International Studies & Programs

Promoting a program

A quality education abroad program will maximize the use of the people and resources available in the host country. Students want an experience that they cannot obtain in East Lansing. Your efforts and creativity in publicizing and recruiting will determine the success of your program.

Promoting your Program

Before you begin recruiting, you need to decide on some critical basic elements that will impact whether or not students choose to participate in your program: dates, course offerings, and cost. Details related to these topics are addressed in this guide and should be given your first attention.

Begin marketing your program at least one year in advance. Unless your program is full, you should continue marketing through November (winter break and spring semester programs), February (spring break programs), or May (summer, fall and academic year programs).

Recruitment

Become acquainted with the recruitment, publicity, curriculum and administrative practices of your department's or college's previous education abroad offerings, particularly those of the previous year. If the program was successful, which of these recruitment strategies would you like to duplicate? If the program was canceled due to insufficient applicants, what should you do differently?

Below is a list of ideas programs leaders have used in the past to recruit for program participation:

Program Description

Enter and edit written program information via the "Program Profile" within the Education Abroad Faculty Portal. Remember that students are the target audience, and that they will be most concerned with issues of value and uniqueness as it fits with their degree requirements and personal needs and interests. When listing the program course(s), make sure that the sponsoring departments have approved the course offering(s) and list both the course code and title with the amount of credits for each class. Encourage students, in your promotional efforts, to consider the multiple benefits of studying abroad: academic/intellectual, professional, intercultural, and personal.

Information Meetings

Make arrangements for and attend Information Meetings. The purpose of these meetings is to introduce prospective students to general aspects of studying abroad and the particulars of your program. Two or more meetings should be held no later than the semester prior to your education abroad program. Meetings before breaks are especially effective so that prospective participants can discuss plans with their families. Contact the Office for Education Abroad at least two weeks before the desired meeting date so that publicity can be arranged. 

Website

Develop your own website for your program. Make sure that the wording on your site, particularly with regard to dates, costs, deadlines, etc., is the same as that on the EA website (use the URL at the bottom of your flyer to link to your EA webpage). You may wish to include a continuously updated FAQs section with items such as a program itinerary to answer questions from both students and parents. To view examples of websites created by study abroad program leaders, visit the following:
Rainforests and Reality in Nicaragua
Sustainable Food, Environment & Social Systems in Australia

Social Media

Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other social networking sites to promote your program

Class

Announce your program in class. Share information about your program with colleagues who can make announcements in their classes.

Advisers

Inform and work with academic advisers who advise your target student audience. Communicate with your colleagues, including TAs, so they can help recruit.

Personal Contact

Write letters, send emails, or personally contact students who are likely to find the program of interest. (Please note EA funds or program funds are not available for direct/bulk mailings.) Be available to counsel and assist interested students who have questions about the program or about the academic implications. 

Past Participants

Involve students who have previously participated in the program, especially at information meetings. Prospective students are very interested in hearing another student's perspective. The testimony of past participants is one of the most effective marketing tools at your disposal!

Photos

Photos can enhance the promotion of your program in printed materials, at information meetings, on the Web, at the Education Abroad Expo and more. Be sure to ask for permission from students before taking photos to be sure they are agreeable to having their image used to promote your program (most will be flattered!). Select photos of students that best show what your program is all about. Use both group shots and individuals for the best result and include photos that speak to the academic nature of the education abroad experience.

Display

Create a display to put up in academic advising offices, outside your office, or on college/department bulletin boards.

Special Events

Attend special events on campus, especially events sponsored by your college or department (e.g. Fall Welcome). Get involved in your college/department's Academic Orientation Program (AOP) planning to be sure your program is highlighted to incoming freshmen during the summer.

Student Clubs

Target specific student clubs that may have a particular interest in your program.

State News

Contact The State News to see if they can write an article about your program.

Publications

Make sure your program is featured in your college/department's communication and publications (e.g. e-bulletins, newsletters, magazines).

Keeping Students Engaged

Maintain lists of prospective students' names and contact information that you collect at various events. Stay in contact periodically to determine if any perceived barriers to the student's participation might be addressed. Email students with important information about upcoming (information) meetings or interesting details about your program. A good time to send reminders about your program to students is right before breaks. Also keep in mind that significant amounts of time can pass between a student's application to your program, their acceptance and the program's departure. Set up a D2L site to keep students engaged and excited between acceptance into your program and its departure.

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