Via TRM is an international education technology company on a mission to empower every education abroad advisor to engage #everystudent.
…young people who go abroad are forced to look up from their phones to engage in the world around them.
…companies want to hire candidates with global experience.
…students who go abroad learn to navigate differences — from the mundane (“Which of these coins in my hand will pay for this cup of coffee?) to the transformational (“How do I relate to someone with beliefs and values that are different than mine?”).
These ‘graduates of the global’ bring new and valuable perspectives and skills into the workplace, classroom, and community.
Yet so few students go abroad for academic, service-based, and work-focused purposes, only 2.5% the 200 million students enrolled in higher educationworldwide. In the US, only 313k of the 20M enrolled students studied abroad.
What would be possible if the other 97.5+% of students pursued global opportunities?
At Via TRM, we have an outrageous goal to reach #everystudent to go global. Not #everystudent will go abroad. However, #everystudent has the opportunity to make an informed choice about how they engage with the world, at home and abroad.
The way we make this vision come alive is to help international educators develop new ways to communicate with students about global opportunities though our user-friendly Traveler Relationship Management software, ViaTRM.
Read on to learn how we work with our university and educational travel partners to reach #everystudent.
Help the “Just Curious” student move forward
We use the term “just curious” at Via TRM to describe a student who sees value in global opportunities but is not ready to apply to a program.
Though many freshmen and first-generation college students fall into this category, the defining characteristic of the “just curious” student is a lack of certainty or understanding about available opportunities and the process of going abroad.
Historically, education abroad offices have relied on word of mouth, websites, program brochures, and directories to move the “just curious” student farther along.
However, “just curious” students often do not have clearly defined goals and priorities, which makes navigating loads of content feel overwhelming. Additionally, it’s difficult for inexperienced students to determine right-fit programs from program lists, searches, and directories because it requires them to create meaningful comparisons without relevant context (e.g. comparing a semester in Argentina vs. Chile vs. Spain).
Traditional web and print tools are necessary and useful, but more is needed to help the “just curious” student move forward.
Every applicant and program participant started out as a “just curious” student. Education abroad offices who reach farther up the funnel with new communication strategies and technology will mobilize a larger portion of the “just curious” population to take the next step towards global opportunities.
Facilitate conversations with technology
We‘ve spent a lot of time observing students and asking questions about how to effectively communicate with young people (more on that here).
What we learned is that students want information in smaller doses because it helps them retain it. They want to feel confident about next steps. They respond well to personalization on the web. They are using mobile devices for smaller tasks and desktops for deeper research and more complex process functions.
We also learned that simply modifying the method of communication can help with response rates. This is consistent with research that finds Generation Z, or anyone born after 1995, largely find email to be an outdated method of communication (e.g. Gen Z’ers are more likely to respond to a chat message than to their inbox!).
These realizations guide how we create opportunities within the Via TRM platform for self-guided progress, centralized chat-style messaging, reminder notifications, and game-design elements that contribute to confidence-building and progress tracking. Additionally, these insights allow us to work with our clients and partners in creating new marketing and communication strategies outside of our software platform.
Use student-generated data to reach specific student populations.
We help education abroad advisors & directors make smarter decisions about how, what, and when to communicate to students — on an individual basis as well as within groups. Prior to application, most of the understanding about student needs comes in the form of anecdotes shared by advisors.
We compliment story-based knowledge with real data to help offices see the bigger picture about student barriers, motivations, backgrounds, and goals.
Will you join our conversation on engaging students on campus or in your community? We’re calling for a digital commons on #EveryStudent. We’ll be exploring what it means to connect with new segments of students through stories, case studies, and research. We salute everyone in the field striving to reach #everystudent and offer our fresh take on the “just curious” and other underserved student populations.