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.