Global Engagement Solutions for Higher Education

Peralta Community College
From its home base in northern California, Peralta Community College educates more than 30,000 students a year across four campuses in Berkeley, Alameda, and Oakland.
The campuses have drawn as many as 1,000 international students to its doors each year for vocational and associate degree programs and ESOL classes.
Growing Pains
  • Student batch registration wasn’t integrated with the school’s internal software systems.
  • The international education team spent hours manually registering hundreds of students into the system each semester.
Peralta sought relief from its previous software provider and found Terra Dotta’s International Student & Scholar Services solution.
Tedious Tasks
As Peralta’s population of international students grew, the work to keep all of the information straight became even more tedious.
Before Terra Dotta we used so much paper as part of the application process. We had so many students submitting partial applications but never keeping in touch with us. We had all these paper applications piling up.
—Thomas Torres-Gil
Director of International Education
Before Terra Dotta, other issues piled up too.
  • When new information came in, it would need to be updated in multiple places.
  • Paper applications often weren’t complete or were difficult to read due to the handwritten nature.
  • There was no way to digitize even the most routine tasks. Everything required manual data entry.
  • Filing cabinets were everywhere, stuffed with student applications and requests for reduced course loads, optional practical training and extensions. Staff wasted time searching for the right information.
“We needed to look for a better long-term solution. Terra Dotta had the most complete package, and the rates were very reasonable.”
Taming Tedious Tasks
While there was some initial resistance to change, the move has been better for the institution, their students, and for the planet. After the first semester with Terra Dotta, the office went paperless.

Now with Terra Dotta…
is easy
Peralta can create and update SEVIS records in batch, ensuring that the information is accurate; regularly using the SEVIS-embedded browser for queries and reports.
is painless
Fewer prospective students are filling out the application on a whim. Filtering allows staff to focus on serious applicants.
is seamless
When new profiles are created, Peralta can quickly reach out to ensure students are moving through the process and are notified about deadlines.
is cleaner
Sloppy handwriting and skipped sections on applications are no longer an issue. Within Terra Dotta, applications must be filled out in full.
is faster
Students can now log in to the system and find needed documents. Same goes for Peralta staff, who can quickly cross check information and be assured that it is up-to-date.
is seamless
Peralta can dive deep into the data to learn more about its international student population. They’ve incorporated surveys into the platform to get information from where students plan to live to how they rate the international office’s services.
is open
With applications and student documents online, Peralta was able to open a second international education office at its popular Berkeley campus to better serve students.
The bread and butter of what we use Terra Dotta for is knocking out requests and having an easy place to make sure students can log in and quickly and efficiently submit a request. It is so much easier and saves so much time.
—Thomas Torres-Gil
Director of International Education
As the world reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 and Peralta shifted to virtual learning, the international education office was able to quickly transition to remote work while continuing to serve its students.

With Terra Dotta, Peralta could:
Peralta downloaded data from SEVIS to see if its international students had departed the United States.
Using a personalized template and query in Terra Dotta, Peralta emailed all active students to let them know about a Zoom meeting where they could learn more about what was next. More than 100 students joined.
Terra Dotta allowed us to digitize a process that is standard and routine. It allowed us to focus on other ways to improve what we are doing. We now have extra time to go do that. We have prioritized getting connected with our students, and technology and Terra Dotta was our first big step.
See for yourself.

For more information about how Terra Dotta can help you manage your outbound study abroad students, contact us.

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