U.S. Journal of Academics:
Generating inquiries. Generating ideas. Online since 1996.
USjournal.com, LLC provides efficient and effective services for the international education industry in two distinct markets:
Company Structure: Over the years, we've gleaned much of our inspiration from Harvard Business Review and their brilliant case studies. For example:
We're not a big company, by design. There are many reasons for the big successes of small nations. These countries lack the expensive, often flawed infrastructures of the larger powers that can block or dilute innovation. They can't afford systems that don't work, so they tend to devise practical inventions that are relatively bulletproof. And yes, new ideas can spread more easily through smaller, closely connected populations. Source: Harvard Business Review, Nov 2004
We help prospective international students avoid over-choice. Other sites simply serve as directories for the thousands of different options offered by the U.S. higher education system. We feature an exclusive list of U.S. campuses with excellent academics and outstanding support systems for international students. As Lisa Johnson noted in her book, Mind Your Xs and Ys, The people of Generation X and Generation Y crave... a filter they can trust to edit the morass of products and information out there. USjournal serves as that filter for globally-minded students interested in studying in the USA.
USjournal.com, LLC Quick Facts
Cheryl Darrup-Boychuck, Owner / Chief International Education Officer
Sponsoring U.S. Campuses at USjournal.com and our multi-lingual sister sites
Non-English speakers currently comprise more than two-thirds of the total online population; that figure is expected to grow to about 75 percent in the next few years, when native Chinese speakers begin to outnumber native English speakers online. We've been translating, localizing, and promoting our content into targeted languages (on dedicated domains) for more than ten years:
We have been very pleased and impressed with the quality of USjournal services. You have made enormous progress in expanding the reach and effectiveness of USjournal while remaining attentive and responsive to our specific needs. It's a pleasure working with you. - Mark Feder, American Consortium of Universities and Interlink Language Centers; one of the vast majority of USjournal customers who renewed their contracts last year.
USjournal.com began as a glossy print publication (known as the U.S. Education Journal) in the early 1990s. USjournal actually went online in April 1996. In the Spring of 2000, the domain USjournal.com was acquired by Cheryl DarrupBoychuck. Here's a brief overview of what we've been doing since then, in reverse chronological order.
October 2003: USjournal and our sister sites continue to add value to our international student recruitment services. We're launching creative campaigns, both online and offline, to reach a broader scope of prospective students from around the world. A few examples: Cross-promotional efforts with respected agents in Asia, coordinating group English programs for South American students, and exposure at U.S. university fairs in Europe.
These new activities are leading us into more of a gray area, where the results of our efforts are not so easily tracked. When we went online in April 1996, we anticipated a simple black-and-white scenario for measuring Return on Investment: At the end of each enrollment cycle, our advertisers would simply cross-reference their enrollee list with the names on their customized USjournal Excel Reports. If only life were so simple... and in some cases, life is that simple. But we've learned that reality, in most cases, is messier than that. Prospective students (and parents) need to hear about your campus from a variety of sources, including the Internet, friends and relatives, agents, fairs and so on. And that's why we're collaborating with those entities to best serve our advertisers.
USjournal.com is also responding to industry demand for tailored marketing consultations and web development services. Our Marketing Retreats are still available to current advertisers for free at our headquarters in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania (only through 30 June 2004).
We are also available to host the unique retreats on campus, for an additional fee. The cost includes a customized agenda, training for an unlimited number of colleagues, and formal recommendations. As a natural evolution to those services, we are also able to build customized international marketing / admissions websites for particular campuses. Please let me know if you'd like more details.
July 2003: I especially like the fact that the students filter themselves. We get quite a number of inquiries where it is apparent that we are just one of 20 or so academic institutions that the student has contacted with the click of a key. We like your way better. -- Current USjournal advertiser
May 2003: Carole Cummings, former overseas educational advisor and current manager of USjournal's award-winning sister site EstudiosUSA.com, co-presented a session entitled eRecruitment Trends and Techniques for International Admissions at the Annual NAFSA Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.
March 2003: Cheryl DarrupBoychuck, C.E.O. of USjournal, co-presented a session entitled Global Climate Change and Recruiting for Intensive English Programs at the Annual TESOL Convention in Baltimore, Maryland.
Spring 2003: Over the course of two months, we revised eight non-English language domains within our family of sister sites (in addition to our model domain, EstudiosUSA.com in Spanish):
Interest from both students and advertisers dictate the depth of our language translations, and we refresh that content and supplement it regularly. Advertisers who choose any of our non-English services have the option of translating their entire campaign, including their Info Page, Program Listings and Automated Responses. Or they may simply wish to translate their Info Page, and maintain an English inquiry form. Again, the strategy depends on that particular advertiser's staff language capabilities, as well as the level of English proficiency they're seeking. Some advertisers prefer that their inquiring students can navigate an English inquiry form, while others will accept very elementary learners of English who prefer to complete an inquiry form in their native language. Let us know what you think!
February 2003: Cheryl presented our unique Project: Think Link at the in-country workshop held for EducationUSA advisors in Mexico City.
January 2003: Yahoo! en Espaņol awarded EstudiosUSA.com, the Spanish sister site of USjournal, its Education Site of the Year! We intend to duplicate that successful model with our other non-English pages throughout 2003. Stay tuned, as USjournal continues to lead the way in this dynamic industry of online international student recruitment.
Have you had a chance to read NAFSA's Report of the Strategic Task Force on International Student Access, titled In America's Interest: Welcoming International Students? Their fifth recommendation, Address Complexity with a Marketing Plan, reads in part: "It is essential to develop a user-friendly, comprehensive, sophisticated, web-based information resource through which international students will be able to understand and assess the higher education options available to them in the United States, and identify possible financing options. This online resource should allow students to rank their personal preferences (cost, location, academic program, etc.) and should provide links to institutions that match up with their preferences. Ideally, these links would then allow students to apply for admission online." That recommendation parallels what USjournal has been doing since April 2001.
December 2002: USjournal launches a major re-design! Let us know what you think.
September 2002: In response to advertiser feedback, we introduced a new category in our Field of Study Options on our Simple Student Selection page: Law / Legal Studies. According to our colleague (who is the director of a very well-respected English Language Institute), Law / Legal Studies is a growing area of interest internationally. Virtually every country in South America, Eastern Europe, parts of Asia, and many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa are in the midst of major judicial reform; judges, lawyers, and legislators are looking to the States for training. Many recent federal grants specifically address judicial reform as a prime area for funding. Of course, our intention is to attract more student users who are interested in specific programs offered by our advertisers (including Legal English). Current advertisers may contact cheryl@USjournal.com to modify their campaigns to include this new option.
August 2002: USjournal goes wireless! After extensive research, we invested in a sophisticated wireless application, where our site and most of its functions are accessible on hand-held internet devices, globally. One of our primary motivations is to tap deeper into the Asian market with this new technology; for example, in Japan roughly twice as many internet subscribers connect via wireless than dial-up, cable-modem and DSL combined.
July 2002: We launched a new German section of our site, as well as modified versions of Korean, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese. These revisions complement our recent release of sister-site EstudiosUSA.com in Spanish!
June 2002: U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Specialists Debora Sykes and Samuel J. Cerrato joined Cheryl for lunch at our headquarters in Mount Carmel, Pennsylvania. We discussed several ways to work together, including our Project: Think Link, where web sites around the world embed our search mechanism within their pages.
October 2001: In response to advertiser feedback, we added a new option to the Academic Level category on our simple selection page: Group Programs for Professionals. We started considering the concept with our advertisers a few months ago, after a meeting with the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission. At the time, we opted to lump those group programs under our Short-Term Training / Certificate category. However, we recognized the value in distinguishing the individuals from the group inquiries. Group inquiries tend to originate from a central source such as a corporate environment or a government-sponsored entity. As usual, any advertiser may request any modifications to their campaign (such as inclusion in this new listing) at any time throughout the course of our 12-month contract. Just send us an e-message.
April 2001: We launched a major site revision that significantly enhances our position in the field of online international student recruitment. We are not aware of any other organization that features our current level of sophistication.
Our new, copyrighted system helps non-U.S. students learn more about U.S. campuses that specifically seek to enroll them. The system clearly supports our fundamental objective: To facilitate human interaction between prospective non-U.S. students and U.S.-based admissions counselors. By taking advantage of proven technology, USjournal is able to help our sponsors minimize mundane tasks (like re-keying data), and maximize the time spent personally communicating with candidates most likely to qualify for their particular programs. We strive for a cost-effective ratio of inquiry to actual enrollee.
We realize that, in spite of all of the world's technological advancements, the admissions decision is still based on personal conversations. Increasingly, those conversations occur via e-mail and other online mechanisms. USjournal simplifies that process by offering our advertisers the option of customizing practically every element of their promotional campaign, from Info Pages to automated responses -- all for one very reasonable price! Contact us for details.
Student Perspective: Beginning in the second quarter of 2001, the prospective student visitor is guided to our simple selection page. There the student selects criteria from different categories: Degree, Academic Program, Financial Support and Geographic Preference. When the student clicks the box for the results, programs that match his / her criteria appear. Program links lead to the sponsor's Customized Info Page, from which the student has the option of reviewing all of that sponsor's programs listed at USjournal. The student then selects the program that interests him / her, and completes a form with all pertinent information. Within five minutes after clicking the Send button, the student receives an automated response acknowledging receipt of his / her inquiry. Advertisers may customize that response, at no additional charge.
Sponsor Perspective: USjournal sponsors have the privilege of updating their promotional content for no additional charge at any time throughout the duration of their 12-month contract. Content includes
USjournal sponsors are welcome to "put themselves in the shoes" of an international student, and experiment with our site to ensure accuracy. The beauty of the internet lies in its transparency; given the same parameters, you will see the same results as anyone else, anywhere in the world.
The sponsor receives each student inquiry in two different formats. Within five minutes after the student clicks "Send," a copy of the information is e-mailed to the sponsor. In response to sponsor feedback, we structured the new system so the "From:" field in those forwarded e-mail messages now displays the student's e-address, and not cheryl@USjournal.com.
The student's information is also captured in a simple Excel Spreadsheet, which is attached to a periodic e-mail message to the sponsor. The sponsor may choose to receive their Excel attachments weekly, monthly or quarterly from USjournal. As you may know, Excel Spreadsheets are importable to database programs such as Microsoft Access, FileMakerPro, and others. It's a great way to streamline any prospect management system! To take full advantage of our features, USjournal advertisers may direct all of their prospective international student web traffic to their pages within USjournal. Our superb tracking and filtering mechanisms truly maximize efficiencies in online recruitment.
Upcoming Phases: We're rolling out USjournal's upgrade in several phases, depending on sponsor feedback. The next phase, for example, will enhance our multi-lingual capabilities. Contact us for details about other planned features. We always appreciate your comments!