How to Market a Purdue Study Abroad Program

A successful study abroad experiences starts with program design.  Faculty leaders constructing programs that fulfill the academic needs of students, while supplying a financially feasible experience for all, typically depart with full rosters. 

Recommended steps in student recruitment are outlined below.  


Who will be interested in what you have to offer, and why?

It’s all about the course offerings!!

Offer courses that Purdue students NEED to take. All students have their Plan of Study in mind when enrolling for courses. This does not change when considering study abroad.

  • If core requirements cannot fit within your program, ensure the credits being offered count as electives that move participants towards graduation.
  • Upper level courses are more attractive than 100 & 200 level offerings, even if that means more academic rigor.

Consult with your Department Head about course credit flexibility and the potential for cross-listings.


How will you attract and keep a students’ attention?

A simple, but comprehensive printed brochure

  • Believe it or not, students still appreciate being handed a reminder. Keep it simple by providing the most need to know info.
  • Produce a double-sided, tri-fold brochure printed in color that includes program: Dates; Courses; Costs; Accommodations; Excursions; Contacts (yours + two past participants); Photos; Callout details.
  • Templates exist in word processing programs such as (Word, Pages, Publisher, Swift). is also a great place to start. 
    • Linked Example: PDFs of London Internship & Summer in Florence 

Instagram hashtags can be useful to compile student photos & videos

Students relate to other students. This is why past participants are a vital tool

  • Consider student recruitment as you connect with your students while abroad. You’ll need their help well after their study abroad experience ends.
  • How might you involve them as future program ambassadors? Can you identify students pre-departure and incentive their efforts conducted abroad to help with future promotion?
    1. Gathering photos & video
    2. Providing written testimonial quote
    3. Attending your callout to connect with prospective students
    4. Trustworthy feedback on program strengths & weaknesses

Be direct!!  Go directly to your target audience

Boiler Connect and/or Cognos Reports
  • Use these sources, often via the help of Advisors or IT staff, to generate an email list for all those determined as the target audience.
    • Example:  Abnormal Psych is offered on the Purdue Summer in Florence program.  All Psych majors & minors will obviously be on our list, but so too will Health Science majors & minors, Nursing majors, and all others who must take this course to graduate, or has the option to as a core elective. 
  • In 150 words or less, introduce yourself and your program.
    • Attach a PDF of the tri-fold brochure.
    • Include the date/time/location of your informational meeting. Set this callout no later than one month prior to the application deadline.

Meet students where they are – classrooms!

  • Contact instructors of classes that include members of your target audience. Consult academic advisors, past participants, and the Purdue course catalog for suggestions.
    • Connecting directly with potential participants is key. Students want to see the face and hear the voice of the person responsible for their programs.  Class visits allow for this.  Do not rely on students coming to you! 
  • Make the simple request of 2-5 minutes at the start of their class to make a quick plug, promote the callout, and hand out brochures.
    • Some will ignore you. Some will request a PowerPoint slide (share example link) to display instead.  Some will give you more than 5 minutes. 

 Host a Callout for your program

  • Make the event social and short.
  • Conflicts kill. Students have a lot going on, but stay up late.  Later evening callouts may not be convenient for you, but they might just be best for students.  Consult past participants for their thoughts.
  • Post your event on the Study Abroad Calendar. You can add your callout via your program leader page.
  • Invite past participants or Study Abroad Ambassadors to ensure a student’s perspective.
  • Provide a snack or pizza. Tip:  Have the pizza cut into squares instead of slices to extend the reach.
  • Play a slide show of past photos and have plenty of brochures to handout.
  • Keep a contact list for all who attend.
    • Expect emails from students who cannot attend, but are interested.
  • Follow up afterwards with a link to the application page and suggested next steps (talk to families, advisors, financial aid, etc.).
  • If a student attends, they’re very likely to apply. If not right away, in the next year or two.