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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.

Build Relationships with your students. Capitalize on the relationship you already have with your students and build upon that to encourage students to have this experience with you. They want to share experiences with you and earn your respect. Allow them some time to sit with you and discuss the program and how it will contribute to their future success.

In addition to the Application & Recruitment Workshop we'll invite you to attend, check out this Recruitment Plan to help you take the necessary steps to whole program recruitment.

Basics

1. Don’t just talk about your specific program--stress the benefits of studying abroad in your promotional efforts: academic, intellectual, professional, intercultural, and personal growth.  Don’t forget about career and employment prospects.  For more information on statistics regarding benefits of study abroad, check out these articles:

2. Make yourself available for e-mail and phone contact with students and/or parents.

3. Become familiar with study abroad processes and procedures so you can answer questions. Much of this information you will learn in the Application & Recruitment Workshop, but much more detail is available right here on our website in the Students section, where you'll find out about scholarships and application deadlines.

4. Think about the kind of students you want on the program and market toward that population specifically.  Be selective.

5. Start recruiting EARLY - as soon as your program is approved - and don't stop until time is up. Your program will NOT "sell itself." It requires a cheerleader like you constantly promoting to students. When you have a list of 30 names, don't fool yourself by thinking you can rest. Those 30 names might turn into 3 applications. So keep at it until the final bell has rung.

Class and Organization Visits

The biggest mistake faculty make is being shy. Don't be afraid to promote your program to your own students and colleagues. Indeed that is the main way recruitment is successful - by getting at the ready-made audience that already knows how fabulous it would be to study abroad with YOU - one of their favorite people!

  • 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 (ask the Study Abroad Office to approve your flyer and make these copies).  

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.

Watch Your Language! Make sure you use academic language when describing your program - never "trip," always "program!" And be sure to provide enough information for students:

  • What: What are the details on your program: class offered, itinerary highlights
  • When: Dates or Term
  • Where: Program Location
  • Why: How will the class count toward the degree for your audience? What are the benefits of study abroad for students in your field?
  • How: Provide the application deadline and URL: murraystate.edu/studyabroadapplication
  • Scholarships: Inform of scholarship availability and statistics. In 2012-13, 85% of students who applied for scholarships received them with an average award of $1,100. Provide the URL for more info on study abroad scholarships and deadlines: murraystate.edu/studyabroad

Use Study Abroad Returnees, whether from a previous program of yours, or by tapping into these resources:

  • #racersabroad Tumblr: This provides photos of past participants and excellent quotes of all those ways students minds are blown on study abroad.
  • Study Abroad YouTube: Search our YouTube page to find videos of students from past programs and other international goodies to see if something there can assist in your presentations.

Flyers/Brochures/Hand-Outs

Number one: Get your flyer or poster approved by the Study Abroad Office before you start posting it. Flyers and posters should be simple yet informative.

  • Provide only the most basic information: program name, program dates, courses offered, contact information (yours and the Study Abroad Office’s), where to apply, and a highlight that scholarships are available.  
  • 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 “Take Your Place in the World” 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.  
  • Posters can be hung around your department, in classrooms, and on bulletin boards. The SAO also has a team of student workers who put up flyers and posters every week in designated areas.  
  • Flyers can be distributed in classes and to clubs and groups.
  • Send proofs of your flyers to rpizzo@murraystate.edu for approval. Click these sample flyers below to see the full size.

 Sample Flyer 2       Sample flyer 1      Sample Flyer 3

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.

Webpage/Horizons

Students often prefer to go online looking for information instead of reaching out to a human 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, the study abroad online application system, allows us to fully customize each program description the student will see when making their decision. Faculty are encouraged to submit 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 used to be a successful recruiting tool back when students could be lured in with free food.  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. However, the majority of students attending information sessions now are those who are already committed to applying to the program. As such, we recommend instead holding information sessions in conjunction with another event, such as a Trivia Night or academic forum that relates to your course(s) abroad. 

Pass around a sign-in sheet in order to get a list of interested students 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 sessions to talk about financial aid and scholarship opportunities and the application process. Try to do more than one of these sessions and don’t be discouraged if only a few students express interest—that just means you have the opportunity to talk to them one-on-one.

Submit the dates and times of information sessions to the campus calendar at and to the SAO so we can publicize it as well.

Campus Events

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 2013-2014 fairs are:

  • Thursday, September 12th, 11-2, Curris Center Dance Lounge
  • April TBA - This fair is targeted at Winter Programs

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 18-22, 2013.

Other Campus Events

Take flyers or brochures to events related to your field or destination:

  • readings and lectures
  • art exhibit openings
  • concerts
  • Cinema International
  • theatre productions
  • residential college programs.

Academic Advisors and Faculty Study Abroad Ambassadors

Give your program information to academic advisors in your department or other departments that may be part of your program or related to your program.

  • Determine how your course contributes to graduation requirements and point that out specifically for advisors and students.
  • Help students see how their study abroad will fit into their course schedule and fulfill either major or minor requirements or university studies electives.

Every department has a designated Faculty Study Abroad Ambassador.  Utilize the FSAA to by providing them details of your program and encouraging them to share with others. The FSAA can also help get you air time in classes or departmental meetings, space on the departmental website, student clubs, and may have other suggestions for recruitment within your field.

Social Media

Using Facebook and Twitter, either through your profile or through a group or fan page that you create, can help to advertise to students you already know. Occasionally these are good for getting past students or students who have already applied to get their friends interested. However, we've found that Facebook groups are most beneficial for keeping those who've applied interested and in touch with one another.

  • Post photos and videos related to the location or class to pique student interest.
  • Advertise information sessions, application deadlines, scholarship details, etc.
  • Once you have student applications, use Facebook to stay in touch with packing details, accommodation updates, and even transportation delays on the day of departure.

Keep in Touch

Keep lists of interested students and periodically contact them to keep study abroad on their radar.

  • Provide information on any upcoming program events.
  • Pique student interest by teasing an event you'll be taking students to while abroad and how it relates to class. 
  • Alert students on upcoming deadlines and new announcements about scholarships.
  • Contact students who have applied but not yet completed their applications and inquire as to what they need to make their final decisions and get their application submitted.
  • After students have been approved for your program, try to maintain regular contact to keep their interest level high.

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