Applications are in, and most acceptance letters are out (or getting stamped right now!) But admission staff can't kick back and relax just yet. There is one important piece of this season's admission campaigns left: getting accepted students to say "yes!"
In most cases, your independent school wasn't the only school your accepted student applied to. So, while you can sit back and hope for the best, it's better to be proactive. Once students get their acceptance letters, the very first thing they're going to do is head back to your website and social media to see what's new and relevant to them. So, you need to have something ready.
Here are four awesome tips (with examples!) from some of our schools who know how to get accepted students to enroll.
1. Create a "Welcome" video.
On March 10 (the same day most independent schools sent out their acceptance letters) Avon Old Farms School posted this video welcoming new students to campus:
While the video, like all of AOF's videos, is brilliantly produced, the concept is simple: personally welcome your accepted students to campus. So, even if you don't have a full suite of camera gear — grab your iPhone and head out around campus to capture a similar authentic, personal message for your accepted students.
2. Craft a beautiful landing page with relevant content for them to visit.
Because the very first place students will want to visit (again) is your website, it is much better to send them to a page with content relevant to them than just your homepage. On this landing page, you'll want to include:
- A video, if you made one — or, a photo slideshow can be just as good!
- Reasons to attend your school
- A form to register for a revisit day / accepted student day
- Testimonials or interviews from current students, parents, and faculty
In addition, be sure your landing page is free and clear of any confusing navigation or calls-to-action, like "Give" or "Inquire" that are sometimes automatically added based on your site's navigation and structure.
Looking for inspiration? Our Lady of Good Counsel High School does a magnificent job getting accepted students excited about their choice.
When you visit the page, you're immediately greeted by "YES" at the top of the screen, and a fun, bubbly video. The personal "Congratulations" message, student quotes, FAQs and promotion of social media is the perfect combination that every independent school should want to replicate.
Another great landing page example comes from Avon Old Farms, which checks every box listed above, and then some.
This landing page is the ideal mix of information and great content: complete with the same video they posted on social, a CTA to RSVP for their "Avon Today" accepted student day, value propositions, information about "Avon Today," testimonials, and start of school resources
3. Follow up acceptance letters with a targeted email one week later.
You already know a lot about your prospective students, so now it's time to use that to your advantage. Split your list of accepted students by interest, location, type of student (day, boarding, international, etc.) and then, send them an email with content that is most relevant to them.
For example, create separate emails for students interested in different sports or programs, then share content, news stories, and testimonials via email from students and faculty involved in those programs. Also consider inviting them to upcoming events on campus to get them to visit before a scheduled commitment day. For example, if you know they're interested in theatre, invite them to an upcoming play. Or, if they're interested in lacrosse, encourage them to attend an upcoming game.
A few other pro tips:
- Be sure to include personalization tokens, like "first name" to make the emails feel like it is just for them
- Include a call-to-action to visit the landing page you may have already sent to them. If you haven't created one yet, now is the time!
- In addition to the one-week follow up email, be sure to send reminder invites for your revisit day / commitment night. Just don't send too many — two, tops.
- If you don't have the time to get personal (although, you should!) be sure to follow up with an email communication to accepted students that includes content and information to help them make their decision.
4. Create a branded hashtag.
Today, prospective families look to the recommendations of others to make their final decision — and social media is going to play a huge part in that this year. Encourage accepted students to share that they've said "yes" to your school on social media using a branded hashtag. It's an awesome way to generate authentic content from real students, rather than ask your marketing team to come up with something.
Want to make sure accepted students post on social? Follow suit with Westover School, who encourages accepted students to upload a photo of them wearing their new Westover t-shirt to Instagram to win a Westover Patagonia. (Really, who doesn't want a new Patagonia?!)
OLGS also encouraged accepted students to post their acceptance on social media, using the #YestoGC hashtag, and it's already getting a ton of traction on Twitter:
You want your accepted students to say "yes" so it's important to make them feel special and informed about their decision — and your website and social media are the best places to do this.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite's Content Marketing Manager, Mia plans and executes a variety of inbound marketing and digital content strategies. As a former TV and news reporter, freelance cinematographer and certified inbound marketer, Mia specializes in helping schools find new ways to share their stories online through web design, social media, copywriting, photography and videography. She is the author of numerous blogs, and Finalsite's popular eBook, The Website Redesign Playbook.