If you’re reading this, it’s because you’ve done the legwork of developing your incredible study abroad program, congrats! That also means that you are currently starting, or in the process of recruiting students for your program, a task that can seem overwhelming on top of everything else you’ve already accomplished.
We’re here to tell you that recruiting students doesn’t need to be a daunting or immensely time consuming task. In fact, if you’re working with a tour operator or partner, these would be a great first resource to touch base with to discuss their support in developing some materials that you can use for recruitment. If you’re looking for some additional and unique ways to recruit students for your program, we’ve come up with three clever ways to recruit students that you can try out for your program.
1) Alumni Ambassadors
If your university or program already has a network of study abroad alumni ambassadors then you are already one step ahead. Similarly to how most consumers choose to read reviews or ask for opinions from trusted family and friends before making a purchase, many students rely on this same word of mouth ‘marketing’ to make decisions on their study abroad destination and program.
If you have an existing alumni ambassador program reach out to ambassadors who have attended the same program or a similar program traveling to the same destinations and have them reach out to students who have expressed interest in studying abroad. These alumni can be a great resource to ask questions that students may feel more comfortable asking other students as opposed to faculty and staff.
If you don’t have an existing alumni ambassador network, we recommend trying to reach out to your former study abroad students to see if they would be interested in participating. This is a great addition to a university students resume and also helps you to encourage participate on your study abroad programs!
If you’re having in-person information sessions that have low sign-ups or attendance rates, this might be a good tactic to try out. Live-streaming such as webinars, Facebook and Instagram Live allow you to interact in real time with students, without them or you having to leave the comfort of your home (or office!). Your staff can host these interactive live video streams and provide information and yield questions from those who join in. Live-streaming is on the rise as more and more marketing efforts are moved to digital platforms, with those attempting to reach their target audience finding more creative ways to interact.
3) Develop Videos
If you haven’t heard, online content is said to be shifting in the direction of video. Not surprisingly, the way that students like to consume information directly reflects this shift. Even if you don’t have a large budget to spend developing professional videos to attract students to your program, there are many services available to create short and enticing videos to assist your recruitment efforts.
A few examples for you to try:
Lumen5 – Lumen5 is a great way to turn your written content into a short video that is quick and easy to watch for your students.
iMovie – If you operate on a Mac computer than you get this application included with your computer. This software is super user friendly (thanks Apple!) and you can select a theme and then add videos, photos and musics and the app will cut together a nice looking video without the cost of a professional editor.
No matter your limited skills or resources, it is possible for every study abroad program to develop some video content that can live on their website, as well as be used for recruitment efforts.