Abroad101 Advisors Update – Fall 2016

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Have You Seen Your Study Abroad Review Portal Lately?

Each day Abroad101 receives dozens of program evaluations from students that have been invited by either their home university, their provider or their host institution.  We publish each review as a complete web page and tally them in listings by program, provider and host institution, plus in portals for each home school.  As of today, 29,442 student reviews are on Abroad101 making it the largest source of study abroad stories.  Visit the site to see your student reviews!

  1. Start at the university page:
  2. Enter your institution’s name in the search box and click to see your portal.
  3. If you want the ability to manage this portal and use the free software, simply reply with your contact info and we’ll get you a login.

Moms & Dads Use Abroad101

The target audience for Abroad101 is American college students looking for a semester, summer or short-term abroad.  Provider managed, exchange and faculty-led programs are all listed.  Parents and Advisors that support students end up being a big portion of our traffic.  Based on Google Analytics data, we estimate that 20-25% of the visitors to Abroad101 are parents, searching on the keywords like “study abroad reviews” and trying to learn more about the options their children are considering. 

As an advisor, you will find that your recommendations are validated when prospective students and parents read reviews.  Providers will often use reviews in their discussion with students and parents as they find a well-informed student makes for a more successful student.  Reading reviews will help parents become more comfortable with study abroad and to help them set expectations for what lies ahead.  We hope you’ll mention Abroad101 Reviews in your parent communication and put a link to http://www.StudyAbroad101.com on your website to better prepare all.

How to Get Students to Write Reviews?

If you are one of the many institutions that has a legacy process for program evaluations or cannot require students to complete reviews, it will take some work to get reviews part of the study abroad conversation.  So often we hear that it is hard to get students to do anything, let alone spend 20-30 minutes on a review.  This is especially true when students feel that the activity has no benefit for them.  However, they are inclined to share their stories if the exercise gives them a chance to tell their story, and that is exactly what they do on social media for hours a day!

If the student believes the review is good for them, they will generally participate.  That takes some groundwork before they go abroad and as they prepare to return.  One idea to get more engagement is to incorporate a review in your re-entry programming and use the review process as a step toward preparing the students to share their experience with others.  Just like career counselors who tell students to prepare a good resume for a job search, we hope that study abroad advisors will help their students prepare for their return home by guiding them to submitting a thorough and candid review.

We’ve published some articles with messages that should resonate with students, including:

Why Should I Write a Study Abroad Review?

Top 5 Reasons to Write an Education Abroad Review

Getting More from Abroad101

Abroad101 is a tool to help you advance study abroad on your campus and is used by some of the most successful institutions in the field.  Our goal is to see more students going abroad and getting the most from their experience.  We also want those that go to be better informed beforehand and we want to help them turn that experience into a career building stepping stone when they return.  The Abroad101 team is happy to answer any of your questions by email or phone.  We also welcome the opportunity to walk you, and members of your staff though the system with an online demo of the back-end features of Abroad101 to see if our free program evaluation tool is right for you.  The demo will show how you can see reports, compare your results with other institutions, set pre-approved/recommended programs and add custom questions to the standard Abroad101 review.  Abroad101 also has promotional material for you to share with your students, so please let us know how we can help you.

As we approach our 10th anniversary, we’d like to say THANKS for all your support.

You can also see the best of the review stream through social media:

Facebook | Twitter |  Pinterest | Instagram | Linkedin

Abroad101 Providers Newsletter – Fall 2016

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We appreciate you opening this newsletter and taking a few minutes to check-in with the latest news from Abroad101.

The Secret to Abroad101’s Listings Display

Abroad prides itself as a review website, as the largest in the field, people come to us looking for reviews.  We have designed the site to display programs based on their review relevance using a proprietary algorithm that looks at multiple factors.  This approach is applied anywhere you see programs displayed: on your provider’s page, on university pre-approved program pages and in each of the city, country and subject directories that serve prospective students.  The algorithm scores each review and lists the programs based on a point system.  Points come from the freshness of reviews, the completeness of reviews and an adjustment for candor (standard deviation).  Programs benefit from review volume as well as review quality.

People Don’t Trust Perfect Reviews

People use reviews in a number of different ways and human nature as it is, most come looking for something wrong.  The reviews with a critical tone get more views than the reviews with “the best 4 months of my life” and similar titles.  As it turns out, people find that some criticism is reassuring and it’s ironic that slightly negative reviews have more positive impact that overdone, glowing reviews.  Abroad101’s Social Media Editor uncovered some research that indicated that in a free market, when it comes to reviews, “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 research used in Caleb’s article looked at retail purchases.  As we know, study abroad is more complex than this so this data should be taken with appropriate disclaimers.  That being said, it is a new generation of students on study abroad and a new generation of parents.  What does it say when you have NO reviews?

Moms & Dads Use Abroad101

The target audience for Abroad101 is American college students looking for a semester, summer or short-term away from campus.  In addition, parents and advisors that support students end up being a sizable portion of our traffic.  Based on Google Analytics data, we estimate that 20-25% of the visitors to Abroad101 are parents, searching on the keyword “reviews” and trying to learn more about the options their children are considering. 

Parents are not looking to discover new programs, but are looking to become more familiar, and in a number of cases validate what they hear from their children.  You should be aware of this and use the in-depth reviews on Abroad101 to your advantage.  Consider referring parents to reviews when they call in, and certainly have your customer service folks be well aware of the reviews that are online and any associated concerns they may identify.

Directing parents to reviews will help them become more comfortable with study abroad and help them set expectations on what lies ahead.  Review may also be quite helpful in moving a student inquiry toward an enrollment as reviews do have an impact on conversions. 

Why Advertise?

Advertising on Abroad101 is designed to bring you more inquiries, improve your conversions and raise the brand and visibility of your programs, all at a price that won’t blow your budget.  Advertising is also the only way we fund Abroad101.  Featured Listings match by program in our directories (city, country, study subjects) and cost $500/year.  Display advertising can highlight your organization or specific programs.  We offer cost-effective “bundles” designed to bring you both value and performance.  Over the course of the year, as an average, Abroad101 is generating inquiries in the range of $40-$75 each, and from what we hear from our clients, Abroad101 inquires convert to enrollments at a rate ranging from 5-10%.  Remember that our core audience is currently enrolled, American college students looking for a semester, summer or short-term abroad, then returning to campus to finish their degree.  By reaching parents and advisors as well as students, Abroad101 is uniquely positioned as a place for your advertising dollars.

How to Get Students to Write Reviews?

As we stress, your presence on Abroad101 is greatly enhanced by reviews.  So often we hear that it is hard to get students to do anything, let alone spend 20-30 minutes on a review.  This is especially true when students feel that the activity has no benefit for them.  We find that students ARE inclined to share their experience if the exercise gives them a chance to tell their story – exactly what they do on social media for hours a day!

If the student believes the review is good for them, they will generally participate.  That takes some groundwork before they go abroad and as they prepare to return.  One idea to get more engagement is to incorporate a review in your end-of-term programming and use the review process as a step toward preparing the students to share their experience with others.  Just like career counselors who tell students to prepare a good resume for a job search, we hope that study abroad staff will help their students prepare for their return home by guiding them to submitting a thorough and candid review.

We’ve published some articles with messages that should resonate with students, including:

Why Should I Write a Study Abroad Review

Top 5 Reasons to Write an Education Abroad Review

Getting More from Abroad101

Like you, our goal is to see more students going abroad and getting the most from their experience.  We also want those that go to be better informed beforehand and we want to help them turn that experience into a career building stepping stone when they return.  The Abroad101 team is happy to answer any of your questions by email or phone.  We also welcome the opportunity to walk you though the system with an online demo of the back-end features of Abroad101 to see if our free program evaluation tool is right for you.  The demo will show how you can see reports, compare your results with other organizations, and more. 

As we approach our 10th anniversary, we’d like to say THANKS for all your support.

 

Mark Shay | Abroad101

SEA Semester takes a tall ship and turns it into our Abroad101 Cool Program of the Week

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Student reviews often tell about forming close bonds with people while studying abroad and getting immersed in the subject of study.  This week’s Cool Program does both like no other – SEA Semester takes a tall ship and turns it into your entire education ecosphere.  Study the oceans on the ocean, learn to sail and become family with the 35 students, faculty and crew.  The reviews tell all – “Fair winds and following seas”

sea-semester-reviewSince 1971, SEA has been a leader in off-campus study focused on marine science, maritime culture, and environmental studies. Our SEA Semester study abroad programs challenge students intellectually and physically by combining the sailing adventure of a lifetime with study of the deep ocean and the interactions between humans and the sea.. We create environmentally literate leaders who are prepared to address the defining issue of the twenty-first century: the human impact on the environment. We look for motivated students of all majors who are passionate about learning, willing to seek out new challenges, and eager to become part of a unique learning community.

To learn more or apply to this program please visit:

https://www.studyabroad101.com/providers/sea-semester

Here’s How to Start a Remote Business While Studying Abroad

european countries - continent marked with flagsThe growing influence of the internet culture means that setting up a remote business these days is straightforward, even for students studying abroad. The road of students turned entrepreneurs is one that has been widely traveled and awash with many success stories. Here are important tips that can help as you start your remote business while studying abroad.

Create a plan

What kind of business are you looking to start? What are your goals? Are you looking at a business that you will continue when you return home or one that will only help you raise some cash for the duration of your study? How do you intend to manage the business in line with your studies? These are important points you need to address as you create your business. You will be the leader of the team so you have to be ready to take some responsibility on how communication will be handled, the delegation of tasks and how deadlines will be enforced. These are vital considerations for the success of your remote business.

Sort the legal requirements

Depending on where you are studying, you may be required to register your business before you can operate. This is especially true when you need a business account with financial institutions and when you are required to pay taxes. If you are operating a team based in international locations away from your study area and intend to use e-currency platforms to manage your finances, you may not need any registrations. It is still best to find out what the law says to avoid problems in future.

Decide on your staffing needs

How many people do you need to get your business functioning for the next 6 months at least? Clearly map out the roles. A good tip is to only focus on absolutely vital staff and consider giving dual roles to qualified individuals. An unnecessarily bloated workforce at the early stage can lead to a funding quagmire.

Hire the best hands

After you have worked out processes and goals, it is time to start looking for people that have the skills you are looking for. An important point to note with remote workers is to downplay cover letters, samples and interviews. Trial projects always work best. They allow you to see who has the right expertise for your company best.

Work with the right technology

There is no searching for tools that can help ensure better communication and optimal productive for your remote team. From communication software to file sharing and team monitoring software, there is technology to help you grow.

Communication is vital

Many remote teams break down after a while as a result of poor communication. This is why it is vital to have several communication lines for members of the team. Chat, phone and email are the more popular options but conference calls and social media communication should be explored.

Starting a remote business as a student abroad can be richly rewarding when approached correctly.