“I only wish we’d switched sooner,” Executive Director says
In Spring 2022, when Queens University was looking for a more efficient and user-friendly system, Via kept popping up as the “platform of choice,” says Angelle “Angie” Edwards, executive director of the Myrta Pulliam Center for International Education.
At the time, the Pilliam Center was using a free platform. While the no-cost part was great for a small institution with a limited budget, Angie says she and her staff feared the system was going to become unsupported and leave them “high and dry.”
“We really needed a platform that was going to be much more student friendly than what we had with the hopes that we would have a better conversion rate,” Angie says. “We wanted a platform where students won’t get lost in the process or get bored trying to find the information they’re looking for.”
Before choosing Via, the Pulliam Center staff went through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process. They also talked with colleagues in the International Education community about the platforms their offices were using.
“Via very clearly bubbled to the top as the one that was the right fit for us,” Angie says. “Everything from the look and feel of it to the way you interact with it to the capabilities and, frankly, the pricing structure—all of those things made Via the clear frontrunner.”
Queens signed on with Via last spring and implemented Via over the summer.
Via Team’s Flexibility, Availability “Absolutely Amazing”
The Pulliam Center staff intentionally chose the summer months to implement Via because it had more bandwidth to focus on the transition, Angie adds. The process, including training and onboarding process, has gone smoothly, she says.
“It’s been great—from data import and building and conversion as well as the training for our team,” Angie says. “It was broken down into manageable pieces and Via helped us find the right pace for implementation. The Via team was flexible with us too and tailored everything to what we needed. They were available to answer questions we had at any time. The Via team has been absolutely amazing.”
Based on what she heard from IE colleagues about Via, Angie expected nothing less.
“Their experience matched what they were promised in the RFP process, so I went in feeling very confident,” Angie says. “The Via team members seemed genuine and then to have the testimonials from other institutions that Via really does deliver allowed us to go into our implementation with no concerns.”
Via’s Single Sign-On a Hit with Students
With Via, the Center also achieved its goal of having a more user-friendly experience for students. For example, Via’s single sign-on feature has been “amazing” for students, Angie says.
“We don’t have to worry about troubleshooting password lockouts or resets and things like that because it’s all integrated with their Queens’ email and username.”
Students also are having an easier time completing enrollment and other forms.
“Via’s just more intuitive for them,” she says. “It better matches the experience they have with other technology and platforms.”
Via’s also been “fabulous” on the admin side, she adds.
“We did the integration with our student information system so it’s been great to know that the data it’s pulling for students matches their official institutional data,” Angie says. “It reduces the number of times a student has to enter the same information and eliminates the need for our advisors to verify information that was previously self-reported such as GPA and major, which can change between initial inquiry and time of travel.”
As their one-year anniversary of signing with Via nears, Angie says she knows Via was “absolutely the right choice.” She’s confident Queens will achieve its goal of achieving a higher conversion rate.
“It’s been a great experience for us,” Angie says. “I am genuinely grateful and impressed with how customer-focused and helpful the Via team is. We’ve always had very helpful and positive responses when we have any questions. That has not stopped even though we’re beyond our initial implementation and training period. We also know our students are having a great experience on their side so, yes, Via was the right choice for us. I’m so glad we switched. I only wish we’d done it sooner.”
Like Angie Edwards at Queens University, Via believes global experiences will change our world. That’s why we created traveler relationship management and travel risk management software, which helps universities and study abroad program providers to empower global experiences. If you want a true education abroad partner, turn to Via.