Essential Recruiting Tips for Your Custom Program

As summer roster deadlines approach for faculty-led programs, you may be teetering on the edge of making your minimum number. By collaborating with ISA Custom Programs, not only do you get the various layers of program support, you also get ISA’s marketing expertise. ISA can work with you to promote your program on the ISA website and social media accounts, develop a custom flyer, and promote on-campus with ISA Global Ambassadors and ISA Reps. However, recruiting the number of students required to run a program depends largely on faculty and Study Abroad Office efforts. Programs do not sell themselves, but need cheerleaders to build student interest and fill programs. We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips and tricks to keep in mind as you make your final push for students to enroll in your program.

Man jumping silhouette (Unsplash) - Joshua Earle

Build relationships with your students and target audience.

Capitalize on the relationship you already have with your students and build upon that to encourage them to have this experience with you. Emphasize how their experience on your program will contribute to their future goals and success. Recruit quality students in good academic standing with a major or strong interest relating to your program’s academic focus.

Contextualize your program.

How will your program benefit the student? What are the advantages for the student? Stress the benefits of study abroad—academic, intellectual, professional, intercultural, personal growth. Don’t forget to mention career and employment prospects. Make your recruitment efforts specific to your target audience.

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As soon as the program is approved, work with your Custom Program Manager to develop a custom flyer for your program. Post flyers in a variety of popular student hangout spots around campus to create a buzz and get students talking about your program.

Classroom visits.

Speak to students in your classes and in those of your colleagues about study abroad. Ask for 5-10 minutes in colleagues’ classes to pitch your program. Consider inviting an Advisor from your campus’ Study Abroad Office to help when you have 10 minutes or more. Discuss the important details and share your contact information so students can get in touch with questions.

  • What: details, class offered, itinerary highlights
  • When: program dates
  • Where: program location, explain how the location complements the course content
  • Why: How will the class count toward the degree for your audience? What are the benefits of study abroad for students in your field?
  • How: provide application URL and deadline and scholarship information if applicable to students on your campus

White cliff over ocean in Realmonte Italy (Unsplash) - Davide Ragusa

Personal Contact.

Build on class visits with follow-up emails to students. Send group emails to students to alert them of upcoming deadlines and interesting things you plan to do on the program. Set up one-on-one office time with students who want more information.

For more creative ideas to promote your custom study abroad program, take a look at this helpful post, “Creative Ways to Promote Your Custom Program.” 

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Needing assistance in recruitment for your ISA Custom Program? Contact your Custom Program Manager directly.

Are you ready to start developing your ISA Custom Programs? To get started planning your own Custom Program, submit an interest form or contact us at

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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