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Auburn University uses InternetCarbon to launch its in-house Pathway program.

In early 2012, Auburn University made an executive decision to launch an in-house university pathway program called Global Bridge Program. The program's business objective is to better utilize university resources over the summer months. The pathway allows foreign students to live on campus during the summer and enroll in a program that pulls language instruction from the university's ESL division and academic courses from the university's summer school catalog. If the student is successful, they may continue at Auburn through a conditional admissions offer.

As time was of the essence, Auburn turned to InternetCarbon and Lead Consultant Mark Shay to assist in the launch of the program. For this program, and this program only, it was determined that using overseas recruiting agents was appropriate and beneficial to the university. It is emphasized that Auburn has not and has no plans to use agents for regular undergraduate admissions and the universities other ESL programs.

The project was to support the university administration in their launch of the program. The project plan included:

  1. Assist AU in understanding the agent environment and guide a decision to a large direct to student advertising campaign or go through agents
  2. Assess program's current marketability and recommend enhancements to proposed program structure.
  3. Develop list of program's Features, Advantages and Benefits
  4. Draft and edit program announcement Press Release
  5. Support AU's creation of program brochures, web site development, enrollment application and other student marketing/promotional material (for non-agent represented students)
  6. Design offer to agents including commission structure, terms and conditions. Work with AU on systems to contract and pay agents
  7. Develop standard agent agreement (contract)
  8. Identify potential agents
  9. Create promotions and marketing material for agent solicitation including flyers, brochures and PowerPoint presentations
  10. Develop agent review checklist and screening process
  11. Commence marketing efforts and engage agents in discussions about program representation
  12. Collect agent referrals, provide due diligence/background checks for AU to assess agent eligibility
  13. Guide dialog with agents and provide support to AU through contract potential negotiations
  14. Support AU's development of marketing material for the agents to offer their students
  15. Support AU's development of training manuals and training videos for agent counselors and support staff
  16. Conduct initial agent counselor training
  17. Support ELP's web site expansion and digital marketing initiatives
  18. Work to establish lead referrals from UG admissions and university recruiting efforts, determine a strategy for directing leads to direct enrollment or referral to agents
  19. Train and orient staff and administration on agent business practices and develop agent-friendly procedures
  20. Assess agent progress, encourage promotion of program and provide support to agents through their early recruiting efforts
  21. Advise AU on agent and prospective student activity, help establish reporting metrics/dashboard to measure progress and predict enrollment success
  22. Assist AU in development of alternative marketing strategies such as Search Engine Advertising, advertising on portal sites and directories if enrollment volume is deemed insufficient
  23. Provide additional help and support as needed to bring the first class on board by May 17, 2012

Milestones Reached

Training and Familiarization of University Staff – January 2012

University Agent Contract approved, purchasing process implemented – February 2012

Agents Solicited and Bids Collected – March 2012

Nominated Agents presented to University Committee – April 2012

Six Agents selected, training and familiarization Nominated Agents presented to University Committee – April 2012

Agents commence marketing and student recruiting – April 2012

Due to the late start, only two students were recruited through agents in 2012. A much stronger class was recruited for summer 2013. Late in 2013 the university determined that they would pursue a third-party to operate a Pathway program and the Global Bridge was suspended.

View that RFP