Abroad101’s Advisor Newsletter Winter 2018

Thanks for taking a few minutes to check-in with Abroad101.  Now in our 10th year, Abroad101 continues to be the only website focused on capturing the impact of international education through student-generated reviews.  For those of you who use our system, this is a reminder to send invites to your recent returnees.  For those of you considering new ways to raise awareness of study abroad participation, Abroad101 is here to help.

What Are Study Abroad Reviews?

  • Reviews are Published Program Evaluations
  • Reviews are Testimonials
  • Reviews are Points of Pride
  • Reviews are Social Media
  • Reviews are Popular

When students publish their program evaluations they become reviews, and when they are on Abroad101, they also become Social Media.  As Social Media, these first-hand accounts of experiences abroad becomes a great point-of-pride for students.  They become powerful reference material for future students and parents.  As social media, reviews have many uses, enabling:

  • Universities to promote study abroad to their own students
  • Students to research programs and view first-hand accounts from their peers
  • Parents to set their expectations
  • Advisors to keep informed of outcomes and student satisfaction
  • University Administrators to gather data.

Students are encouraged to share their finished review with their friends, family and other students.  Students are also prompted to include their review in their Linkedin profiles and to reference the review in cover letters and grad school applications.  The ability to include photos and writing samples can boost the pride a student takes in their review.  Each day, Abroad101 reviews are fed into Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets by our editor, school advisors and students.  Sharing further spreads their impact. 

Make Public Your Program Evaluations

We encourage you to take the leap 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 and with Abroad101, you can do this for free.  What brings so many reviews online, is the full-feature software that Abroad101 provides to universities.

Take a look at a few of our Best Practice Leaders:

Institutions like these trust Abroad101 as their program evaluation partner.  Abroad101 is a time-tested, integral part of the study aboard experience at our partner schools.  The Abroad101 team provides training and support for any issues that may arise in the process and we’d welcome being a more integral part of the education abroad experience at your institution.

Make a Review a Re-entry Exercise

Even if your school has an existing evaluation system in place for returning study abroad students, we hope you’ll still consider the student’s point of view and incorporate a study abroad review as part of a student-focused re-entry exercise.  The rationale goes as follows: 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 in future encounters as the student moves toward their next steps in life.  Showing they can express their emotions, in a published format is a big step forward and a reason to complete a review.  With a great sample of their writing 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.

Why Abroad101?

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.   They can add photos and turn their review into a point of pride, a capstone to their education abroad experience.

It’s for Faculty-led and Exchange Programs Too:

Abroad101 is happy to list your faculty-led programs in our system.  For your exchange partners, we have a catch-all “Direct Enrollment & Exchange” listing for every university abroad.  You are welcome to use Abroad101 for each of these types of programs in addition to the students on third-party programs and foreign schools.

Let us show you how.

We’re happy to provide you with a tour of the Abroad101 software, its features, advantages and benefits.  Please contact us for a 20-30 introductory walk through of the site and the system that manages is.  As we’ve been saying for 10 years – Its fast, free, easy!

Abroad101 remains free program evaluation software due to the support of our advertisers.  Many study abroad providers and foreign universities and schools pay for advertising in our directories of programs and that keeps us in business.  We thank them, and you for the opportunity to help enhance the field of international education.

Best wishes,

Mark Shay,

CEO / Abroad101

+1-212-321-0928

mark@abroad101.com

http://www.StudyAbroad101.com

Abroad101’s Advisor Newsletter Fall 2017

We know you’re heading into a busy time of year, so we thank you for taking a few minutes to think about broader issues like using reviews to advance study abroad on your campus.  As we celebrate 10 years of serving American college study abroad, Abroad101 and our study abroad reviews are as popular as ever.  The best news is that Abroad101 is still free for schools and going strong.

Have You Seen Your Students’ Study Abroad Reviews 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, host institution and also in portals for each home school.  As of today, 31,963 student reviews are on Abroad101 making it the largest source of study abroad stories.  Visit the site, enter your school name in the search box in the top menu bar and see what your students have to say!

Moms & Dads Use Abroad101

The target audience for Abroad101 is American college students looking for a semester, summer or short-term abroad.  We list third-party, exchanges and faculty-led programs.  Parents of prospective study abroad students are 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 keyword “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 on what lies ahead.  We hope you’ll mention Abroad101 Reviews in your parent communication and put a link to Abroad101 on your website to better prepare all.

How to Get Students to Write 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.  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! Think of a review as social media for study abroad and a place for students to showcase their story and talk about themselves.  Our time-test review questions will do the rest.

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.

Using Abroad101 as Free Program Review Software:

A number of schools use Abroad101 as their official program evaluation software because it is designed to draw an insightful student account of their time abroad.  These evaluations are also great for future advising and orientations.  The service is offered free to American colleges and universities, supported by advertising from program providers and foreign universities. The software offers:

  • Capability to approve/disapprove reviews
  • Invite Tool to improve participation
  • Graphs and Reports to tally student responses
  • Manage an approved programs list
  • Option to list faculty-led programs or in-house programs of your choosing
  • Compare your results against others
  • Add custom questions to the standard review

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.

Check-out the other “TripAdvisor for Study Abroad”

We recently came across a cool app for students to use while abroad.  It compiles the favorite restaurants, things to do, towns, and more from US study abroad students.  Read more about the Rayka App

Happy Fall!

 

Abroad101 News for Advisors – January 2017

As Abroad101 begins its 10th Year, we’d like to say Happy New Year and thanks.  Thanks to the many advisors who use reviews to assist students in finding programs and setting expectations.  Thanks to the many administrators who require their students to submit reviews as their official program evaluation; and thanks to program providers and foreign host institutions who buy the ads that keep the service free.  Here’s to the next 10 years!

It is 2017: When did you Last Update your Evaluation Process?

Programs will often have a process where they engage the students in a final day evaluation exercise.  Taking it one step further, and pushing the student to publish their evaluation as part of the re-entry process is something that helps everyone.  Using the review as the student’s official personal statement can turn the bland evaluation into a dynamic point of pride.  It’s a productive re-entry exercise when the student can put their feelings into words and describe their discoveries, growth, maturity and overall gains made while abroad.  Abroad101’s 38-question review is an effective 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.  We have others.

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 scan your reviews and allow you to take a big step to modernize your evaluation process.

Using Abroad101’s Dashboard Tools for Benchmarking:

Having summary date is good, using it to measure progress is even better.  Millsaps College has long used Abroad101 as the evaluation tool for its faculty-led programs and recently their SIO provided a copy of the report he used in their regional (SACS) accreditation.  In it, he described how he used Abroad101 and our “Graphs” report.  Here are a couple of excerpts:

“Prior to using Abroad101, the OIE used its own personal evaluation system. This was, for one, a very time-consuming and labor-intensive process for the already strapped staff. But more importantly: in order to more accurately compare statistics with overall study abroad experiences, to compare provider programs with Millsaps faculty­leds, and to more easily collect and interpret data, the OIE has decided to use Abroad101 as its evaluation source.”

“Perhaps most importantly, partnering with Abroad101 allows us to send comprehensive assessment/evaluations to our returned study abroad student, while minimizing the work for our extremely small office by streamlining the evaluation process for us. They also provide easy-to-use tools to assess the data from the completed evaluations.”

Each advisor account on Abroad101 has a graphs report.  You’ll find it on the left side of your account dashboard, toward the bottom of the tool list.  Click to generate a graph of one of the following ratings categories: Overall, Academics, Program Administration, Housing, Food, Social integration, Health Care, Safety. Cost of Living.  You’ll also see how your students rate against the 30,000 reviews across Abroad101.

Connecting Reviews to your Enrollment or CRM System

We have been working to get Abroad101’s process of program evaluation and our set of questions as a standard part of everyone’s study abroad.  The students give us a lot of data that a number of institutions are using in their analysis and management of education abroad.   Abroad101 is set up to pass that data to you in several ways:

  • The “Graphs” tool mentioned above also compares in more depth for program operators/providers.
  • “Export to Excel” function that creates a spreadsheet with all of the data collected in each review, including any custom fields that you have added.
  • “API” is a computer system linkage that allows your system to dynamically pull the review in using a unique API key and the review serial numbers.

The Power of the Review Serial Number

The Export and API functions are even more powerful when this data can get tied to the student’s account in your enrollment system.  Key to this linking is the Abroad101 review serial number.  Each Abroad101 review gets a unique serial number and if you enter that serial number after “/reviews/” it will redirect to the full program link.  As an example, serial # 29619 can be viewed here http://www.studyabroad101.com/reviews/29619

If the advisor or the student enters the serial number into your student information system, you can forever refer to the review.  We recently posted an article with one creative way the serial number can be utilized in Terra Dotta Software and similar systems.

Review them ALL – Faculty-led, Exchange and Third-Party!

Abroad101 allows you to manage program evaluations for each type of study abroad program, or them all.  For example, Abroad101 has more than 1,900 foreign universities listed on the site, each with a listing for direct enroll & exchange.  Through Abroad101 your students can review any of the 4,000 third-party programs or if you’d like, we can add your own to the 4,200 faculty-led/university-run programs in the directory.  University-run programs listed on Abroad101 even have the option to be listed as home-students-only which means they will be listed as closed to outside students.  You will still get all the advantages of Abroad101’s reporting, data collection and the publishing tool for students to generate insightful, powerful and career-boosting testimonials of their experience abroad.

It all Starts with an Invitation

To get any of these projects going, you do need reviews and the best way to get reviews is to invite, or require your students to submit one.  It has been our experience that students won’t take the time to review a program unless told to do so.  You can encourage them, offer them incentive, insist a published testimonial will be a good jump start to their careers, or tell them it’s required, but tell them something to make these tools work for you.  Direct or link them to the program page on Abroad101 where they will find a “Write a Review” icon or have them start here: http://www.studyabroad101.com/reviews/new

In the End, Reviews are Good for the Students

Student reviews will be published on the Abroad101 website and each will become its own webpage.  This creates a great place to feature experiences and use those experiences to open doors to a future career.  Employers are looking for people with an international background and a review on Abroad101 is a perfect place to jump-start career searches.  We suggest that you encourage students to think of a review as a writing sample, a chance to showcase who they really are.  A well written review can show future employers and other recruiters that the student can be constructive in their criticism, take responsibility for outcomes, be reflective and be forward thinking.  Students should state their new worldview and use the review as a place to shine.  If there are a couple pictures of community involvement or doing good deeds, this helps to really separate them from the pack.

Thanks for taking the time to explore Abroad101 a little further.  We’d welcome a chance to further demonstrate the system through a web demo.  If you are interested, please contact us to schedule a session or with any questions you have about your account.

Abroad101, THE Study Abroad Review Website.  Since 2007, Abroad101 is Fast. Free. Easy.

 

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 

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: http://www.StudyAbroad101.com/reviews/new

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 support@abroad101.com

 

Happy Spring!

Mark Shay

Abroad101  /  +1-610-357-4648  /  mark@abroad101.com

www.StudyAbroad101.com

Abroad101 Advisors Newsletter – Winter 2016

Abroad101-reviews-logo-web

Please take a moment to remember 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 guide your decision?  If these small decisions were influenced by reviews, then we’re sure you’ll be interested in how something as unknown as an education abroad experience needs reviews.  Since 2007, Abroad101 has been helping universities manage the demand for reviews by turning the old-style program evaluation into a dynamic online review platform.  We’ve processed over 3,000 new study abroad reviews from just the last semester with more coming every day.  Abroad101 has pioneered the responsible use of reviews to complement university goals and in this edition of our advisor’s newsletter we take a look at reviews in the bigger picture.

The Best Reviews are About the Student

For students, study abroad is hard, the rewards are personal and telling their story is a big part of the process. Abroad101 helps universities collect student accounts of their time abroad and publishes them as reviews and personal points of pride.  A study abroad review is different than a restaurant review or that of a retail transaction as the best reviews are ones that focus on the student.  A good study abroad review is reflective, heart-felt and tells about the student’s growth and discoveries, even states the student’s worldview and views for the future. 

The reward for a good study abroad review is a lasting testimonial, one the student will take pride in sharing with you the advisor, their friends and family.  Please don’t feel it is necessary to pay or otherwise entice reviews through rewards or a sweepstakes.  This mentality cheapens the value of the student’s work and can sway students to be less than honest in order to improve their chances of “winning.” When you direct students to submit a study abroad review through Abroad101, the essential messages that you are sending are to share their experience with the world and take pride in those accomplishments.

Re-Entry in a Box

The Abroad101 review is 37 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.  As an advisor, you can manage this process by using the Abroad101 tools and then tally those responses in reports.

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 37 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.

The vast majority of students who study abroad have an overwhelmingly positive experience, which is reflected in the reviews.  Those that struggle and report negative things will actually help future students prepare and set their expectations.  We hope you’ll bring these reviews to the attention of future students so that they can put things in perspective.  Costs in London are high, academics at Oxford are hard, petty crime is rampant in Paris and the food in Ghana is, well, … different.  Knowing these things before a student goes away may make a big difference in how they prepare.  As advisors you discuss these issues over and over, but with reviews the students are learning from their peers and for the schools that require reviews of their students, the peer advising affect seems to really help.

Please encourage your students to read the reviews as part of their pre-departure preparation and push them to be candid in their reviews when they return.  Students can start their review at http://www.StudyAbroad101.com/reviews/new

Transparency vs. Exposure and Risk

The concept of transparency is another reason universities turn to Abroad101. They want every story to be told and they want to capture the student’s voice in their promotion of education abroad.  The publication of these evaluations does worry some, fearing that unpleasant experiences will chase away future students.  We have this discussion daily with university officials and Abroad101 strongly believes 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 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 forefront of this issue.  Publishing shows integrity and may well mitigate your 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 can compare it to students from other universities.  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 against your own students (semester by semester) and all other institutions.  Those that use Abroad101 for their faculty-led programs can even compare, program by program against other programs operating in the same country.  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.

Publish or Perish

Faculty members often say they have to publish to stay noticed and relevant in their field.  We suggest that same guiding principle is needed for your study abroad offices.  In today’s consumer-focused, review-driven economy, reviews are key and those universities that don’t subscribe to this practice risk alienating their core constituency.  You may be using some other way to collect your evaluations and assessments, but if you are not publishing them, you are missing a big opportunity.  The Abroad101 software can provide you with the tools to manage this process reliably and effectively and at a cost that can’t be beat.

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

You can use Abroad101 for third-party programs, exchanges, faculty-led programs plus service learning and internships for credit.  Programs can be overseas or can include “study away” domestic programs as well.

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.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

 

Mark Shay

Abroad101

+1-610-357-4648

mark@abroad101.com

http://www.StudyAbroad101.com

 

Follow Abroad101 on Social Media:

Facebook | Twitter |  Pinterest | Instagram | Linkedin

 

Abroad101 Advisors Newsletter – Fall 2015

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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 support@abroad101.com 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 support@abroad101.com.   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: http://www.studyabroad101.com/subjects

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

CEO

Abroad101

+1-610-357-4648

mark@abroad101.com

http://www.StudyAbroad101.com

 

Abroad101 Advisor Newsletter Summer 2015

Abroad101-reviews-logo-webHappy Summer from Abroad101,

With students overseas or off-campus during the summer months, most study abroad offices are quiet, which gives staff a window to tackle some strategic projects.  We hope one of these projects will be deeper integration with the free tools and services offered by Abroad101.  In this newsletter we’ll provide some insight into the Abroad101 software and ways in which you might use it to advance study abroad on your campus.

Re-entry in a Box:

Before jumping into the nuts & bolts of the system, please take a minute to think about Abroad101 as a method/vehicle to guide student re-entry from their time away.  Some colleges use the Abroad101 system as their official program evaluation platform. 

The Abroad101 survey offers a review of the entire study away experience in ways that encourage the student to think and write reflectively while providing criticism and praise to multiple of aspects of their program.  Students have a chance to take responsibility for their actions, give a sense of who they were before they went and who they think they are now. 

While technically evaluating a program, ultimately the reviewer is offering a testimonial to their personal growth and achievement.  This in turn speaks as much to the success of a program as the star ratings that accompany their review.  Colleges can also add their own questions to the 37-question standard survey if they feel something more specific needs to be included in the evaluation.

Reviews Help Students/Parents Prepare for Study Abroad

Reviews are often used for a variety of reasons, including researching program selection and to help set expectations.  For future students and their families, the reviews from previous students provide good insight as to what to expect and situations to be aware of.  That’s why a number of advisors use Abroad101 reviews in pre-departure orientation exercises and we’ve even heard of some program managers using reviews as part of their arrival orientation (think first postings to new student Facebook groups.) 

With this in mind, adding links from your program webpages to Abroad101 program listings can help your study abroad community better prepare.  Abroad101 gives each program its own web page and we welcome your link to it.  Find the program here and copy the link for your website.

Another option is to link to your university profile that lists pre-approved/recommended programs and all the reviews generated by study abroad alumni from your university.  Every university has a profile on Abroad101 and you have the ability to update and manage it.  Use the search box at the top of any page on Abroad101 to find your university profile.  If you need access to this portal, please contact support@abroad101.com

Abroad101’s widgets allow content from the reviews to be displayed on your website.  We have a University Widget that works in conjunction with your pre-approved list and a Program Widget that creates a badge like graphic for a single program.  No contract or paperwork required, just use the tool, copy the code and install it on your website or as an addition to your own program search in your directory system.

Abroad101 Program Widget

Abroad101 University Widget

Connecting Reviews to your Enrollment or CRM System

We have been pushing to get Abroad101’s process of program evaluation and our set of questions as a standard part of everyone’s study abroad.  The students give us a lot of data that a growing number of institutions are using in their analysis and management of education abroad.   Abroad101 is set up to pass that data to you in several ways:

  1. “Graphs” tool in your account dashboard compares the scores of the individual ratings questions.  You can see how your students do against 24,000 other study abroad reviews. 
  2. “Export to Excel” function that creates a spreadsheet with all of the data collected in each review, including any custom fields that you have added.
  3. “API” is a computer system linkage that allows your system to dynamically pull the review in.  Your programmers use the unique API key and the review serial number to get the review pulled into your systems.

The Power of the Review Serial Number:

The Export and API functions are even more powerful when this data can get tied to the student’s account in your computer system.  Key to this linking is the Abroad101 review serial number.  Each Abroad101 review gets its own serial number and if you enter that serial number after “/reviews/” it will redirect to the full program link.  For a recent review, serial # 29619 can be viewed here http://www.studyabroad101.com/reviews/29619

If the advisor or the student enters the serial number into your student information system, you can forever refer to the review.  We recently posted an article with one creative way the serial number can be utilized in Terra Dotta Software and similar systems.

Review them all – Faculty-led, Exchange and Third-Party!

Abroad101 allows you to manage program evaluations for each type of study abroad program, or them all.  For example, Abroad101 has more than 1,700 foreign universities listed on the site, each with a catch-all listing for your outbound exchange students.  Through Abroad101 your students can review any of the 4,000 third-party programs or if you’d like, we can add your own to the 4,500 faculty-led/university-run programs in the directory.  University-run programs listed on Abroad101 even have the option to be listed as home-students-only which means they will be listed as closed to outside students, yet you get all the advantages of Abroad101’s reporting, data collection and the publishing tool for students to generate insightful, powerful and career-boosting testimonials of their experience abroad.  Since 2007, Abroad101 is Fast. Free. Easy.

It all Starts with an Invitation

To get any of these projects going, you do need reviews and the best way to get reviews is to invite or require your students to submit one.  It has been our experience that students won’t take the time to review a program unless told to do so.  You can encourage them, offer them incentive, insist a published testimonial will be a good jump start to their careers, or tell them it’s required, but tell them something to make these tools work for you.  Direct or link them to the program page on Abroad101 where they will find a “Write a Review” icon or have them start here: http://www.studyabroad101.com/reviews/new

Contact Us:

As the summer progresses we hope you won’t hesitate to contact us with any requests or questions.  We welcome the chance to present our system to you in a web demo or though a telephone conference call, please send those requests to support@abroad101.com.

Thanks for your referrals and support and best wishes for a Happy Summer!

 

Mark Shay

CEO / Abroad101

+1-610-357-4648

mark@abroad101.com

http://www.StudyAbroad101.com

Follow Abroad101 on Social Media:

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Abroad101 Advisors Newsletter Spring 2015

Abroad101-reviews-logo-webGreetings from Abroad101,

As the spring semester wraps up and thoughts turn to program evaluations/reviews, we wanted to reconnect and give you an update on the happenings at Abroad101.

What is Abroad101?

Abroad101 provides many services to many people, but first and foremost, it functions as a study abroad review website. With more than 24,000 reviews published on our website, StudyAbroad101.com, we are the first and largest collection of study abroad program reviews. Reviews are listed by home university, program and their provider, and/or host institution. Programs are listed in directories by city, country, and area of study.

The Abroad101 reviews are in-depth summaries of students’ time abroad; we like to think of them as “re-entry in a box.” In order to get students to think critically and be reflective, the standard evaluation is a 37-question survey that draws students through a series of prompts.  Each review is then published with its own unique web page, which pushes students to be forward thinking and showcase their experience to the world.

Reviews come to Abroad101 through invitations from advisors, providers, and host universities and from students who are eager to publish their story about their time abroad.  Home universities have the option of using Abroad101 as their official program evaluation software that allows some additional customization with extra questions.  This FREE SOFTWARE is cloud-based, requires very little maintenance, and comes to universities at no cost, thanks to the support and sponsorship of program providers and foreign universities looking to recruit students.  Advisors using Abroad101 now have a tool to compile evaluations by program, provider, and city, and to then compare them against a set of other universities that use the same 37-question set.

Reviews Are Social Media:

Once students publish their program evaluations, they become reviews; once these reviews are on Abroad101, they become Social Media. As Social Media, these formatted first hand accounts of experiences abroad become great points of pride for the students as well as great reference material for advisors, future students, and parents.  As social media, reviews have many uses, enabling:

  • universities to promote study abroad to their own students
  • students to research programs and view first hand accounts from their peers
  • parents to set their expectations
  • advisors to keep informed of outcomes and student satisfaction
  • university administrators to gather data.

Students are encouraged to share their finished reviews with their friends, family, and peers.  Students are also prompted to include their review in their Linkedin profiles and to reference their publication in cover letters and grad school applications.  The ability to include photos and writing samples can boost the pride a student takes in creating their review.  Each day, we push and promote at least half a dozen of our student reviews on Twitter and our other social media outlets.  When you see one of your student’s reviews, we hope you will recognize it, “like” it, identify it as a favorite, and re-tweet it.  It’s great content for your followers!

Using Abroad101 at Your University:

For advisors and university administrators, Abroad101 can also be program evaluation software for all or parts of your study abroad enterprise.  In addition to Abroad101’s ability to generate promotional content, there are a great number of tools designed to help you manage the study abroad evaluation process.  Updated daily, the Abroad101 directory of programs is among the best in the field. To use the system, you simply enter the email addresses of recent or returning students and the directory begins working for you.

Abroad101 also has a host of more advanced tools which allow for reviews to be fed back to your website or management systems.  This includes reviews fed to you individually through our API, a widget or in a file (spreadsheet).  Graphs are popular reporting tools that show how your students measure against other universities. We use the 0-5 Star ratings scales for overall satisfaction, academics, program administration, housing, food, social integration, health care, safety, and cost of living.

While most people associate Abroad101 with our comprehensive directory of third-party programs, colleges can also use Abroad101 to manage the evaluations for exchanges and faculty-led programs.  It is fast, free, and easy.  Every university is given a free account. If you don’t have one, or need assistance with your login, please email support@abroad101.com

Time to Send Your Review Invitations!

As students begin returning home from their spring semesters abroad, we encourage you to use this perfect opportunity to send the invitation to submit reviews.  Over 70% of all reviews on Abroad101 come from the invitation of advisors, so please login to your account, use the Invite Tool, and start collecting reviews.  By using our Invite Tool, you will make it easier for your students to start the process of creating reviews.  The system will also send timely reminders to students, excluding students who have already completed a review or who may have been invited by a provider or foreign host university.  It’s never too late to request a review. If you haven’t sent an invitation in a while, or tried using means other than the Abroad101 Invite Tool, please resend using our Invite Tool. It’s as easy as copying and pasting a list of student email addresses.

TECH TIP: If the student email addresses are in a spreadsheet, you can quickly load these into the Invite Tool if they are separated by comma.  A trick to comma-separate easily is to create a new column in the spreadsheet and use the Concatenate function.  =CONCATENATE(A1,”, “)  then “fill down” the column.  Next, copy the column and paste into the Invite Tool’s window on Abroad101.

If you’d rather have us load those addresses, feel free to send us a file with the email addresses of those you’d like to invite. We’ll load them into your account and start the process on your behalf.  Abroad101 is committed to the security and protection of student names and does not re-market or sell this data.

If you prefer to use your own method of communication, please direct students to find their program in the Abroad101 directory and use the “Write a Review” button to start the process.  They can also bypass the search process and start writing here: http://www.StudyAbroad101.com/reviews/new

Study Abroad Rankings Released 

Abroad101 released its fourth annual Study Abroad Rankings in late March. Designed to highlight the thousands of program evaluations and reviews that we collect each year, the rankings are compiled from rating scores in our student reviews. The rankings recognize top study abroad semester programs, top summer programs, and top providers.  Also highlighted are top non-traditional destinations, budget-friendly countries, most livable cities, and top food cities (remember, these are college students!).

To be considered for the rankings, programs must be listed in the Abroad101 directories and must have received a sufficient number of student reviews.  From the 1,424 programs that received reviews, our analyst crunched numbers, set thresholds, and used Bayesian Analysis with a Standard Deviation adjustment to generate the scores that determined the students’ choice winners.  We were quite pleased at the diversity of the programs that were recognized in this process and hope that the publicity this generates draws more students and their families to look at the breadth of what study abroad has to offer.

We’d like to thank this year’s sponsor, StudentUniverse, who offers academic group travel programs in addition to helping students save money on individual flights. They also offer some nice administration tools for program managers, please contact them for a rate quote

See You at NAFSA:

For those headed to NAFSA, we hope you will stop by our booth (#1203) and discuss how you can turn those once static program evaluations into a dynamic user voice that is in such great demand from students and parents alike.  Be sure to pick up this year’s version of our popular T-shirts and let us know a bit more about how we can help you.

We are also available to offer custom web demonstrations of our system for you and your team throughout the year. Please contact support@abroad101.com to schedule a 30 or 60-minute presentation using WebEx.

Happy Spring!

Mark Shay

CEO | Abroad101

+1-610-357-4648  |  mark@abroad101.com

http://www.StudyAbroad101.com

Abroad101 Advisors Newsletter February 2015

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Thank you for spending a few minutes reading this and catching up with latest news from Abroad101, the first and largest study abroad review website.  It’s been 7 1/2 years since we posted our first review and now, 23,000 reviews later, Abroad101 is as strong as ever continuing to help students, parents and advisors get more out of education abroad.

Crowd-Funding for Student Study Abroad

Crowd-Funding is not just for hi-tech start-ups, students are increasing the use of crowd-funding to pay for their education abroad.  Abroad101 is on the front lines of this hot new trend with our “Abroad101 Student of the Week” program designed to boost individual student efforts to raise money to study abroad.  In this partnership with GoEnnounce, a prospective student is recognized each week and their mission (campaign) is boosted with a small grant and promoted through Abroad101’s wide reaching social network.

To further demonstrate our commitment to help one student at a time, Abroad101 recently doubled our crowd-funding donations as part of our pledge to join Generation Study Abroad.  If you have ambitious, hard-working students who are finding it difficult to raise money for study abroad, we encourage you to get them started on a crowd-funding mission for study abroad, please link to https://www.goennounce.com/l/sa from the financing study abroad portion of your advising website.

If you’d like to read more about Crowd-Funding for Study Abroad, check out our recent article on Noodle.com.  We hope you’ll share it with your students.

Its Time Again to Invite Returning Students to Submit Reviews

Now is a great time to invite students to submit their program evaluations (reviews) through Abroad101.  Fall and January term students have had time to settle down, think about their experience and are just waiting for you to guide them to showcase their time abroad.  Over 70% of the 23,000 reviews on Abroad101 have come from the invitation of advisors, so please login to your account, use the Invite Tool and get those reviews flowing.  If you are using your own outreach, please direct the students to http://www.StudyAbroad101.com/reviews/new to begin their review.

Remember, it’s never too late to ask for a review so if you’ve not sent an invitation in a while, or you tried other means than the Abroad101 Invite Tool, please come back and use the Invite Tool for past participants.  The Invite Tool is smart enough not to send invites to student who have already been invited and won’t send a reminder to those who have already completed a review.

Student 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 send us the source of your approved programs list (web links, spreadsheet or other document) and our team will take care of this for you, free of charge!

Use the Abroad101 Program Widget on Your Website

The Abroad101 Program Widget creates a badge-like graphic for use on your web site.  Using as much space as a small picture, the badge shows a review count, overall average review score and a star-ratings graphic in an image designed to look like an award that links back to the reviews.  There is no charge to use this, no forms to complete.  Simply copy the code generated from the Abroad101 Program Widget and enter it on your web page where you might otherwise have a photo.  The code is dynamic and your badge will constantly refresh and stay current.

The badge is a great complement to any program listed on your website, including you own faculty-led, exchange or recommended provider program.  The badge also helps students and their parents become more comfortable with a program and the link back to reviews can help set their expectations for that program.  Take a look!

Still using Paper Evaluations?

A number of organizations use paper-based evaluations, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting those reviews online.  We understand that paper data collection generates high participation results, so if you’re not yet ready to jump to a completely online system, we suggest you consider a hybrid, two part process where paper is done first, that data scanned and loaded into a database and that database integrated with the Abroad101 system.  The Abroad101 system would then send the student a confirmation and prompt them to complete some additional questions, add photos and then publish the review on Abroad101 to share their experience with the world.  We estimate the cost (with modest volume) to be $5 per paper review for the conversion.  If you are interested in engineering a 2-step process for your evaluations (paper or online), please contact mark@abroad101.com

Call, Meet or Just Say Hi!

As Abroad101’s CEO, I will be attending the upcoming AIEA conference in Washington, DC.  If you’d like to arrange a meeting, please email mark@abroad101.com 

Abroad101 will have a booth in the Exhibit Hall at the Forum conference in March.  If you are attending, please stop by and say hello.

If you have any questions about Abroad101 or would like a web demo of the system for you or your staff, please don’t hesitate to request an meeting.  We’d be happy to give you 30-45 minute walk-through of the features of the system.  Contact sales@abroad101.com to schedule an appointment.

Thanks again for taking the time to read this and for your interest in Abroad101.  Your suggestions and comments are very much appreciated as is your support.

Regards,

Mark Shay,

CEO, Abroad101

mark@abroad101.com

+1-212-321-0928

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