“School’s out for summer!”
But let’s be honest, that doesn't really mean much for your school’s admissions team. The work of an admissions professional doesn’t stop just because students are no longer in class. Inquiries, applications, tours, and interviews continue into the summer months long after books and laptops have been returned.
So while a summer checklist can seem daunting, it’s a perfect opportunity to give your school admissions pages a facelift and ensure your school is able to reach its enrollment goals.
Here are eight ways to refresh your admission pages this summer, including:
- Review and analyze your enrollment process
- Share your “why” on your tuition page
- Refresh your photos
- Publish your admissions events early
- Update your matriculation numbers
- Evaluate your calls to action
- Make sure these key admission pages are converting
- Have your admissions experience reviewed—for free!
1. Review your enrollment journey
A streamlined enrollment process is critical to ensuring prospective families have the best possible first impression of your school. And it ensures that you receive all the relevant information you need to personalize communications and best serve prospective students and families.
Personalize the Process
What information are you collecting on your initial inquiry form? Asking questions about personal goals, hobbies, and areas of academic interests will help personalize communications going forward and help build relationships with prospective families.
Inconsistent, one-off email communications and touchpoints may lose families throughout your enrollment process, and that means lower conversions, too. Parents now expect their communications to be personalized to them and their enrollment journey, plus personalization fosters genuine connections, making families feel more welcomed. It also demonstrates your commitment to nurturing their family’s experience.
Save your team time
Are you still juggling spreadsheets and manually uploading list after list? Start saving your team time and headaches by creating workflows, timed communications, and automatic data syncs between systems. Make enrollment and re-enrollment a breeze, and collect tuition payments faster with a streamlined admissions and enrollment process, so you can get back to what actually matters — building relationships with families. And trips to the beach.
Collect the data you need to inform strategy decisions
Access to critical enrollment data will guide your admissions strategy and assist your team with meeting its enrollment goals. Start analyzing your applicant pool, comparing year-to-year metrics, or roll up your individual school’s data for an aggregated, diocesan-wide view to help improve your performance. Rethinking your admissions process with Finalsite's SchoolAdmin guarantees a seamless enrollment journey for families and staff — it's a win-win!
Integrated admissions and enrollment management software is key to streamlining the process and communications with families. Finalsite's enrollment management system, SchoolAdmin, creates a seamless process from the first contact with prospective families through the enrollment process and beyond.
Minnehaha Academy, a top-ranked college prep school, recently shared its experience adopting Finalsite’s SchoolAdmin software as a core element of its enrollment strategy. By integrating their admissions and marketing data, they created a more efficient admission and enrollment system for their families and team resulting in a higher conversion rate of enrolled families. Additionally, they were then able to allocate the resources of their small team more strategically.
2. Share your “why” on your tuition page
Did you know tuition pages are one of the most searched for and visited pages on school websites? These pages also happen to have one of the highest bounce rates as well.
When a prospective family visits your website for the first time, you don't want sticker shock to send them running before they have a chance to even determine if your school is the right fit. It is vital to lead with the value of your school before putting a price tag on it.
How do you do this? It's all about the "WHY." Tell your school's unique story and why the investment into your school's mission is worth that investment. Sharing the "why" can be through a variety of ways.
Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School has an excellent tuition page. Right off the bat, they emphasize the importance of cost not being a deterrent to an education at their school. They include a parent testimonial (a great peer marketing strategy) and highlight various financial aid and scholarship numbers through a visual infographic slider. All these tools are featured before any actual tuition dollars are presented.
Cincinnati Country Day School offers another great way to differentiate their tuition page just by naming it something other than "Tuition." Cincinnati Country Day School uses this tactic by calling its page "Affordability," prospective families know that the school is thinking first about making their school more accessible. They also use bold icon infographics to highlight how they make their school affordable to as many families as possible.
3. Refresh your photos
Nothing gives your web pages a breath of fresh air more than updating your photos. This is a quick and easy way to make a significant impact without a lot of heavy lifting. If families who didn’t convert this year are back on your pages for another look, now's the time to freshen up their browsing experience with new photography.
Give your admission pages a quick facelift with photos that accurately capture who your students are. Skip the stock photos and snap some pictures of your students in their natural learning environment. Candid photography is the perfect way to draw in prospective families and assist them in picturing their child right in your school environment. Nothing dates a page faster than last year’s graduation photos or photos of students who matriculated long ago. If your school has been able to lift its mask mandate, consider swapping out some of the “pandemic-era” imagery with your latest shots of smiling students happy to be back on campus.
The Gow School keeps all of its pages photo-focused with big, bright, and professional-looking photos featuring students in various educational settings. Throughout its site, you’d be hard-pressed to find a page that doesn’t feature a Gow student smiling and looking right at home on their gorgeous campus. By focusing on smiling student faces, you’re immediately transported into what it's like to be a student at Gow.
The Little School highlights its outdoor education focus with beautiful photography of its students learning in nature. Butterflies, flowers, boulders, and streams also make frequent appearances.
If you are looking for inspiration about how to incorporate photo-forward design on your website, look no further than The Davis Academy. Clean and bold individual and candid group shots and videos are focal points as headers, main navigation features, and callout features throughout the site.
4. Publish your admissions events early
Admissions event season will be here before you know it! It’s vital to your admissions strategy to make sure families have these important dates on their calendars as soon as possible.
Make sure all of your admission events, like your fall open houses, visit days, or parent information sessions, are listed in one admission-specific calendar for families. Having this information on your admissions pages and your master calendars will guarantee prospective families won’t miss these important dates.
Here are examples of ways you can organize and present your upcoming events.
Stuart Country Day School does a great job of letting parents know of upcoming virtual event opportunities by listing them in an easy-to-read format, plus they collect prospect information early by embedding simple event registration forms directly on their site.
KEEP READING to find out how Stuart Country Day School used the challenges of the pandemic as an opportunity to launch a mission-focused branding campaign and website redesign.
Choate Rosemary Hall uses a dedicated admissions calendar embedded right on their page featuring calendar pop-ups for more information on upcoming events, including times, locations, and links to the inquiry form.
Belmont Hill School’s admissions event page features a combination of event highlights, including listing events from their calendar manager and a callout with an upcoming information night with a link to register for the event.
5. Update your matriculation numbers
Now that your graduates are heading off to their secondary schools, colleges, and universities, the summer months are the perfect time to update your matriculation stats on your admission or college counseling pages. Share all the wonderful places your alumni are off to and “wow” prospective families with recent graduation stats and acceptance rates. Don’t be afraid to name-drop some of those top schools that would catch the eyes of parents considering your school.
The Webb School features a slider featuring schools their recent graduates are attending, along with simple infographics highlighting the stats of their graduating class. Impressive!
Dana Hall School uses the “show don’t tell” method of storytelling by embedding videos of recent graduates right on their website under the heading “what happens next.”
6. Evaluate your calls to action
We all know that having an awesome website with a fantastic admissions page is key to your admissions strategy, but it's only the first step. How do prospective parents know what to do once they get to your site? Use clear calls to action (CTAs) to help families take the next step.
Here are a few steps you can take to make sure you're getting the most out of your calls to action:
- Review what worked (and what didn’t work) last year and make necessary changes and updates.
- Make sure you offer CTAs to families at every stage of the funnel: inquire, apply, schedule a tour, and contact the admission office for families who are ready to take the next step or who need a little more information.
- Make sure they’re easily accessible on your admission pages AND throughout the site so families can take action when they’re ready.
Here are two schools utilizing clear calls to action in different ways:
A website notification is a perfect way to get your message in front of website visitors. St. Joan Antida High School lets visitors know right away that they are still accepting applications for the upcoming school year.
Sometimes prospective parents need options on the next steps to take. Cannon School allows parents to choose which step is right for them by offering the option to request information, schedule a tour, and apply.
7. Make sure these key admission pages are converting
If it feels like you’re scraping by with the basics, having these key admission pages to support your enrollment goals may make all the difference in the world. Make sure you’re using these pages to their fullest potential to engage and convert families.
Inquiry “thank you" pages.
Make sure you are properly showing appreciation once an inquiry has been submitted; additionally, ensure parents know what their next steps in the admissions journey are to assist with vital conversions.
Event registration confirmation pages
Like the inquiry page, once a prospect has registered for an event, offering your gratitude and ensuring event details are clearly explained assures families know what the event expectations are.
Landing pages for paid ads
These pages may require special formatting and content to resonate with families looking for more information. You've essentially paid for them to click on your ad, so make it count with clear CTAs and optimized pages and content.
8. Have your admissions experience reviewed—for free!
Not sure where to start? Get feedback on your online admission experience for free with an admissions experience review. Our experts will evaluate the key areas of your admissions experience for strengths and weaknesses, including the admissions website experience, your admissions content, and your form experience. Request your free review today!
Without the hustle and bustle of the busy school year, the summer months are the perfect time to make sure you have the right enrollment strategy in place for the fall. Start the academic school year off on the right foot, and ensure your school will meet its enrollment goals with these quick updates.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jana is the Client Marketing Specialist with Finalsite, focused on sharing and celebrating client stories and their successes. She's spent nearly the last decade working within the field of education, specifically within independent schools working in the offices of admissions, development, and communications.