In a competitive landscape schools are leveraging their admissions strategies to attract as many quality prospects as their goals allow. But there are often 3 big roadblocks that stop schools from maximizing on their enrolments. In this post, we take a closer look at these roadblocks and how schools can overcome them.

Drowning in administration

A typical school enrollment requires a mountain of printing, scanning and attaching — for both the school and the parent. Once that’s complete, documentation and family information is stored in a variety of different places: folders on your computer, folders in your filing cabinet, entries in your student information system, notes in spreadsheets and saved emails in your inbox.

Even if you have a small school, it can be a huge challenge to collect every piece of information that you need to process an enrollment. The costs of maintaining a heavily administrative system also come into play. There are costs that are easy to quantify, including paper and printing costs, but there are also “hidden” costs as well. The extra staff time that it takes to maintain a paper-based or manual enrollment system can quickly add up.

How to fix it

Add an online enrollments form to your school website that collects all of the important information that you need to process a student enrollment. If your school needs to collect and store documents, add an upload function to your form so that parents can quickly and easily snap a photo or scan them and then add them directly from their computer or mobile.

Losing track of leads

Leads are students with the potential to enroll in your school, whose parents have already expressed their interest. Admissions teams have the responsibility to nurture these leads from their first touchpoint with the school through to enrollment. Unfortunately, many leads slip through the cracks somewhere along the admissions process.

This is usually due to schools capturing and storing data in multiple locations, with little visibility over which stage of the enrollment process leads are in. Think about all of the touchpoints that a prospective family might have with your school:

  • direct contact through phone or email
  • completing an online form on your website
  • reaching out through social media
  • attending an open day
  • speaking with school staff
  • attending an alumni event.

If there is no central database to record every interaction, it’s no wonder some leads go missing, and schools forget to follow up.

How to fix it

Nominate a central location to serve as your school’s intelligent database. This could be as basic as a shared spreadsheet, but many schools are now using a customer relationship manager (CRM). Regardless of which system you use, it’s important that every member of your team knows where the data is stored and regards it as the single point of truth for all leads.

Chasing payment

You’ve collected all of the student’s details. You’ve attached all of the correct documents. But it’s been over a month, and you’re still waiting for the enrollment fee. It’s time to chase up the payment, but quite frankly you’d rather poke yourself in the eye than get on the phone and have an awkward money conversation.

Chasing late payments is one of the most difficult jobs for any business, including a school, but it’s a crucial step to ensuring enrollments are processed and confirmed.

How to fix it

First, allow parents to pay the enrollment fees online. This means adding a payment gateway that integrates with your school’s bank to the last step of your online application form. Online payments encourage parents to pay the fees straight away.

Second, automate the awkwardness. If parents haven’t paid for their enrollment online, build friendly ‘nudge’ emails into your enrollment workflow (saving you from manually writing and sending multiple reminders).

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Published October 7 2021