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Marketing and recruitment strategies

YOU are the main marketer for your program. Students often connect with you through courses you have taught on campus. Market to your captive audience!

Selection of program participants must be in line with UW Non-discrimination policy.

Top reasons student apply to programs

  1. A friend told them about the program
  2. Location and term
  3. Courses offered fulfill graduation requirements
  4. Who is leading/teaching

Below are some marketing and recruitment ideas to get you started. The most successful recruiting strategies are direct and personal.

Marketing your program

  • Marketing your program to potential students starts with choosing a simple and appropriate title that grabs attention and interest.
  • Make the title a telling one; avoid jargon or obscure references – aim for concepts with which students will instantly connect and understand.
  • Write a program description to explain the program and the goals of the course.
  • Use clear, concise language.
  • Use photos and video so that students can better imagine themselves on your program.
  • Make your program sound educational, adventurous, challenging and fun.
  • Let students know not just what they will be doing, but what they will be getting from the program.

Contacting students

  • Use the UW Study Abroad online application management system to contact students as soon as they apply to the program.
  • Let them know when your information sessions and office hours will take place. Ask them if they have any questions. If you don’t know the answers to their questions, forward them to your program manager.
  • Schedule your interviews early. Set aside interview slot and message students that they can sign up in advance. Let them know they need to have completed their application by the application deadline in order to be considered for the program.
  • Visit the Managing application online page of the website for instructions on how to email students through the online system.
  • Admissions decisions must be made 12 days after the program deadline for students to be considered for UW Study Abroad Scholarships. See our Scholarship information for Program Directors page for more information. 

Website, blogs and social media

Students need access to information about your program. We will create a page for the program within the UW Study Abroad website, including promotional information and details from your program proposal. Students will apply to the program through this webpage.

You may also want to create a webpage that students can access through your department’s website. Consider sharing pictures, testimonials, videos, travel plans, etc. We will link to any supplemental webpage that you provide to us. Make sure that your site links to ours and does not have contradictory content.


Blogs (i.e. WordPress)  and social media are also great tools for sharing information, scheduling events, and giving an overview of the program dates, course descriptions, site visits, housing, and field trips. Since students are accustomed to using social media in their everyday life, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube can be a great platforms for promotion.

UW Catalyst Learning & Scholarly Technologies offers a variety of free tools.


Consider creating a short 1-3 minute video to promote your program (see Tips for Creating Promotional Videos). We can feature this video in your program brochure and on our social media channels.

For recurring programs, you can also see if any of your students put together a video of the program and ask them if you can use it for marketing purposes. Below is an example from the Urban Planning & Design UK, Netherlands, Denmark: Sustainable Urban Mobility program. Video credit: Collin Frietzsche


Flyers, posters and brochures

  • Make them simple and informative.
  • Provide only the most pertinent information: title, program and info session dates, contact info, and images of the site or past programs.
  • Direct students to the program website and contact information.

Below is a sample poster for the UW Study Abroad Fair that includes simple design, minimal text and bolded relevant information.

Where to post and share: 

  • Distribution at special events. If your program is proposed by November, promote it at the UW Study Abroad Fair.
  • Most buildings have open bulletin boards or will post approved information.
  • Residence halls will post flyers and posters around their buildings if you deliver them to the reception desks.
  • Target academic departments with a connection to your program and distribute recruitment materials to these sites – try contacting academic advisers for help.
  • Delivered to student affairs offices around campus.
  • UW Study Abroad will distribute and post flyers in our office. Having promotional materials on hand makes it easier to advise students.

Information sessions

  • Information sessions are an opportunity to elaborate on your program and course, entice students, answer their questions, and introduce them to maps, pictures, syllabi, even past participants.
  • Schedule during the recruitment period to help jumpstart applications and use the UW Study Abroad Events Calendar form to make sure the sessions are posted to your program brochure and the UW Study Abroad Events Calendar.
  • Plan a short presentation allowing for questions at the end.
  • Posting flyers that advertise the date and time of your info session around your department and other pertinent locations is important.
  • This information should also be posted to the program website and can be sent out over departmental email lists and posted to campus calendars.
  • Invite a study abroad program manager to your info sessions to help answer questions about financial aid, the application process, credits, etc.
  • Provide our Recruitment FAQs hand-out to students to help answer their questions:

Download Recruitment FAQs

Classroom visits

  • Visit classes in your department and also those covering material related to your program topics.
  • Collaborate with colleagues to arrange promotional visits.
  • Large lectures help you reach the widest audience and maximize your time.
  • Classroom visits should last only 3-7 minutes.
  • Provide flyers or brochures so that interested students can get more information.
  • Bring a simple overhead flyer that’s easy to read with only the most pertinent information on it.

Departmental outreach

Home department

Enlist the help of faculty and advisors. They have direct contact with students and can spread the word and help match students with your program.

Other departments

  • Reach out to other departments with curricula related to your program.
  • Explaining why your program is a good fit for their students.
  • Many departments have informational blogs, listservs, Facebook pages, and other methods to regularly share information and opportunities with students – ask if they will share information about your program.

Be creative!

  • Ask your current and previous students (and program alums!) to help spread the word via social media and personal connections.
  • Post program information on existing departmental resources: newsletters, websites, meetings, RSO, and other UW email lists.
  • Promote your program to relevant language and area-studies departments. Think about which kind of students you want on the program and market toward that population specifically.

Non-matriculated students


  • Students from other universities are eligible to participate in UW study abroad programs.
  • These students enroll as non-matriculated students and receive UW credits on a UW transcript that they can transfer to their home university.
  • Non-matriculated students can add value and numbers to your program, but they should not take the place of UW applicants.
  • UW students should have first priority on all faculty-led programs. If a program has a waitlist, all UW students from the waitlist must be admitted to the program before any non-matriculated students can be accepted.
  • Non-matriculated students should meet the same eligibility requirements as UW students and will need to complete the same pre-departure requirements as UW students in order to be enrolled and receive credit.
  • All students participating in your program must receive credit, including non-matriculated students.
  • High school students and graduating high school seniors are not eligible to participate in UW study abroad programs.
  • If your program has the space to accommodate a student from another university and the student’s interests are aligned with the program curriculum, it is appropriate to offer the student a place in the program.
  • Depending on the size of your program, you should limit the number of non-matriculated students to 3 to 5.

Application process

  • Non-matriculated students will apply to your program online, through the study abroad site, following a process similar to that of UW students.
  • Your program is open to non-matriculated students, please see the Non-matriculated student application section of the Managing Applications Online page.

Non-matriculated student application process:

  • UW Study Abroad generates a contract for non-matriculated students, including a non-matriculated application form. Students will be able to submit the contract online along with the non-matriculated application.
  • UW Study Abroad requests a temporary student number from the Registrar’s Office.
  • UW Study Abroad Office emails the student with their student number. The student can then set up a UW NetID and access their MyUW account. Non-matriculated students can access certain UW resources, tools, and UW Libraries with their NetID.
  • From this point, students follow the same pre-departure, enrollment and payment procedures as UW students.
  • The student is added to the official program roster.
  • Grades are reported in the same way for UW and non-matriculated students.