Providers Update Fall 2015 – News from Abroad101


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:  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 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 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 –


Abroad101 Advisors Newsletter – Spring 2016

Abroad101-reviews-logo-webWe appreciate you taking a few minutes from your busy day to catch up on the happenings at Abroad101, the first and largest study abroad review website.  As we wrap up another semester, we start by reminding you to send review invites to returning students through your account on Abroad101.  You can also guide your students to start their reviews here:

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 year’s data we found that big cities are in, programs are touring, and more American students are studying abroad on programs coordinated by their home universities.

You can read the press release or view the latest rankings

As advisors, you can help improve the study abroad rankings by encouraging your students to tell their story and submit a review.  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 that we publish the rankings. 

Review and Parents: Helping Set Expectations:

About 25% of the visitors to Abroad101 are parents searching for more insight into their children’s options. It is no secret that parents are increasingly involved in their children’s college education, and study abroad is no exception.  Reviews are a good way to redirect parents’ inquiries about programs and also as tool to help set expectations about a particular host university, host country, or provider.  Each Abroad101 review has 38 questions including star ratings on 9 different program aspects.  Put a review in front of a family and you’ll see the eyes of the student got to the social (or food) ratings, the mother to the safety ratings and a father to cost ratings.  This is more than just a stereotype; it demonstrates that reviews serve multiple audiences and deliver multiple perspectives.  Abroad101’s reviews are designed to foster conversation around the options and build a better sense of awareness before making the final choice.  As the old adage goes “An educated consumer is the best customer.”  For mom and dad, they think of study abroad as a product and themselves as a consumer.  Considering everything else that is rated and ranked it is only natural for parents and students to consider study abroad reviews.

Reviews and Re-entry:

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.

If you have a formal re-entry process, you can tie that to your Abroad101 results in a number of ways.  Within your account dashboard you can export the reviews of your students.  Those reviews have an email address and a serial number.  You can enter that serial number in your enrollment or student information systems to fulfill a requirement, or you can create a process for the student to do so.  If you are using Terra Dotta for example, we encourage you to tie the returnee phase to a questionnaire with that serial number.  Read more about linking Abroad101 and Terra Dotta Software.

What can be Better than Abroad101’s Free Software?

Since 2007, Abroad101 has been suggesting that program evaluations and online reviews can be the same thing.  A number of colleges and universities have already adopted Abroad101 as their program evaluation platform.  Today Abroad101 is the largest publisher of these powerful study abroad testimonials, yet some institutions feel that the system isn’t right for their needs.

To serve the market better we created Abroad201, a combination of software and services that provides a full range of customization and publishing options for your program evaluations.  With Abroad201 you can take those paper-based forms and turn them into meaningful data.  You can manage the publication of some or all of the reviews to wherever you want them displayed and whomever you want them shared with.  You can take the results and turn them into reports, benchmark them as you choose, and greatly enhance your reporting capabilities.

Abroad201 is a cloud-based software program and service with fees that vary depending on the level of service.  Abroad101 is free software that will remain standard in function and purpose.  Pick whichever tools meet your budget and your goals.  If you’re interested in learning more about Abroad201, please visit the new product website and sign up for a presentation call or an online demo.

Talk to us:

For those of you attending NAFSA, please stop by and say hello.  We’ll be at Booth #1133.

Every university has an account on Abroad101.  If you’d like more details on accessing yours with the option of a private online web demo, please contact


Happy Spring!

Mark Shay

Abroad101  /  +1-610-357-4648  /

Abroad101 Providers Derby Results – Winter 2016

Providers Derby 2016

Leading Study Abroad Providers

IES Abroad widened it’s lead plus IFSA-Butler, SOL Education Abroad and CET have moved up in the latest round of the “Abroad101 Providers Derby”, the index of published review volume on Abroad101.  Study Abroad providers are one of the most trusted hosts for American students who want to study abroad and the reviews of these experiences can help reassure you, your parents or academic advisors that a given program is right for you.

At Abroad101 we collect program evaluation/reviews from students and publish them on our study abroad review website.  We also compile the ratings that students give the providers which you can use as an indicator of quality and you’ll see those results in our Study Abroad Rankings.

Organizations that encourage or even require their students to complete reviews understand the value of listening to their customers (students) and using that those testimonials to better inform future students as to what to expect in their programs.  Students use the reviews as a place to not only critique the program, but to describe their discoveries and their growth while abroad so we encourage you to look around for the kind of program than fits your dream.  Click Study Abroad Program Search or any of the provider links below.


International Studies Abroad / ISA





SIT Study Abroad

DIS Study Abroad


API / Academic Programs International


The Education Abroad Network / TEAN

Sol Education Abroad

Boston University

CAPA The Global Education Network

CET Academic Programs

ISEP Exchange

CISabroad / Center for International Studies

The School for Field Studies / SFS


Study Abroad Program Evaluation Software

10 Reasons to use the Abroad101 education abroad assessment system at your university.

Education Advisors, please direct your students to submit their study abroad program evaluation (review) through Abroad101 –

A seldom seen section of the Great Wall of China

If your New Year’s Resolution is to advance education abroad on your campus, Abroad101 gives you 10 reasons why you should turn to us to manage your program evaluations:

1) Reviews are Rankings Nominations – Each review becomes a submission for the Study Abroad Rankings by Abroad101. The eight different star rated categories are compiled to recognize top providers and programs as well as highlight trends in the field like up-and-coming destinations and budget-friendly locations. This year, by popular demand, Top Academic Experience returns to the Study Abroad Rankings.

2) Reviews are Good for the Student – Abroad101 publishes each review as an individual web page and takes the student through 37-questions designed to summarize their experience and give them a point of pride to share with the world and jump start their career.

3) Program Evaluation Software – Abroad101’s systems works behind the scenes as software to manage program evaluations for third-party, exchanges, faculty-led and even internships and service programs for credit. In addition to the standard survey, universities can add custom questions, part of the free version of the software.

4) Reviews are Data – Unlike in-house evaluations, Abroad101’s standard set of questions allow for comparison among program types and against other institutions. By analyzing your trends over time, Abroad101 can help you report better on study abroad.

5) “Re-Entry in a Box” – By requesting or even requiring each student complete their program evaluation through Abroad101, you help students in their transition back to home campus life. The web-based survey takes the average student 20-30 minutes and gets them to focus on being reflective, taking responsibility for their actions, examining who they were before and what their worldview is now.

6) Be Transparent – Publishing the evaluations/reviews demonstrates you are compliant with all aspects of transparency and in today’s review driven economy it is better to put forward more information than less.

7) Set Expectations – Detailed reviews like those on Abroad101 can be used to help parents and advisors get insight into a particular program and destination. In aggregate, these are helpful in setting expectations and better preparing future students and their parents for what’s ahead.

8) Peer Influence – The Abroad101 reviews prompt returning students to give advise to future students on ways to better navigate their surroundings and also a specific question about money saving tips.

9) Integrate with Enrollment System – Abroad101 can be used as a complement to your enrollment management and student information systems. Using API’s, data can transfer between systems, or without much work, the systems can import/export data back and forth.

10) Fully supported – Abroad101 is web-based software that is fairly simple to use and user-friendly, but just in case, we have a team ready to support you. Free training through online demos and ongoing account support is there when you need it. Our founding slogan remains true today – Fast. Free. Easy.


Free Accounts are available for advisors and administrative staff at US colleges and universities. To get started using the Free Education Abroad Program Evaluation software that we call Abroad101, simply send an email to or call us at +1-212-321-0928.


It is harder to study abroad than it is to get admitted to college

education and friendship concept - happy students giving high five at school

What’s wrong with this title?  Unfortunately it is state of study abroad in America today.  For all involved this is not an indictment to their intentions, rather the unfortunate state of the “industry.”  

If you are student, and you’ve encountered the maze of qualifications, pre-approvals and other barriers to study abroad, we feel your pain.  If you are feeling down, helpless there is hope – consider summer study abroad.

If you are an advisor, stuck behind a desk, wrangling with forms, clunky computer systems and byzantine procedures, we feel your pain.  We hope you will read Abroad101 CEO’s article on “How to Fix Study Abroad” and join efforts to make information simpler to navigate, more visible and easier to share.

If you are a study abroad administrator, or leader, we appeal to you to make study abroad more open, accessible and achievable.  In Europe, the Erasmus Program makes it very easy to attend a university in another country, and many do.  Mobility seems to be a key part of university administration and university life.  In the US, we are not making much progress and we hope you’ll take a few minutes, read “How to Fix Study Abroad” and work to make the little things simpler so that we can make the big things easier.

Study Abroad Update from the Middle East

October 2015 –

There is war raging in parts of the Middle East and that has impacted everyone in the region. Those involved in international education face an anxious group of current students and a concerned, if not skeptical group of future students. We thought we’d ask how a few of the universities in the region are coping with the situation. Here’s what they say.

From Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates:

AmericanUniv sharjahThe American University of Sharjah (AUS) enjoys all of the safety and stability that the UAE has to offer.  In contrast to many countries around the world, including the USA, the UAE has experienced very minimal terrorist activity, violent incidents, or property crime.  The country is known for its political stability, careful visa screening policies, and strict security measures. Dusk arrives between 6 and 7 pm throughout the year, and women especially enjoy freedom to walk safely around the city centers after nightfall.  In addition, the UAE maintains one of the most diverse populations in the world, and is tolerant and welcoming to people from various world cultures and religions.

The standalone AUS Campus located within the University City complex is similarly safe and secure, with an on-site Health Clinic (including Ambulance), major teaching hospital located just around the corner, campus-wide security officers on staff at all hours, a special division of the police stationed at the two access gates to campus, and a Police College located just next door.  We send our students to study abroad, often to the USA, and I always find it rather ironic when I have to calm the fears of local parents who worry about sending their students to a place where there are so many campus shootings, etc.!

From Beirut, Lebanon:

AUB life has been safe and thriving, thus no recent announcements in the last 15 months have needed to be made except for health precautions when the university wAmericanUniv-Beirutas closed for the dust storm. When the University needs to communicate an important announcement regarding safety to the AUB community, this information appears on the AUB homepage and is also sent via SMS so that messages are instantly received on users’ (students, faculty & staff) mobile phones.

Most international students, especially visiting international students, take advantage of the weekend trips and events organized by the Office of International Programs (OIP). OIP follows a safety and security protocol for these trips, and it’s been pleasing to learn (and experience!) how much they are enjoyed and taken advantage of by all international students. Furthermore, students are given a number of campus resources to reach out to for informed travel, including suggestions of where not to go. Ultimately all decisions regarding travel to, from, and within Lebanon are personal ones.  Students, families, and schools are encouraged to discuss the security situation in the country and arrive at informed conclusions that satisfy their personal comfort level.

At AUB, we are committed to campus and neighborhood safety, and to be as effective as possible in a crisis situation.  AUB cannot however guarantee political certainty so ultimately whether or not a student decides to attend AUB comes down to personal choice.  AUB receives on average 50 visiting and exchange students per semester and about 22% of its student population is international.

From Dubai, United Arab Emirates:

AmericanUniv DubaiThe economic progress and broad-scale success of Dubai have captured the imagination of the world. Dubai’s booming prosperity and its safe environment attract thousands of visitors every year. At The American University in Dubai (AUD) students live and study on a campus where over 100 nationalities are represented. Every academic year AUD receives over 100 study abroad students who travel comfortably in the region and get fully immersed into its cultural diversity and thus get a unique international exposure. In addition, AUD is located in a very vibrant area of Dubai – Media City, in proximity to Nakheel metro station.

The American University in Dubai ensures that the utmost security and safety measures are taken on its campus at all times. AUD’s Security Office is reachable 24/7 through the Security Supervisor, or the Security Emergency Number; the security guards are present round-the-clock on campus for the sake of the students’ welfare. Students must always be collaborative and present their student AUD ID at the security gates or whenever asked by the security guards inside the campus. AUD security guards have the right to expel from campus or deny entry to students who refuse to present their AUD IDs. All visitors wishing to enter our campus are allowed access either by prior invitation from a member of the AUD community, in which our security team verifies immediately with the concerned AUD member before entry of visitor; or if the visitor wishes to visit our Admissions team, they are allowed access to that department directly, which in all cases they are asked to leave their national ID at the security gates, and are given a visitor’s badge to wear during their stay on campus.

For any emergencies out of our institutions’ control, the security team at AUD involved the Supervisor immediately and contacts Dubai Authorities and Dubai Police for further guidance if needed.

As you can see from each of these accounts, the universities in the region are moving forward with their educational mission and taking precautions to keep their students and international visitors well cared for. As Americans see in the news, tragedy and random violence occurs worldwide and is a concern for us all. The war that rages on in some parts of the Middle East does cast a shadow over daily life in the entire region as well as the world, and at the same time life goes on.

We highlight three universities that openly welcome study abroad students and are committed to bringing a rewarding and worthwhile educational opportunity to future students. Each hopes you will consider spending some time on their campus and experience the best of what they have to offer. Check out what students have to say about their experience by reading the reviews:


At risk of being cliché, we leave you with the widely referenced quote about travel: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
 Mark Twain, Innocents Abroad



Cool Program of the Week – The Advanced Russian Language and Area Studies Program

Interested in a career in Diplomacy? Now is a great time to learn Russian language. RLASP has options at 4 different university settings, can be done undergrad or grad, and fully immerses you in Russian language and culture making it this week’s cool program:


The Advanced Russian Language and Area Studies Program (RLASP) is for undergraduate and graduate students who are committed to improving their Russian language skills.  Designed by experts in linguistics and foreign language acquisition, RLASP has a 40 year proven track record of helping students maximize their Russian language gain.  This is done by providing:

•Expert Russian faculty with decades of experience teaching foreigners Russian
•Small group sizes between 3 – 6 participants  which allows for more individualized attention
•20 hours per week of in-class Russian language instruction
•Opportunities for students to audit Russian classes
•Academic year students with the option to write a substantive research paper in Russian
•Monitoring and evaluation of the program through rigorous pre and post-program testing
•Experienced and dedicated US and local staff who provide academic, personal, and logistical support

Students can select to study at Moscow International University, the Russian State Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg, or the KORA Center for Russian Language in Vladimir.  In the fall of 2014, American Councils also launched a new location at Kazakh National University in Almaty, Kazakhstan for students who wish to study Russian in an immersion environment but are unable to travel to Russia due to funding restrictions or other concerns.
RLASP also provides numerous opportunities for students to engage with Russian culture outside of the classroom.  Key components of the cultural program include:

The academic and cultural components combine to give students all of the tools necessary to make huge gains in both Russian language and understanding of Russian culture.  Upon successful completion of the program students receive university credit from Bryn Mawr College.  In addition to Russian language, students also receive Bryn Mawr credit in either history or political science.

Abroad101 Advisors Newsletter – Fall 2015


We know it’s a hectic time of year, so we thank you for taking a few minutes to think about broader issues like using Abroad101 to advance study abroad on your campus.  As we begin our 9th year of serving American college study abroad, we continue to enhance the features, improve the directory content and bring innovation to the field.  Here’s how:

Abroad101 is Free Software

The Abroad101 software is online, “cloud based”, so you never to worry about updates or backing up your data.  Abroad101 is program evaluation software that gives your students the means to tell their story and share it with the world.  Unlike websites that grab quick sound byte testimonials, Abroad101’s “re-entry in a box” is designed to draw an insightful student expose of their time abroad.  When students take the time and effort to produce good work it becomes a point of pride AND social media.  As its own webpage you have now given the student a lasting testimonial of their time away and the resulting transformation.  These evaluations are great for future advising and orientations and great for the returning students.  The service is offered free to American colleges and universities, supported by advertising from program providers and foreign universities eager to reach future students.

Got Graphs? – Study Abroad Reporting

Abroad101 provides each university pie chart graphs showing how their students compare to Abroad101 averages.  The graphs show overall satisfaction with the education abroad experience plus ratings on Academics, Program Administration, Housing, Food, Social Integration, Health Care, Safety, and Cost of Living.  Take a screen shot, copy and paste these into presentation slides and impress your Provost!

Re-entry in 37 Questions (or more)

The standard evaluation/review is 37 questions, some Yes/No answers, some ratings and some open-ended essay prompts. The questions are designed and sequenced to guide a student through the entirety of their experience away, helping them be reflective, offer constructive criticism, list accomplishments and offer forward thinking statements.  The standard set allows for an apples-to-apples comparison both on the front end (website for future students, parents) and back-end (data for downloading and analyzing).  If you need more data points, Abroad101 allows additional “University Added Questions.”  These custom questions are not displayed to the public and can help you justify the Abroad101 platform as your official program evaluation tool and help to consolidate your student surveying. 

Reviews of Exchange Programs

Abroad101’s evaluation tool works great with third-party providers, faculty-led and exchange programs.  Each foreign university has a catch-all “Direct Enrollment & Exchange” listing where students from all over the country will submit reviews of direct enrollment, consortia exchanges or bi-lateral exchange programs, all through this one listing.  It’s a great place for your students to see the benefits of these programs and for students to share those with the world when they return.

The Abroad101 Pre-approved/Recommended Programs Feature

For universities who use a pre-approved programs list or recommend programs to their students, Abroad101 offers an easy way to show those choices to students searching on the site.  When a student logs in to Abroad101, they will see your recommendations highlighted with an approved icon.  They also have the option to view only the pre-approved programs in any directory or only view programs that have been reviewed by students from their home university.  The pre-approved programs are easy to manage using your account dashboard.  If you’d prefer we maintain them for you, simply email and identify the source of your approved programs list (web links, spreadsheet or other document) and our team will take care of this for you.

Summer and Faculty-led Programs

Abroad101 has over 4,500 faculty-led/university-run programs listed. Some universities use Abroad101 to manage those program evaluations/reviews and to draw future students.  We welcome the submission of programs that are either open to outside students or restricted to your own.   Managing these requires a free “providers” account on Abroad101, which you can request from   You’ll still get the benefit of the apples-to-apples comparison of the resulting reviews, plus be able to engage students from other institutions. 

Abroad101 is a Free Directory, now with “Search by Subject”

Released earlier in the year, the Abroad101 Search by Subject directories are filling out nicely as the program providers update their listings and add their course areas.  This is a great tool for advisors as students who are looking for courses outside their major can come to Abroad101 and search from the more than 350 subject areas to find a program just for them: semester, summer or even shorter term:

Free Software from AbroadOffice

If you are looking for a cloud-based study abroad enrollment management system, we would invite you to consider AbroadOffice, free software from our sister company.  You use Abroad101 for the program evaluations, and AbroadOffice for the rest!  Learn more about AbroadOffice and schedule a web demo by visiting The Global Learning Cloud

Don’t Worry, We’re Here to help

Our company slogan remains: Fast. Free. Easy. We like to think that the system is self-explanatory and our processes are intuitive, but just in case, we’re here to help.  If you’d like a demo of the system or assistance in setting it up, don’t hesitate to contact us.  Support is Free too.

For those that don’t connect with us online, we look forward to meeting you at these upcoming conferences later in the semester: IIE Generation Study Abroad Summit, NAFSA Region XI, VIII and V.


Happy Fall!

Mark Shay





Abroad101 Provider Newsletter – August 2015

Abroad101-reviews-logo-webIt’s the exciting back to school time.  For Abroad101 we start to see a surge in traffic and program inquires as students return to campus.  Thanks to the providers who have updated and fine-tuned your listings.  For the others, there’s still time for those last minute updates.  The following is an update as to what’s new with Abroad101 for Fall 2015.

It’s All About the Reviews:

Abroad101 is known as the Trip Advisor for Study Abroad because we were the first study abroad review website.  Today we host the largest collection of program reviews, in part because a number of colleges and universities use Abroad101 as their program evaluation software.  Abroad101’s software gives university administrators a nice set of tools including:

  • ability to manage the publishing of reviews
  • capacity to add custom questions
  • measure their students’ results against other universities
  • generate performance reports
  • export reviews for further analysis

There are also new tools to encourage integration of the reviews into enrollment management software, making the Abroad101 platform an integral part of study abroad.

We have started expanding the utility of Abroad101 as the program evaluation tool for providers of programs as well.  Providers have always been encouraged to invite reviews and that has generated a sampling of student responses.  With the added provider access to the tools, we hope to see more organizations embrace the Abroad101 system and standard set of review questions.  Students have long complained that they are over-surveyed, however by combining the university and advisor process, you can help reduce the survey fatigue that exists today.  If you are interested in exploring how your organization can utilize Abroad101 for its “Re-entry in a Box” please contact:

What is the Perfect Review?

This is the million-dollar question that contains components of marketing, outcomes assessment, customer satisfaction, alumni relations and student success.  Add the issues around transparency and shifts in technology and you get the dilemma that exists today.  Students today, who are less responsive to email than they were before, instead communicate with their mobile devices and social media.  The interest in “being heard” through a survey is fading as just about every transaction that occurs for a student today is followed by a survey prompt, often with promises of reward (sweepstakes, reward points, etc.) 

At Abroad101, we have found that the best reviews are when the review is more about the student than the program.  “Reviews are good for the student” is a theme we push to advisors, emphasizing that the Abroad101 is simply a template for the student to build a showcase for their discoveries and successes while abroad, their place to shine.  When reviews like this come through, they reflect well on the program and give future students and parents what they want, a glimpse into what to expect from study abroad, and a particular program.  That becomes a powerful statement about the program and when combined with similar sentiments, can reassure folks who are skeptical at the one-sided picture painted by promotional brochures, websites and presentations.

This means that the reviews with the most impact aren’t perfect.  In fact, we see that reviews that aren’t perfect draw the most clicks.  Since people come to a review website to move toward a decision, it is the candor that can move a family toward final approval.  We suggest alumni ambassadors and other advocating participants read “why imperfection is ideal.” 

Revisions to the Display Algorithm:

To deal with older reviews and to recognize the importance of new review volume, we have adjusted the algorithm that drives the display order of our Free Listings.  You will notice that in the program listings, reviews older than 2012 have had the date removed and simply say “Past Review” We have revised the sort order so that these reviews no longer impact page positioning.  We have also given added weight to the count of recent reviews to encourage the submission of more candid reviews and decreased the impact of a 5.0 overall review score.

Student Inquiries:

As a reminder, the primary mechanism for prospective students to interact with providers is through Abroad101’s inquiry form.  When you get an inquiry from Abroad101, you will notice a “lead type” in the message.  These are:

  • Favorite – student tags your listing as one to consider later, not a formal inquiry 
  • RMI – the standard Request More Information inquiry
  • Apply – student states they want to apply for the program listed.

Often people will visit review sites to do further research, so when you get an inquiry marked Apply there is a reasonable chance that that student is already known to you and has come to a decision to apply to the program while on Abroad101.  Please don’t view these as duplicate leads, instead think of them as conversions.

For those of you who advertise, expect to see a further increase in inquiry volume as Abroad101 implements its new LeadMatch process.  LeadMatch is a new feature that gives students three additional programs to consider after they have sent an inquiry to a non-advertised program.  These additional programs are drawn from our pool of advertised programs, matching on city, country and/or subject.  It’s modeled after the popular recommendation feature on sites like  There is nothing you need to do to implement this, but please do make sure that your listings are updated to include the academic subject areas so that your programs can match as often as possible.

Added Benefits of Advertising:

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.  Featured Listings start at $500/year and we offer generous volume discounts for multiple programs and display advertising. 

For directories with more than 10 ads, we recently adjusted the Featured Listing display so that ads now appear in groups of 5 instead of 3, separated by blocks of 12 Free Listings.  For Featured Listings yet to receive a review, we removed the resulting “0 star” icon to help improve click through rates.  Some advertisers are choosing to have their new programs also link to their website when no reviews are present, an option for our advertisers.

Abroad101’s Social Media channels are a hit with students and their followers, as a solid stream of review highlights and program boosts flow through these channels.  The reviews highlighted in Abroad101’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels are those of advertisers.  Our Social Media editor uses attention-grabbing comments from reviews of our advertisers and turns them into click-drawing posts 6-10 times a day.  We encourage you to re-tweet, like and tag these as favorites to help add impact to this bonus.

Also for advertisers, Abroad101 has API’s that push inquiries and reviews directly into your CRM or student data systems. This means no data entry errors and fast “speed to lead” response time, which is why you should explore pushing leads directly into your CRM with the Lead API.  Viewing the review as a program evaluation adds a nice dimension to your CRM or student records platform. 

Download our Ad Guide for more details. 

As Seen on Abroad101:

As you visit with students and campus partners in the upcoming year we hope you will incorporate Abroad101 in your marketing.  Whether it’s awards from the rankings, badges from the Abroad101 program widget or simply links to the program pages, references to content about your programs on Abroad101 can help provide reassurance to prospective students and advisors.  We estimate that 20-25% of our traffic comes from parents and reviews can go a long way to win their endorsement.  Like the iconic “As Seen on TV” logo brings credibility to retail products, we hope you will recognize that references to being seen on Abroad101 will help bring added recognition to your education abroad program.

We’re Listening!

Much of the development and progress on Abroad101 has come from your suggestions and feedback.  If we’re not doing something you want, let us know.  If we’re exceeding your expectations, please let us know as well.  We’re ready and eager to help.

Happy Fall!

Mark Shay





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Abroad101 Provider Newsletter – Early Summer 2015

Abroad101-reviews-logo-webLike many who exhibited at NAFSA, we are energized by the show of support and growth in awareness that comes from the Exhibit Hall spotlight.  We handed out nearly 1,000 T-Shirts and the message of Free Program Evaluation Software rang through to many study abroad advisors and administrators in attendance.  In case you missed the latest news, here’s an update on Abroad101 for those of you who offer education abroad programs to American students.

New Subject of Study Portals

In May we released subject area portals, dedicated directories of study abroad programs in over 400 academic disciplines.  Students and Advisors can now easily find academic focused programs in subjects ranging from Accounting to Zoology.  The subject areas are organized using the US Department of Education’s CIP codes (Classification for Instructional Programming), a first for the study abroad field.  The CIP taxonomy has very specific fields of study rolled up into more general categories.  As a program provider, we encourage you to update your program listings and add the relevant fields of study.  We also suggest you pick carefully as students in this area are looking for specific courses, and in many cases looking to fulfill a course requirement.  Please note these should refer to the subject area taught, not the students’ academic majors.

Please Update/Edit Your Free Listings

Your account dashboard also lets you edit the contents of your program listings on Abroad101. We encourage you to use the friendly format to update your listings this summer and add subjects as well as engaging content.  If you need to have program titles changed, locations edited, or host universities added, our quality control process requires this be made from our end.  Our crew is ready and happy to help you with these; please send those details by email to

Add Scholarships to Your Listings

Another item in the providers account dashboard is the “Scholarships Available” tool that allows you to add scholarships to your listings.  You’ll find this on the left side of your dashboard, under “Provider.”  You can list multiple scholarships and link these directly to the scholarships page on your website.  The scholarships you enter will appear under the “Financial Aid” tab of the matching program listing(s) on Abroad101.  Please note that the Scholarships Available option is not part of the account dashboard for foreign universities.  Foreign universities should include mention of any scholarship options in the general description of their listing.

Review Your Reports:

As part of your account dashboard, on the lower left side, you will find a few report options.  “Graphs” tallies the star ratings submitted by students in their reviews and allows for some comparison of your program against all others, as well as by country. These categories include: overall, academics, program administration, housing, food, social integration, heath care, safety and cost of living. The resulting pie charts can be copied and pasted into your management reports and provide some added insight into how students perceive your programs.

Bring Advisors on Board

Advisors are a key component in Abroad101’s marketing and are responsible for bringing the vast majority of reviews to Abroad101.  As a provider, you can help this process by generating student reviews at the colleges in which you have a strong following. Here are a couple of ways to see how a university performs for you:

  • University Name in Review Summary: For Provider organizations, find your program summary listing all your programs.  Under the tab that says “Study Abroad Reviews” you will see a summary of all your reviews.  There you will also see the home university of the reviewer identified.  For Foreign Universities, find your “Direct Enrollment and Exchange” listing and you’ll see the university name in the review summaries. 
  • University Pages on Abroad101: Each home university also has a summary page.  Use the search box at the top right of the site to find universities where you think you should be well represented.
  • Pre-Approvals List: In your account dashboard (log into Abroad101), at the bottom left is a report called “University Approvals” which will indicate which universities using Abroad101 have selected which of your programs in their pre-approved programs list.

Once you know how well your key universities engage with Abroad101, please contact us about engaging them further.  Together we can bring Abroad101 into their process and help them use the tools to help draw more reviews, more visibility, and ultimately more students to study abroad.

Utilize the Program Widget

For programs that look especially appealing on Abroad101’s website, we recommend that you use the Abroad101 program widget to share your results. The Program Widget creates a badge-like graphic for your website that includes a star-rating icon and a link to the reviews.  There is no cost to use the Program Widget and it is easy to install as a photo.  Add the widget it to your website and directories and encourage staff to add it to their blog sites.  Hopefully you’ll get your partner universities to install it on their websites too!  Create your widget by adding your program name and the width of the resulting graphic, click here to start  Then follow the instructions to add it to the websites of your choice.  There’s no limit to the number of sites/pages that can display that code, so add this to your list of summer projects!

Targeted Advertising

As you have hopefully seen, the strength of Abroad101 is in its detail.  Most site visitors are in the middle of their selection process, and use the wealth of content to research and set the expectations of the students and their families that support them. We estimate that 20-25% of our traffic comes from parents who often use the search term “reviews” along with program/provider/city names.  Reaching students, parents, and advisors deeper in the process means inquiries that come from Abroad101 are much more likely to enroll.  Advertising on Abroad101 can influence the final decision, as the impressions that come through in the research phase of program selection may well be the ones that trigger the decision to apply.  Remember: when you see “App” in the inquiry type, this means a student has checked the box that says “I want to apply to this program.”  This may not only be a strong lead, but may also be a conversion of a student you already know.

As you enter into your new budgets and marketing plans for the upcoming year, think of using Abroad101 by program.  If you have programs that need a boost, consider advertising them above the others.  Small and special focus programs, for example, often do well on Abroad101. With the new subject portals included at no added cost, you have even more reasons to include more of Abroad101 in your advertising budget.  We can customize a campaign to meet any budget; please download our ad guide and contact to get started.

Alumni Job Board and Abroad101’s career initiatives

Abroad101 enthusiastically supports efforts to raise the number of students studying abroad and we believe strongly that a well-written, thoughtful, and insightful review can also help students jump-start their career.  Many of you are aware of the Linkedin Group we manage called The Study Abroad Advantage. If you haven’t done so yet, please direct your alumni and alumni relations contacts to this group.  As another step to help ensure that study abroad will be an advantage for students during their career search, we created the first job board dedicated to study abroad alumni. In addition to a range of jobs that may interest these students, the Study Abroad Alumni Job Board highlights positions that REQUIRE a study abroad experience.  We hope that when you are looking to hire, you’ll post your positions on the site:

Happy Summer!


Mark Shay / CEO




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