Keys to Promoting Your Faculty-Led Program: Part 2

In Part I of this post we shared some strategies for getting attention for your program and buy-in from students. Part 2 continues with more details on how to create interest and encouraging students to take the next step of signing up!

Be transparent with price
There are very few students and families out there who are not concerned about the price of a study abroad experience. Answer this question for your students when promoting your program: “What am I paying for?”

Additionally, be sure to communicate what is not included in the price. It is also nice to point out potential costs that may be required for them to participate in the program, like purchasing a passport, optional immunizations or supplies for class. Listing what is included in the program price and what is not will reduce the apparent risk around money for both the students and, in many cases, the parents.
The program page on the University of Washington, Tacoma's site.
Make sure your program is on your institution’s website
Sounds easy, but doesn’t always happen! This not only will act as a recruiting tool (attracting students already looking for programs) but will help students, parents, faculty, academic advisors and others find important information about your program easily.
Start early
As soon as you have all the basic information about your program (dates, price, what is included, basic itinerary) start promoting! This allows students and their families the time they need to process the opportunity and plan for it. If students are aware of the program soon enough, they can apply for scholarships, talk to employers, and plan the rest of their life around your program - instead of the other way around.

Talk openly about credit
In our experience, programs popular with students often have one thing in common: students can earn credit towards their major or some other institutional requirement. If this is true for your program, be sure to promote it in your written materials and when speaking with students. If this is not the case, talk about the credit that will be earned and emphasize the other educational benefits, like career development and personal growth.
Talk about graduation and career development
Whether we like it or not, students and parents want to know what’s in it for them. It is simply not enough, in many cases, to remind them how formative and challenging the study abroad experience can be. They want a different kind of value.

With that in mind, connecting the study abroad experience to student’ future plans is beneficial in many ways. Most of all, it increases the value of the program in their eyes. Remind them, for example, that today’s business leaders must have intercultural competency.

It also helps students frame their experience as part of their overall education, and not just a nice “trip” that their parents (or whoever) have to pay for. And finally, when students return from studying abroad, they will be better able to articulate the meaning of their experience.

We would love to hear what has worked for you! Please use the comments section below or email Stacy at

Key to Promoting Your Faculty-Led Program: Part 1

Here are some concrete ideas for how to promote a study abroad program, specifically a faculty-led study abroad program on your campus. This is Part 1 of a two part series. So stay tuned!

Market the program effectively - and often
Even if your program is a free, month-long trip to the Caribbean where students earn credit for sitting on the beach, they still won’t sign up unless they hear about it.

So, that is step one: getting the message out there.

Here are some great ways our partner institutions reach out to their students:
  • Email to majors,
  • email to all students,
  • email to a class,
  • email to all freshman,
  • student newspaper advertisement,
  • story with student newspaper,
  • table in high traffic area,
  • information sessions,
  • information table at lunch in high traffic area,
  • advertisements/posters throughout the university,
  • short presentation to your classes and other program-related classes,
  • advertisements in bathrooms,
  • hosting a table with dessert at lunch.

Whether you pick all or just a few of these strategies, it is a good idea to do them more than once. Students are receiving thousands of messages a day from different sources, so we can’t assume they will see or hear just one message.
Know what works at your institution
When considering the list above, think about what you have seen work at your institution. What do students talk about? Where do they go to find information? A quick way to find out the answers to these questions is to ask the students themselves. You can also stop by the Student Life office – it’s their job to know these answers, and they’ll probably have some new creative ideas.
At Willamette University in Salem, Oregon they have a Summer Opportunities Fair each fall that promotes study abroad, service and other programs that will take place the following summer. 

Promote yourself!
In all likelihood, you are going to be the face of the program. Don’t shy away from that – promote it! In our experience, students really respond well to a professor’s energy and interest in the programs. (Remember: they often trust people more than organizations.)

Don’t hesitate to share your own experiences in Ecuador or on a study abroad program in order to generate interest and excitement in this program. Our faculty directors tell us that one-on-one conversations tend to be the best ways to connect with students. They’re worth the time.

Engage former students
Students LOVE hearing from other students. They trust them. Even if you do not have students from your program, bring students who have already studied abroad elsewhere to talk about the benefits of their experiences. We find that you must make these students sit down together, preferably in an information session or other formal event. Just sharing contact information hasn’t worked well.

More ideas coming in Part 2!

We would love to hear what has worked for you! Please use the comments section below or email Stacy at