Freshman Cohort

A collaboration with: Via TRM  ///  IIE's Generation Study Abroad



Dear Commitment Partner, 

In order to double the number of study abroad students by 2020, students need to learn about international opportunities in their first year of college or sooner. For many majors, a rigid curriculum makes it even more important for students to plan for study abroad in their freshman year.  However, study abroad offices do not have the capacity to advise large groups of early stage students, focusing by necessity on students who are applying to go abroad. 

IIE's Generation Study Abroad and Via TRM are teaming up to work together in a strategic collaboration to create a freshman initiative for up to three eligible IIE Generation Study Abroad commitment partners to build a cohort of incoming first year students to start study abroad research and planning early.

As a part of the initiative, Via TRM will provide participating study abroad offices with an annual subscription to Via TRM software, which is the first platform with specific functionality designed to help international education offices engage early-stage students without needing to add staff or staff time to the effort. 

If the results of the strategic collaboration show strong user adoption and engagement with programs, increased participation from first-year students at events, and positive feedback from the international education staff, we will have an emerging and scalable model of first-year engagement to share with our field. If the results do not provide compelling evidence for a scalable model,  we will have data to report back to our field on hidden barriers and challenges unique to first-year students. 

We hope you will consider joining us in increasing freshman engagement with education abroad. 

Warm Regards, 


Samantha Martin, CEO of Via TRM

The Goal

The goal of the Freshman Cohort initiative is to provide large numbers of freshman students a meaningful way to engage with study abroad while freeing up staff to focus on students closer to application and pre-departure. 

Participating campuses will be able to track and communicate with  students engaged in program research and advising conversations in their first year through the cloud-based software platform Via TRM. By the end of the initiative, participating campuses will be able to better identify what type of community, content, and outreach gives freshman students the confidence to apply for scholarships and study abroad programs.

Introduction to Via TRM Software

A 60 second sneak peek inside the software platform powering the Freshman Cohort initiative. 

Participating campuses will choose from the following:

1) Via TRM "Outreach & Advising". This option is best for campuses who want to continue utilizing their existing enrollment management solution)

2)  Via TRM "Enrollment Management" (includes Outreach & Advising). This option is best for campuses who want to allow students to apply for programs through Via TRM. 

User Roles inVia TRM

Super Administrators are typically Directors or system administrators, who can…

  • Create the account & set up institutional contact information
  • Invite admins to the account
  • Approve major changes to the account
  • Access all features of an administrator

Administrators are typically international programs staff who recruit, advise, and enroll students on education abroad programs, who can…

  • Invite managers to the account and assign program access
  • Import, edit, and publish university program opportunities
  • Approve affiliate & partner program providers
  • Create new student records individually or import in a batch
  • Create and customize program applications
  • Search and filter all students/travelers in the system
  • View all student/traveler profiles
  • Create internal notes on students/travelers
  • Change application status 
  • Message individuals or groups
  • Upload and attach documents to messages
  • Create events
  • Generate and export reports to a CSV file
  • Make a student/traveler account active/inactive
  • Access all features of a manager

Managers are typically faculty who lead short-term travel programs, on-site coordinators, resident directors, part-time or hourly staff, who can…

  • Invite students/travelers to the account
  • Access student/traveler profiles associated with assigned programs
  • View student/traveler applications

Students/Travelers are typically enrolled students (but can also be non-students), who can…

  • Build a profile and monitor personal progress in every phase
  • Search and filter programs
  • Favorite a program to indicate interest
  • Apply for a program 
  • View courses and link to full syllabi
  • Send messages to and receive messages from managers and admins
  • View and complete tasks


1. The Plan 

Commitment partners use Via TRM as a way to cultivate the freshman cohort of students interested in going abroad. Via TRM will waive the one-time account set-up & training fee* and give a free Via TRM annual subscription to participating commitment partners for the first year. Via TRM will provide support & training, a user experience challenge, and a milestones timeline for participating commitment partners. The IIE Generation Study Abroad team will lead the effort to identify and vet eligible commitment partners.   

*Custom integrations with campus student information systems and software are available but will not be included as a part of the complimentary offering. Individual campus requests for changes to Via TRM software terms and conditions will be made at the sole discretion of the Via TRM team.

2. Account Set Up and Technical Support 

Via TRM will schedule a 1-2 hour initial account set-up and training session with each study abroad office individually. A small office can typically create an account, import programs, and have students sign up in less than a week. A large office with many programs can also be up and running within 1 week, however, it is recommended to allow up to 3 weeks for full program customization prior to getting students into the system. Proactive and as-needed technical and customer success support from the Via TRM team will be available for the duration of the initiative. 

3. Community & Training 

Via TRM and IIE's Generation Study Abroad team will offer a one hour kick-off webinar with all participating commitment partners in August to introduce the group to each other, share campus goals for the initiative, review the timeline, and answer questions.  


1. Kick-off

Commitment partners of the Freshman Cohort Initiative are identified, campus goals and project owners are set, and initiate commitment partnerVia TRM accounts are created.  

2. Freshman Recruitment

Commitment partners and Via TRM team identify freshman acquisition channels, co-create an outreach timeline for the academic year, and implement/monitor results in an ongoing basis.  

3. Initial Report  

At the IIE Summit on Generation Study Abroad in DCA, Via TRM organizes a panel presentation and/or jointly produced print piece on the goals, commitment partner profiles, and early results of the initiative. 

5. Final Report 

Formal conclusion of the initiative ends on July 1, 2017. Commitment partners have the choice to renew their Via TRM subscription at a reduced rate or export their student data as a .CSV file and deactivate their Via TRM account. Pricing is a sliding scale based on the number of students sent abroad the previous year and the size of the office. Via TRM publishes final report and gives a presentation on results with commitment partner participants in fall 2017. 

"Organizations need to become effective players in the engagement economy."

Jane McGonigal


This initiative will be lead by Samantha Martin, CEO & Co-Founder.

With Support from: Via TRM Team

ready to launch in fall 2016?