Recruitment Strategies for Study Abroad
Faculty members are great recruiters for their own programs. You have direct contact with students who come to know and trust you enough to feel comfortable traveling with you. The Study Abroad Office will promote your program to the best of our abilities, but you are able to get specific information about your program to a targeted audience much easier than we can. There are many ways to recruit students for your study abroad program, but your own enthusiasm and motivation is key. See the list below for some ideas for how to promote your program.
Don’t just talk about your specific program--stress the benefits of studying abroad, such as academic, intellectual, professional, intercultural, and personal growth in your promotional efforts. Don’t forget about career/employment prospects. For more information on statistics regarding benefits of study abroad, check out these articles:
Make yourself available for e-mail and phone contact with students and/or parents.
Become familiar with study abroad processes and procedures so you can answer questions.
Think about which kind of students you want on the program and market
toward that population specifically. Be selective.
Start recruiting EARLY - as soon as your program is approved.
Class and Organization Visits Announce your program or course in your own classes and at student organization meetings. Share information with colleagues in your department who would be willing to mention your program to their students, or offer to come to their class to give a short explanation of your program.
Consider targeting feeder courses, or large courses that all students go through. Try to take a flyer or handout for every student. The Study Abroad Office also makes classroom visits, but these are not usually targeted to specific programs. If you need assistance with your classroom visits, contact the Education Abroad Advisor.
Flyers and posters should be simple and informative. Provide only the most basic information—program name, program dates, information session dates, courses offered, and contact information (yours and the Study Abroad Office’s.) Create your own eye-catching flyer or use this template we have created. If your program is a Murray State-only program, you are encouraged to use the official MSU logo and “Your World to Explore” tagline. The Study Abroad Office will print a reasonable number of these flyers and posters for you to hand out during classroom presentations and interest sessions. (Flyers will be printed on 8.5x11 paper and posters will be 11x17). Post the flyers around your department, in classrooms, and on bulletin boards. The SAO also has a team of student workers who put up flyers every week in designated areas. Send proofs of your flyers to email@example.com for approval. Click these sample flyers below to see the full size.
The SAO also works with MSU’s Publications and Printing office to get official brochures printed at the beginning of each academic year. Faculty now have the option of incorporating the cost of these official materials into their program budgets.
Students often prefer to go online looking for information instead of reaching out to a person to ask questions. Faculty are encouraged to get information about their study abroad programs onto their department webpages – some departments have pages dedicated to all the upcoming study abroad programs in their field.
Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business Study Abroad Page
Horizons, our online application system, allows us to fully customize each program description the student will see when making their decision. Faculty are encouraged to send photos, write descriptions, and upload their course syllabus. Use the questions in the Faculty-Led Program Proposal form to tell the SAO what you would like your Horizons page to include. This page will include much more detail than you would put on your flyer including specific costs, itinerary, syllabi, etc.
Information Sessions Information sessions can be a successful recruiting tool if they are well advertised. These are generally short, informal meetings outside regular classroom hours which provide students with a chance to meet you, learn the details of the program, and ask questions. Pass around a sign-in sheet in order to get a list of interested students which you can follow up with later. If your program has gone before, including past participants in these meetings can be very effective. If you request it, the SAO will also come to these sessions to talk about financial aid and scholarship opportunities and the application process. Students are sometimes more likely to attend these meetings if food is offered. Try to do more than one of these sessions and don’t be discouraged if only a few students come—that just means you have the opportunity to talk to them one-on-one.
Submit the dates and times of these information sessions to the campus calendar at http://www.murraystate.edu/calendars/submitEvent.aspx and to the SAO so we can publicize it as well.
Study Abroad Fair
Hosted by the SAO every September, the Study Abroad Fair usually brings between 800-1000 interested students. If you cannot be there the entire time, please send materials or information, or ask a previous participant to stand in for you.
The 2012-2013 Study Abroad Fair will be Thursday, September 13th from 11 AM to 2 PM in the Curris Center Dance Lounge. Consider offering extra credit to students who come and encourage your colleagues to do the same.
International Education Week
Propose a session based on your own research or interests that can simultaneously relate to your upcoming program. IEW is November 12-16, 2012.
Other Campus Events
Take flyers or brochures to events related to your field or destination: readings and lectures, art exhibit openings, concerts, theatre productions, and residential college programs.
Academic Advisors and Faculty Study Abroad Ambassadors
Give your program information to academic advisors in your deparment or other departments that may be part of your program or related to your program. They can help students see how their study abroad will fit into their course schedule and count toward graduation.
Every department also has a designated Faculty Study Abroad Ambassador. Utilize this person's connection to the study abroad office by providing them details of your program and encouraging them to share with others.
Use Facebook and Twitter, either through your profile or through a group
or fan page that you create. Groups are good for email, while fan pages
are good for status feeds. Post photos and videos related to the location or class to pique student interest. Advertise information sessions, application deadlines, etc.
Keep in Touch Keep lists of interested students and periodically contact them to keep study abroad on their radar. Include basic information about your program and any upcoming information sessions. Even after they have been approved for your program, try to maintain regular contact to keep their interest level up.