7 Guidelines for Hosting a Successful Study Abroad Fair
Congratulations! You are leading a study abroad program. In addition to playing the role of facilitator, liaison, financial manager, event planner, and diplomat, you’re charged with promoting the program to students, as well. One of the best ways to do this is by hosting a study abroad fair. Here are seven guidelines to make your event a success.
The More the Merrier
To make a fair successful you need to drive student attendance with exciting and appealing exhibits. Here’s some examples of who you could invite to the event to exhibit with you:
- Other study abroad programs on campus
- Partner exchange universities
- Partner companies that offer international internships
- Financial aid
- Passport agency
A pleasing room design and setup are critical to the success of the fair. One example of how to accomplish this is to post a world map on the wall with pins indicating the different study abroad locations. This one simple visual will convey the programs’ context and add excitement. Don’t underestimate the power of distributing directional floor plans of the room to attendees. Knowing what is represented at each table helps students quickly identify the program they are interested in attending. Also, keep those table banners high so people can easily see them.
Remember to create a meaningful and simple title and description of your program. Develop a brochure highlighting what the student will achieve through your program and distribute them at the table. Include in the brochure specific information about the program, financial aid information, additional details about the location, pictures of students in past programs, the application process, and most importantly the web address of where students can apply.
Ask past students to join you at your table to help promote the program. Include a monitor that runs pictures and videos of past attendees in their host countries.
Check Them In
Ask the attendees to sign in. You can do this as part of a raffle. Some institutions use event software to log in participants. This makes it easy to follow up and answer questions or provide further information.
At the Podium
Incorporate a presentation area and enable the exhibitors to highlight their programs for 10 minutes each. Post the times for each presentation on the floor plan distributed to attendees.
Promote the Fair
Make sure you promote the fair around campus. Here are some suggestions to get the word out:
- Develop and hang posters and fliers throughout campus
- Create table tents and put them in all gathering spots including libraries, cafeterias
- Announce study abroad opportunities on your school’s radio
- Write a blog post about the fair and submit an announcement in the school paper
- Collaborate with colleagues and pitch the fair in their classrooms
- Use social media -- Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter
- Ask past program students to promote the fair on their social media
The fair date can sneak up on you. You must have your program ready for applications prior to the event. There is nothing more debilitating to a program than not having the application up and running when an excited student is ready to apply. Your program’s website should include the title and description, testimonials and pictures from students of past programs, cost and credit information, a link to financial aid, a concise description of the process, link to passport information, and a clear link to the application.