The new Abroad101 is now 100 days old! I’ve been able to connect with a number of you during the transition and I am grateful for all the support we’ve received. Your well wishes for our turnaround are appreciated and there’s good news, the plan is working and things are coming together! Here are some highlights:
Study Abroad Rankings
Abroad 101 is pleased to release the 2013 Abroad101 study abroad rankings. The 2013 rankings honor the highest-rated study abroad programs and locations by American students who have studied abroad. The rankings report highlights the 10 best rated study abroad programs and study abroad providers. It also features the top ten non-traditional countries list, most budget-friendly, most livable and cities with the best food. The rankings along with excerpts from student reviews are available now at: Study Abroad Rankings
Look for some media coverage on these in the coming weeks. The rankings are one way we highlight the students voice and the power of the reviews that we have collected on Abroad101. This year we processed nearly 5,000 reviews for the rankings and look forward to continuing to use the data we collect to advance the field of study abroad.
WebSite Updates –
The Abroad101 web site is going though constant improvement with our tech team installing changes and upgrades on a two-week update cycle. Recent upgrades to the system include:
• Home page search has been modified with city added as a choice along with country.
• More featured program positions were added to accommodate ad growth.
• In the free form search box inactive programs and reassigned reviews now won’t appear in the search results
• Better linking between reviews and programs
• Full access to all provider tools: student inquiry data, review reports and pre-approved program lists. This had been restricted/limited in the past and is now available for all providers, regardless of level of advertising.
And HEADS UP! The most widely requested change is just around the corner – all the data from the student will be sent to you by email immediately after the student submits the form. You won’t have to login and find your latest inquiries; they’ll now come to your inbox. We’ll continue to store the leads in your portal as an archive.
Responding to Inquiries:
To better serve students, we have made significant changes to the student inquiry process and we ask that you reciprocate and respond quickly and appropriately to each student’s request. The inquiry form that the students complete has options for a catalog mailing and a phone call (True/False), please follow those prompts. Further, there is a status level on the inquiry:
RMI = Request More Information
App = Wanting to APPLY to the program
Favorite = Student tags program as a favorite for later action.
It is important to gage your response to the level of student interest. You may see a “Favorite” inquiry one day, then a “RMI” or “App” request soon after as the student works through their search. We encourage you to respond by email to each inquiry, thanking them for their interest and addressing their specific questions or with information about the program they identified.
Attention to Detail:
We have been investing in the improvement of our site’s data, adding 73 new cities and 327 new foreign host universities. We have been editing listings to add this new data and working with our providers to add other descriptive content to the free listings on the site. In addition to our efforts to tune up the data we are calling on all program providers to upload photos of students in action to your listings. A number of student reviews contain photos as well; these get combined to present a nice array on each of the program listings. Of course the main attraction to Abroad101 is the reviews and we encourage each of our providers to use the “Invite Tool” in your account portal to send reviews prompts to recent graduates of your programs. Using the tool from Abroad101 will make it easier for former students to find their programs. Our system is also configured to send timely reminders as needed.
If you have a program listed on Abroad101, you have an administration portal to maintain that listing. Your Abroad101 login will allow you access to edit your listings, to use the invite tool and utilize the reporting features described above. If you want to change program names or add/delete programs you will need to contact us. If you need a new login or your password reset, you should also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org The “lost my password” function on the site is for student accounts, not administrators.
Promote and Link to Your Reviews:
Students continue to persist through the 25 review questions knowing that the reviews are important, both for themselves and future students. Unlike other review sites, the Abroad101 reviews are detailed and reflective. Some are significant points of pride with photos and heartfelt stories, true demonstrations of the power of study abroad. We’ve even started to see reviews showcased in student’s resume’s, cover letters and personal profiles. The sincerity shown in the reviews is something we hope each provider will utilize in their marketing, both offline and online. We welcome your use of the reviews in your publications and your web site, and we encourage you to link to your Abroad101 reviews from the corresponding program’s page on your website. For Powerpoints and documents we ask that you simply mention these reviews were featured on Abroad101.
No Longer Interim CEO:
My first 100 days as general manager of Abroad101 have been very encouraging and support from the field has been strong. Eighteen providers have either renewed or purchased new advertising with Abroad101 helping us gain momentum. With a number of other clients pledging to support us in the future, it’s fair to say the best is yet to come. With all this in mind, I am delighted to announce that my role in the business will become permanent and that I’ve removed the Interim from my title and plan to guide this enterprise for a long time. I hope to see you at Forum and please do plan to stop by our booth at NAFSA.
Your comments, questions and feedback are welcome; please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.