reviews online has its challenges. 

  • It’s OK to collect your data via paper
  • It’s NOT OK to store your data on paper
  • It’s JUST WRONG to share your data on paper

If you have paper evaluations, we suggest you allow us to turn them into Abroad101 reviews.  For a modest account management fee and a very reasonable per evaluation fee, we will oversee this process and take a big step to modernize your evaluation process.

Introducing Abroad201, A New Addition to the Product Family

At Forum, we introduced Abroad201, a combination of software and services that provides a wide range of customization and options for your program evaluations.  With Abroad201 you can:

  • Convert paper-based forms into meaningful data
  • Manage the publication of some, or all evaluations as reviews
  • Publish wherever you want and share with whomever you want 
  • Turn the results into reports, benchmark them as you choose
  • Greatly enhance your reporting capabilities. 

Modernize your program evaluation process, reduce survey fatigue among your students, better serve your partner schools and get better data with the expanded line of program evaluation software and services we call Abroad201.

Abroad201 is cloud-based software and services with fees that vary depending on the level of service.  Abroad101 is free software that will remain standard in function and purpose.  Pick whichever tool meets your budget and your goals.  

We’re Working FOR You:

Whether it’s cost effective direct to student/parent advertising and promotion or better ways to capture your student evaluations and work with partner universities, Abroad101 is here to help.  Call, write or come visit us at NAFSA, booth #1133.

Thanks you for taking the time to read this and for considering Abroad101.

Abroad101 Update – Reviews are More than Marketing Content

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Here’s the latest update from Abroad101 for program providers and host universities.

Software Upgrades:

We’re please to announce these recent enhancements to Abroad101, the first and largest study abroad review website and program evaluation software platform:

Custom Questions Now Available For Providers:

Universities who pledge to use Abroad101 with all their students have always had the option to supplement the standard set of questions with ones unique and specific to their needs.  We have added that same functionality for providers and host universities willing to make that same pledge.  Use Abroad101 as your official program evaluation software and you can customize a significant portion of the questions you ask.  With Abroad101 you can also export the completed evaluation and use the individual reviews in other systems or tally those for required reporting.

Scholarship Directory:

Host universities can now add scholarships to the Abroad101 scholarship directory.  You’ll see a link called “Scholarships Available” on the left side of your account dashboard under University.  Please remember these are for US students that you might designate as “Free Mover” “Visiting Students” or “Direct-Enroll”, attending semester and short-term programs, not pursuing a full-degree.

Changes to “Would Return” Question:

We recently made a modest change to the “would return” question.  Students were asked: “If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same program?” The answer had been displayed as a green check for yes or a red x for no at the top of each review.  To better clarify a student’s thoughts, we added a text field “Please Explain” and moved this answer as a summary to the set of star rating questions displayed in the “Review your program” block.

Updates to Cities List:

We have updated the list of cities to optimize our directories for search.  With more than 1,000 cities, we have plenty to choose from.  If a single city or region doesn’t work, we also have some general categories for you to pick:

  • Multiple = operating in multiple locations in a given country (2 or 3 locations)
  • Traveling = program travels around a country or series of countries (4 or more locations)
  • Field = program operates in a remote or rural setting

As a reminder, for Quality Control reasons, the Abroad101 team adds new programs, changes titles and adjusts cities.  If you would like additions or changes to your listings, please send details by email to support@abroad101.com

Why Reviews?

Think about the last time you booked a hotel, chose a movie or show in a theater, picked a restaurant, or bought a product online.  Did a review help in your decision?  For most Americans, reviews help reinforce an initial interest and help set expectations.  If you use reviews to guide your decisions, then you can imagine how reviews can impact program selection in education abroad.  Since 2007, Abroad101 has been guiding students, parents and advisors while at the same time helping promote study abroad.  We’ve processed over 3,000 new study abroad reviews from just the last semester with more coming every day.

Universities are Lagging Behind:

Every day in our outreach to universities there is at least one story of a university that triumphantly states, “we have a successful paper-based evaluation process that we’ve had in place for well over a decade, and we don’t need to change.”  It’s true, they don’t need to change, but they should. 

Collecting and keeping the evaluation results in secret is against the principles of transparency and does little good.  Putting paper copies of evaluations in binders on reference library shelves is not sharing in the Internet era and certainly not student-friendly.

Providers Can Take the Lead:

As program providers and host universities you can take the lead and help universities break out of this archaic practice by encouraging, even requiring your students to complete evaluations and publish them.  As you have taken the “Duty of Care” you can demonstrate transparency and move study abroad program evaluations (reviews) into the modern era.  We hope you’ll choose Abroad101 as your platform to do this and we give you a rich set of tools to manage this leap of faith.  Reviews are not just for marketing.  Recently we shared these sentiments in our Advisors newsletter and asked a number of risk managers “Who’s Looking at Your Reviews?

Why Abroad101?  Re-Entry in a Box

The Abroad101 review is 38 questions in length and is designed to walk students through a reflection of who they were before they left, who they are now and what they hope for their future.  As part of this process, they will rate 9 different aspects of their program and provide some insight and tips for future students.  Taking 20-30 minutes to complete, the review can help students put their feelings into words and start the process of communicating their experiences in concise and coherent ways. 

Each Abroad101 Review becomes a web page.  A notification of the review goes to the student’s home university advising team. 

  • You get noticed when this happens.
  • You get important feedback. 
  • You get performance data. 
  • You take charge of transparency.
  • You get recognized as a market leader. 

Candor is Key

Reviews are very influential in today’s consumer market and study abroad is no exception.  People come to review sites looking for balance to the always-positive websites, brochures and in-person presentations.  They know things aren’t perfect and want to understand what may be imperfect about a given location, program or host.  Quite often the visitors to Abroad101 are coming to validate their earlier discoveries and because of this, we see a significant portion of our traffic from parents and other adults who support students.  Students may be drawn to the ratings and comments about food and social aspects of a program, while parents see value in ratings and comments about safety and cost.  The 38 questions in the Abroad101 review give everyone something to discuss with plenty of examples to engage in a meaningful dialog and hopefully break some stereotypes about other people and other parts the world.

If you are worried that negative reviews will negatively impact recruiting, think again.  For review websites, criticism draws traffic and attention and for the most part, complaints are about things beyond the programs control – weather, crime, cost of living and attitudes of local students.  For marketers, this goes against your natural instincts, but the negative does get people to buy.  We suggest you read “you don’t want 5 star reviews

Transparency vs. Exposure and Risk

The concept of transparency is the prime reason to publish your evaluations. This does worry many in the university community who fear that unpleasant experiences will chase away future students.  We strongly believe that the risk of non-disclosure and suppression of a student’s story is a greater risk than any possible adverse affects of a negative review.  Failure to publish these accounts in today’s review-focused world is more telling than publishing stories of a few unhappy participants.

There are organizations lobbying government to mandate transparency and accountability and we strongly believe that using Abroad101 as your platform puts you at the ahead of this issue.  Publishing shows integrity and may well mitigate your legal risk if complications arise in the future. As the old slogan goes, “an educated consumer is the best kind” and when it comes to education abroad, it is riskier not to prepare students for the unknowns they face.  Using the Abroad101 system is an effective way to better prepare students and their families for the experience and lessen your liability for not disclosing past details.

Data, Data, Data

When you use Abroad101, you also harvest a wealth of data from your students and you can use Abroad101 to compare it to other programs.  With our reporting you can see graphs on how your students rate their experience in those 9 categories and you can compare, even benchmark this other programs in the host country plus other providers as a whole.  One Dean recently told us about his use of Abroad101 stats in his university’s regional accreditation review.  He is using Abroad101 to benchmark his students’ education abroad experiences against others with the Graphs report from his Abroad101 dashboard.  We intend to help this practice spread.

Customize the Abroad101 Platform for you.

As mentioned at the beginning of this report, Providers can now add custom questions, so we ask you, why not make Abroad101 your official program evaluation software?  We understand that you might collect your reviews on paper, but that doesn’t mean you can’t publish them.  For less than $5/evaluation we can take a paper evaluation and turn it into a published review.  You get the ability of collecting the evaluations on site and get the power of data managed in the Abroad101 platform.  Call us and ask us how.

The basic software is free, the training is free, the support is fast and the process is easy.  Cost effective custom solutions are available if you need more functionality.

We hope you’ll call us for a no-obligation demo of the Abroad101 software and use it to advance education abroad at your institution.

 

Providers Update Fall 2015 – News from Abroad101

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Where does the time go? As spring program deadlines pass and focus starts to shift on returning Fall students, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to take a deeper look at getting more from Abroad101, the first and largest study abroad review website.

New Scholarship Directory

Abroad101 recently announced a makeover to our scholarship directory. As an expansion of the “Financial Aid” tab in each program listing, the new and improved Abroad101 Scholarship Directory now lists opportunities for students with direct links to the application forms and websites. These listings come from entries made through the “Scholarships Available” link, under the providers tab on the left side of your account dashboard. You can enter them for individual programs or for your organization as a whole. In addition to appearing in your listings, you’ll see them listed here: http://www.studyabroad101.com/scholarships  Please login and update your scholarship listings.

Reporting Graphs

While you’re in your account, don’t forget to take a look at the Reporting tab to see how students are rating you. The provider and program graphs will compare your star ratings against others for each of the nine rated categories: Overall, Academics, Program Administration, Housing, Food, Social Integration, Healthcare, Safety and Cost of Living.

If you like what you see, please consider adding links from your website to your program listings on Abroad101 or sharing the good news with our Abroad101 Program Widget

Boosting your SEO with Abroad101

Help us help you. Content is very important when search engines determine a website’s relevance. A strong position on web search engines comes when your site is designated as an authoritative site. Search engines prefer sites with outbound links to content matching topics. By linking to other quality, on-topic resources like Abroad101, you can improve your search engine results as well as ours. Utilizing the Abroad101 program widget with its links to your program page is one way to boost your outbound links, adding links to your program listings on Abroad101 is another.  Better yet, please consider adding the new Abroad101 Providers Widget to your testimonials page, which allows you to always keep the top rated programs visible to your users.  The providers widget will also screen reviews and only display the most favorable ones!

Use Abroad101 as Your Program Evaluation Software

A number of universities use Abroad101 as their official program evaluation software and we welcome the opportunity to do the same for providers. Abroad101’s system is driven by a core set of 37 questions that you can see/download here.

We can add additional questions for you at no charge, or offer you some modest enhancements and systems integration with your CRM or enrollment system for a modest charge. Contact Mark@Abroad101.com for more details.

Using Abroad101 will align your program evaluation with your partner schools and help us increase our reach and impact on students, parents and advisors alike.  If you operate programs for universities in a private label format, we can list those programs as well.

Reviews Drive Rankings

Speaking of search engines, what drives a lot of traffic to Abroad101 are keywords tied to our annual rankings. This year the rankings will recognize review volume much more than ever before. Abroad101 has already changed its listings display formula to give greater recognition to review volume and we will do the same for this year’s rankings.

To improve your odds in the rankings, we hope that you will drive all your students to submit program reviews through Abroad101, not just your alumni ambassadors. The 2015 study abroad rankings cover students who have studied abroad in 2015 and will be determined by compiling reviews collected by February 1, 2016. If you’ve not yet asked your spring and summer 2015 students to submit reviews, we encourage you to do so now.

Updates to the Inquiry Form

The inquiry form on your Program Listing is the primary call to action through Abroad101. Those inquiries come to you by email and are stored in your account dashboard. We hope you respond promptly to those inquiries and to help better qualify leads, students are now asked to identify when they would like to study abroad, which you will see reflected in the field called “Study Period.”

For our advertisers, you will also see a new lead type “mp” that comes from our new LeadMatch utility that points students to programs similar to ones they have just inquired about. LeadMatch has resulted in a 15% increase in overall inquiries and is yet another reason to consider advertising on Abroad101.

New Staff, Need Training?

Abroad101 has added a staff member whose primary duties are helping advisors get more out of the software. If you have new staff that would benefit from an online training session, or if you’d like a refresher course on your account dashboard, please don’t hesitate to contact support@abroad101.com to schedule a 30 or 60-minute session of your own.

We appreciate you taking the time to catch-up on the latest developments at Abroad101 and your comments, questions and feedback so please don’t hesitate to contact us whenever we can be of service – mark@abroad101.com

 

Study abroad in Thailand – Abroad101.com Cool Program of the Week!

If you are interested in Public Health, no matter what setting, you should study abroad.  Abroad101’s Cool Program of the Week is CIEE’s Summer Community Public Health in Khon Kaen, a vibrant, successful and just nice, place to study.

According to the World Health Organization, Thailand has “a long and successful history of health development,” yet it continues to struggle with public health issues such as HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Spend your summer learning about these challenges during CIEE’s Summer Community Public Health program. Through intensive courses, a two-week field research practicum in a small Thai community, site visits, and more, you’ll help to make a difference while developing your Thai language skills and exploring this beautiful country.

To find out more about this program, read returning student reviews and learn more or apply, please visit:

https://www.studyabroad101.com/programs/ciee-khon-kaen-summer-community-public-health