Most often a minimum of 8 students is necessary to run a program. Getting 8 students to make the commitment can be harder than you might think and a majority of programs run with 8-12 participants. We recommend 1 faculty member per 8-10 students so a large group might require a secondary faculty/staff member. This section will provide some tools for determining your target student population, understanding the student application process in the Compass and familiarizing yourself with important factors such as billing and registration.
Determining Your Student Population
In the Policies section of this website you will see a link to the most basic student eligibility criteria for all RIT study abroad programs. Beyond that, it’s important to consider the characteristics of your target student population. Factors might include academic requirements (major, year level, minimum GPA) and maturity level/motivation. Remember, the more conditions you place on student eligibility, the more restrictive your target audience becomes and the harder it will be to meet your minimum participation number. You may work with our office to modify your application template to add essays, portfolio submissions and/or other requirements to best evaluate student applicants. If you choose to conduct interviews or have students write essays, it’s important to develop a clear, transparent and objective rubric to assess these materials to be sure the selection process is fair and non-discriminatory and to communicate this to students before student selection begins.
The Student Application Process and The Compass
There are a few important steps students must take to apply and prepare for a faculty-led program. All steps are explained on this brief webinar and outlined on the Faculty-Led Application Checklist. We strongly encourage you to share these resources with students and familiarize yourself with these tools in case students have questions.
All students will apply for your program on our database called the Compass. The Compass helps us manage applications, monitor who is abroad at a given time for emergencies, facilitates billing and registration and connects us with students throughout the study abroad process. As a part of the application, students will be required to sign liability and FERPA waivers.
Students apply via the Compass by following these steps:
- Go to studyabroad.rit.edu
- Click on the Compass icon – login with RIT username and password
- Click on Search Programs tab and select criteria from drop down menus
- Select the correct program and click apply for the appropriate term
In the weeks leading up to the application deadline, we will keep you updated on the status of your applications. In order to get 8-10 confirmed participants, we’d usually need to see 15-20 completed applications. Once the deadline passes, the Education Abroad office needs two weeks or so to vet the applications for minimum GPA, conduct, academic/financial holds, etc. We will then send you a list of applicants to consider as you make your selection decisions. After you make your selections, the Education Abroad office will notify the students of their acceptance status and give them one week to commit to the program by signing the Participation Confirmation contract in the Compass. That means you will have your confirmed list of students about a month after the deadline and can begin making your travel arrangements.
Successful Recruiting Strategies
The Education Abroad office will assist you by developing professional, organized and engaging flyers, posters, emails and LCD screen advertisements for your program. We can also distribute these materials to a broad audience via RIT message center, our website, social media and contacts in other colleges/departments/student groups on campus who might be a good fit. However, your participation in marketing efforts is essential, as you have the most knowledge about your program and already have relationships with students who are a good fit for your program.
- Have as much firm information about the program, itinerary and costs as possible when you begin recruiting. Estimates and promises for more information down the road make it difficult for students to make this important decision and commitment.
- 6-8 weeks of promotions and advertising before the deadline tends to be most effective.
- Familiarize yourself with the Compass and application processes so you can answer basic student questions. You are the face of the program and the more we send students around campus to seek answers, the more we lose them in the process.
- Classroom visits are hands down the most effective way to promote your program. Talk to your colleagues about stopping by relevant courses to inform students about your program - even spending five minutes of class time talking about your program will generate interest.
- Information sessions can be effective to give more detailed information but they usually have lower student turnout. An alternative is to use your office hours to encourage students to stop by to learn more about the program.
- Keep track of ALL students who express interest by collecting their contact information on this document. That way we can more efficiently and effectively share important information such as application instructions, deadline reminders, etc.
- Targeted emails to students in certain majors or student groups can be very effective and our office can work with you to reach these audiences.
- Work with your colleagues in your college to spread the word on departmental or college specific channels such as websites, newsletters, social media, etc.
Student Confirmation and Deposit Process
About three weeks after the application deadline, students will be informed of their acceptance status and the accepted students will be given about a week to commit to the program by logging back into the compass and signing the Participation Confirmation agreement. This document outlines their commitment to the program and the consequences should they drop out from this point forward. You can view a copy of this commitment here. Students will then be billed the non-refundable deposit to their eServices accounts which they will have 2 weeks to pay. Once the Participation Confirmation is signed and submitted, the students are committed to the program regardless of whether or not they’ve yet paid the deposit.
Billing and Registration
The Education Abroad office will bill students both the deposit and the remainder of the program fee to their eServices accounts. All students should be billed the same amount. The course will be created, listed and opened by the appropriate registration officer in your department and should be limited to department consent for adding or dropping. We will provide this contact with the list of accepted students in order for them to be registered.