NEGAP 2011: Creating an International Student Friendly Website


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Learn how to create a comprehensive web site that caters to the complex and specific needs of international undergraduate and graduate students. Presentation by Ashraf Zawaideh, Director of International Recruitment and Government Sponsored Programs at the University of New Haven, at the NEGAP Annual Conference on November 18, 2011.

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NEGAP 2011: Creating an International Student Friendly Website

  1. 1. Creating an International Student Friendly Web Site By: Ashraf Zawaideh Director of International Recruitment & Government Sponsored Programs
  2. 2. <ul><li>One web site for all international students (UGs & Grads) or separate sites ? Look at your own dept </li></ul><ul><li>Prioritize what information is important to YOUR international applicants </li></ul><ul><li>One language or multiple foreign languages </li></ul><ul><li>Keep it Sweet and Simple. Don ’t Overwhelm them with irrelevant info </li></ul><ul><li>Use bullets, Checklists and Key Facts. No paragraphs </li></ul><ul><li>Involve your IT Dept in the design, layout and maintenance </li></ul>First Things First
  3. 3. <ul><li>Prospective International Students Section </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be aware of the top 10 things international prospects want to know when they get to your web site </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Accepted International Students Section </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Deposit Info </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>I-20, SEVIS, & Visa info </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Health Requirements Info </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pre-Departure & Orientation Info </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Housing info </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employment and Career Services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>FAQs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Current International Students Section </li></ul><ul><ul><li>School Policies and Immigration Regulations </li></ul></ul>Divide It Up Into 3 Sections
  4. 4. <ul><li>Location & Weather </li></ul><ul><li>Accreditation & Ranking </li></ul><ul><li>Academic majors, STEM majors & popular majors </li></ul><ul><li>Admission requirements, English language requirements & Standardized Tests </li></ul><ul><li>How to apply: Application Forms, Application Fee , Application Deadlines & Conditional Admissions Availability </li></ul><ul><li>Cost: Be Transparent. Yearly (I-20 and visa) costs vs . out-of-pocket cost per term & methods of payment. </li></ul><ul><li>Scholarships & Assistantships & how to apply for them </li></ul><ul><li>I-20, SEVIS &Visa requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Housing options </li></ul><ul><li>Employment & Career Services </li></ul>Top 10 Things They Need to Know When They Get to your Site
  5. 5. <ul><li>If there is no direct link to “int’l students” on your home page, students will click the link for “prospective students.” </li></ul><ul><li>List requirements & documents that apply to international students preferably by country </li></ul><ul><li>Translate pages for your target audience </li></ul><ul><li>Proportion of international students at the university and class profiles </li></ul><ul><li>Quotes and profiles of accepted and current international students </li></ul>Keep In Mind
  6. 6. <ul><ul><li>SEVIS Fee : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Visas : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Student Visas : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exchange Visitors Visas : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forms : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Embassy Locations Worldwide : </li></ul></ul>SEVIS Fee and Visas
  7. 7. <ul><li>DO provide: </li></ul><ul><li>Web link for international students. On your international admissions home page include the link and refer applicants to the EducationUSA center in their country. </li></ul><ul><li>Regional accrediting association details. Accreditation is a key element in the selection process. </li></ul>Suggested Do ’s and Don’ts from EducationUSA
  8. 8. <ul><li>Tuition and cost information. List the total amount that will appear on I-20 or DS-2019 forms as well as individual programs costs. </li></ul><ul><li>Months & specific dates. List important dates for completion of required testing, application deadlines, notification, orientation and enrollment. </li></ul><ul><li>Deadlines. Prominently list deadlines with clear mailing instructions. </li></ul>Do Provide- Cont…1
  9. 9. <ul><li>Contact information. List names and numbers for all offices dealing with international students. </li></ul><ul><li>FAQs. List commonly asked questions and answers about your institution/foreign student admissions and services. </li></ul><ul><li>Checklist. List required documents and tests. </li></ul><ul><li>Local information. Include campus size in hectares, average local temperatures in Celsius, distances in kilometers, etc. </li></ul>Do Provide- Cont…2
  10. 10. <ul><li>Downloadable application. Provide in a variety of formats. Application fee waivers or allow students without credit cards to mail application fee after completing on-line applications. </li></ul><ul><li>Information on program eligibility List which programs are open to international candidates and which are not, if relevant. </li></ul><ul><li>Number of credit hours. Specify how many credits are needed to be enrolled full-time. </li></ul>Do Provide- Cont…3
  11. 11. <ul><li>Require Social Security Numbers. </li></ul><ul><li>Require GPAs. Many countries do not recognize the concept of GPAs </li></ul><ul><li>Require zip codes or a U.S. addresses. </li></ul><ul><li>Use terms “fall” and “spring”. These are confusing to students from the southern hemisphere or areas with no seasons. </li></ul><ul><li>Give 800 numbers. They ’re not toll free outside the U.S. </li></ul><ul><li>Use “college” to refer to university-level programs. </li></ul>DO NOT
  12. 12. <ul><li>Require original copies of academic certificates. </li></ul><ul><li>Many international students cannot obtain multiple originals of their academic certificates. </li></ul><ul><li>Define what you mean by certified, and provide a PDF example. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide instructions for submitting a signed copy provided by the home university. </li></ul><ul><li>Refer students to an EducationUSA center for assistance: </li></ul>DO NOT- Cont…2
  13. 13. <ul><li>Provide institutional/departmental codes for score reporting </li></ul><ul><li>Provide guidelines on letters of recommendation or use TEMPLATES </li></ul><ul><li>Give CLEAR guidelines and OPTIONS on payment of application fee and tuition </li></ul><ul><li>Provide CLEAR Mailing and Contact Instructions </li></ul><ul><li>Provide Sample Applications & Application Workshop Webinars </li></ul><ul><li>Mock Visa Interviews (Webinars) </li></ul>What Else
  14. 14. <ul><li>State University of New York at Plattsburgh & Buffalo </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Northern Arizona University </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Georgia Institute of Technology </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>University of New Haven </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>Good Examples