Thank you for taking a few minutes to catch up with Abroad101, the study abroad review website. Around this time 13 years ago, the founder of Abroad101 started on his study abroad experience. Like so many, his story is a powerful tribute to the impact of Education Abroad experience, and like so many, that experience unlocks something that nobody could have predicted at the time.
Today a company carries on the founding vision of providing students a platform on which to share their story. As an advisor, you call it a program evaluation, a parent considers it as review and the student will hopefully think of it as a capstone. Abroad101 is a company that does just one thing, deliver a platform to advance study abroad. At Abroad101, we have found a way to do this free of charge for the users, drawing support from program providers and host universities in the form of advertising and sponsorship. Here are some ways in which you can support us and the greater study abroad community:
Have You Seen Your Students’ Study Abroad Reviews Lately?
Each day Abroad101.com 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 and also in portals for each home school. As of today, 37,608 student reviews are active 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 you could also add a link of your Abroad101 “Homepage” on your own website to better prepare all. ( https://www.studyabroad101.com/university_widget )
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 the process allows them to talk about themselves.
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 already use Abroad101 as their official program evaluation software as it was designed to draw an insightful student expose of their time abroad. 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. 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 select in-house programs
- Compare your results against others
- Add custom questions to the standard review (can be kept private for internal use)
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.