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