A group of Prairie View A&M students studying in Costa Rica.

5 best practices for streamlining your study-abroad program

When Prairie View A&M University updated its study-abroad process, a number of good things followed

Take time to plan
Your software partner should have plenty of experience with project planning, so be sure to leverage their expertise for appropriate milestones and task durations.

Learn from peers
Speak with program administrators at other institutions who have undertaken similar projects to yours. They are an excellent resource for sharing what worked and what to avoid.

Identify a project champion
An executive champion is critical for ensuring that quickly resolving roadblocks, securing approvals, and fostering communication across departments.

Designate one or more “super users”
These people should receive system training and understand the ins and outs of the way the application is implemented. They can also provide training to end users and act as a first line of support.

Our biggest lesson learned? Try not to do everything at once. It’s important to scale gradually by addressing the most critical challenges first. An application with a flexible and modular framework, like Terra Dotta and others, makes it possible to add more functionality over time.

Related: 3 best practices for managing student travel

The results are in

Our international programs team continues to bring additional features and processes online, such as managing proposals for new faculty-led programs. But as a result of this particular effort, the university achieved important objectives, including:

  • Increasing the number of students applying for scholarships by combining the applications
  • Enhancing the marketing and promotion of the study abroad programs via the web portal
  • Allowing students to directly access and compare programs by providing consistent information, brochures, photos, and testimonials
  • Centralizing and coordinating all program logistics, such as passport and travel management, disciplinary clearance, and communication

Overall, the improvements in application management, productivity, and marketing have enabled us to make our study-abroad programs more accessible, thereby allowing more students to take advantage of this unique global educational opportunity.

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