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  History of the U.S. Journal of Academics, through December 2003

The U.S. Journal of Academics began as a glossy print publication (known as the U.S. Education Journal) in the early 1990s. The domain usjournal.com actually went online in April 1996. In the Spring of 2000, the domain usjournal.com was acquired by Cheryl Darrup-Boychuck. Here's a brief overview of what we've been doing since then, in reverse chronological order.


November 2003: We have enhanced our services yet again. We're now able to send customized messages (on behalf of our advertisers) to a particular subset of students from our ever-growing database. We structure the Direct eMail Campaigns without compromising our privacy policy, which prohibits us from selling or giving away our student information. Several advertisers are targeting students from specific countries where those advertisers will visit; other advertisers are targeting specific academic fields. There's no extra charge for this service; just let me know what we can do for you.

As usual, the U.S. Journal of Academics was well-represented at a few NAFSA Regional Conferences this November. We presented eRecruitment sessions at Region X in New York, and at Region VIII in Virginia. Thanks to all who attended and participated!

October 2003: The U.S. Journal of Academics 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.com 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.

As a result of these pioneering initiatives, our rates will increase (by approximately ten percent) effective 1 January 2004. Current advertisers may secure their 2003 rate for an extended period of time by reserving advertising space in advance; delayed billing is available. New advertisers may take advantage of 2003 rates by signing with us before 31 December 2003. As always, direct any questions to cheryl@usjournal.com. Pricing paperwork and procedures are available in pdf format from the links listed above.

The U.S. Journal of Academics 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.

We always appreciate your feedback: cheryl@usjournal.com


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.com advertiser

May 2003: Carole Cummings, former overseas educational advisor and current manager of usjournal.com'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 Darrup-Boychuck, C.E.O. of usjournal.com, 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 Darrup-Boychuck, C.E.O. of usjournal.com, 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.com, 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.com 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 the U.S. Journal of Academics has been doing since April 2001 (except for the fact that each of our sponsors pays a minimal amount, so that we're able to sustain ourselves). Read the details below to learn how we've been achieving this recommendation for years.


December 2002: usjournal.com 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.com 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. Click here for details.

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 U.S. Journal of Academics' CEO Cheryl Darrup-Boychuck for lunch at usjournal.com 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.


December 2001: We responded to the advice of a colleague who suggested that we supplement current filtering mechanisms for prospective international students (Academic Level, Field of Study, Financial Support and U.S. Geographic Preference on our simple student selection page). We added a category called Academic Performance to distinguish the most promising students.

As you know, international educators continue to seek ways to evaluate academic performance with a standard method worldwide, as grading scales are very different in various regions of the world. One increasingly popular method involves categorizing the student in relation to how well he or she performs compared to his or her peers. Students with the best grades rank in the Highest 10th of their class, while their peers with the lowest grades rank in the Fifth 5th. Average students fall into the categories of Second 5th and Third 5th. Site visitors may learn more about the approach via a link to a simple chart and further explanation. Similarly, the U.S. Journal of Academics features links to tools for our other filtering mechanisms, such as a Currency Converter for our Financial Support category, and a U.S. map for Geographic Preference.

Here's an example: The sponsor selects Second 5th in the Academic Performance category. That sponsor's particular programs will appear in the results for students selecting the Second 5th or higher, including Second 10th and Highest 10th. That sponsor's programs will not appear in the results of students selecting Third 5th, Fourth 5th or Fifth 5th under the category of Academic Performance. As with our other filtering mechanisms, all results will be displayed for sponsors who choose not to filter. Of course, each category selection works in conjunction with the other four filtering mechanisms.

The bottom line: By maximizing online efficiencies of clever computer code, www.usjournal.com sponsors are able to specifically target prospective students most likely to enroll in their particular programs. We encourage our sponsors to take full advantage of our customized, copyrighted system by requesting modifications to any element of their campaign at any time throughout the course of our 12-month contract. Simply e-mail us.

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. Learn more about the theory behind our visual presentation.

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, the U.S. Journal 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 inquirer 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. The U.S. Journal 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 http://www.usjournal.com/en/students/proguide/index.html. There the student selects criteria from five different categories: Degree, Academic Program, Academic Performance, Financial Support and Geographic Preference. When the student clicks the green box for the results, programs that match his / her criteria appear. Program links lead to the sponsor's Customized Info Page (such as http://www.usjournal.com/marshall.htm), from which the student has the option of reviewing all of that sponsor's programs listed at www.usjournal.com. 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 from www.usjournal.com acknowledging receipt of his / her inquiry. Advertisers may customize that response, at no additional charge.

Sponsor Perspective: U.S. Journal sponsors have the privilege of updating their promotional content, in English, for no additional charge at any time throughout the duration of their 12-month contract. Content includes

  • Customized Info Page (unlimited word count)
  • e-Addresses to whom the student inquiry is forwarded, based on student input
  • Automated Responses, based on student input
  • Inclusion in any combination of the categories listed on our student selection page.

U.S.Journal 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 www.usjournal.com. As you may know, Excel Spreadsheets are importable to database programs such as Microsoft Access, FileMakerPro, PeopleSoft and others. It's a great way to streamline any prospect management system! To take full advantage of our features, U.S. Journal advertisers may direct all of their prospective international student web traffic to their pages within www.usjournal.com. Our superb tracking and filtering mechanisms truly maximize efficiencies in online recruitment.

Twenty-three different fields are captured in each student inquiry. Three fields (Fax Number, English Language Proficiency and Additional Comments) are optional.

A. Date Student Completed Form (YYYY-MM-DD )
B. Given Name
C. Family Name
D. Postal Address
E. City
F. Region
G. Postal Code
H. Country, from the National Information Standards Organization
I. e-Mail Address
J. Telephone Number
K. Fax Number, if available
L. Date of Birth ( YYYY-MM-DD )
M. Citizenship, from the National Information Standards Organization
N. Gender
O. Language that the student specified
P. English Proficiency, if available
Q. Expected Start Date ( YYYY-MM-DD)
R. Academic Program Preference
S. Degree Preference
T. Academic Performance
U. Financial Support, per semester
V. Geographic Preference
W. Comments

Upcoming Phases: We're rolling out the U.S. Journal'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!