The Big Pond Start Abroad Program

Setting your college / university apart through first year programming abroad

We specialize in building stimulating first semester and first year programs in Dublin that will differentiate your school, boost retention and enhance your enrollment management strategy.

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1 in 4

first years won’t return for their second year.

1 in 10

first years will transfer to another college.

Our First Year Abroad program in Dublin has an even higher freshmen-to-sophomore retention rate than our home campus, which in itself is well above the state average.
Dr. John Peters, Dean of International Programs, Marist College, NY & Big Pond First Year Abroad partner

Improve your enrollment management model

First year programming as an approach to enrollment management

11%
Increase in annual applications to the higher education sector through March 2021.

Bolster your enrollment management strategy by giving your waitlist applicants a conditional route to either semester two, or year two enrollment.

Even for colleges & universities with a better than average first-year retention rate, there are too many empty seats beyond the first semester.

Meanwhile, many applicants are compelled to choose elsewhere because they have been waitlisted; a growing trend prompted by the ease of applicants to cast a wider net.

Partnering with Big Pond allows you to:

  • Run a program for a group of ordinarily waitlisted students.
  • Reduce the financial impact of others dropping out or moving elsewhere during their first year.

First year programming as a differentiator

9%
The projected drop from 2012-2029 in overall enrollment at 4-year schools.
Source: HEDI

Setting your school's offering apart is more vital now than ever.

The 2020s are already being shaped by the demands of demographic change, technological progress and an increasingly values-driven student.

Building a first year program in Dublin for your incoming, matriculating students provides you with an additional differentiator in your college / university’s toolkit.

Partnering with Big Pond allows you to:

  • Build a 'start abroad' program that allows students to use financial aid, as they would on your home campus.
  • Make Dublin an option at the point of application.
  • Broaden your appeal to prospective applicants.

Key features

An established model

The courses available through the Big Pond Start Abroad Program come from a variety of subject areas, and provide a fascinating entry point for your students’ first experience in a university environment. They have been selected to provide the highest chance of mapping against your own first semester/year.

Our core courses include a number of community-based learning opportunities specifically designed for the first year international learner. Our optional offerings are drawn from a comprehensive portfolio of accredited courses, around which we build your unique program. These span disciplines such as business, humanities, liberal arts and computing.

We recognize you may want to send faculty to teach at least one of your own courses. Our model is designed to accommodate that, and we work closely with your visiting staff to support the pastoral needs of your students, as well as the staff themselves.

Your university’s program, your university’s identity.

Customize your pathway so it truly reflects your university’s ethos, academic and non-academic goals.  We have experience of working with schools who have incorporated the following in their program:

Academic completion requirements, which maintain GPA consistency with the home campus.

An online component, supported by our IT infrastructure.

Site staff with a pastoral role.

Academic site staff teaching their university’s course in lieu of a Big Pond course.

Specific excursions to sites in Ireland and beyond reflecting their university’s identity.

Personal, pastoral and residence life

Our Start Abroad Program has been built with the personal and academic growth of your students in mind.

In partnering with Big Pond, your students will benefit from a number of inclusive, unique enhancements.  They have all been inspired by our vision of what a sustainable, resilience-building education abroad program should be.

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