- Company Updates
- International Schools
To create a world class admissions and enrolment experience for our international and independent schools around the world, Finalsite has partnered with OpenApply to leverage the core strengths of each platform to drive applicants through a refined admissions funnel, saving time and money while connecting your school to additional families.
By combining Finalsite’s inbound marketing tools with OpenApply’s online admissions platform, your school can easily find the right prospective applicants and convert them into constituents with responsive forms and completely customisable checklists that seamlessly guide families through the entire admissions process, all the way from enquiry to enrolment.
Part of Faria Education Group, a leading educational software provider that serves over 10,000 schools worldwide through a suite of three services, OpenApply works with more than 350 schools in over 70 countries to provide a world class admissions and enrolment experience that is fully transparent and entirely online to reduce the stress of applying for schools.
OpenApply simplifies and streamlines the admission process for K-12 international and independent schools by guiding prospective applicants through a user-friendly funnel with the ability to efficiently manage and analyse trends from enquiry to enrolment.
The online admissions platform allows admin users to watch as applications and enquiries populate in real-time, manage the re-enrolment process entirely online-- saving time and providing an accurate forecast for the next year’s enrolment number -- and leverage a dedicated application review interface to easily review all applications online with your school’s bespoke process.
But that’s all on the admin end. How does OpenApply enhance the user experience for prospective families?
OpenApply allows families to track their application in real time, reducing the stress and anxiety of applying for schools, while pre-filled data speeds up the application process by eliminating the need to constantly check forms elsewhere. Families can also submit forms, schedule tours and open house days, and upload required documents from a customised checklist.
And once forms have been submitted, OpenApply has numerous analytics options available to view data collected throughout the admissions funnel. Admin users can also create custom fields to track how specific groups fill out forms and answer questions such as, “How did you hear about our school?”
All these options (and more!) are designed to create a simple, stress-free online application process. OpenApply has also committed to furthering the professionalism of admissions officials through the International Admissions Bulletin published twice a year, a library of on-demand professional development webinars, and international conferences held throughout the year specifically for admissions officials.
Watch the Webinar - Improving The Admissions Process At International Schools!
How does OpenApply fit into the Finalsite admissions workflow?
Finalsite partnered with OpenApply to create engagement from the top of the funnel when prospective families start searching for schools through applying. The integrated admissions workflow creates a seamless online admissions process that not only matches, but enhances our commitment to easy-to-use inbound marketing and communications.
Here’s how the OpenApply integration works.
The admissions workflow begins and ends with Finalsite, with OpenApply tucked in the middle. There’s a lot to digest in this graphic, so let’s break it down to take a closer look at each step.
Phase 1: Attract
When using both Finalsite and OpenApply, schools begin the admissions workflow process by attracting prospective applicants by making a strong first impression with a beautiful website designed by Finalsite, likely found through first-page placement in search engines. It’s all about building that strong brand awareness, and ingraining your school’s name and message into the minds of every website visitor!
Build your school’s brand through keywords, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media advertisements, and engaging content created and shared through Finalsite’s various modules.
Step one begins with Finalsite Posts to publish and share blogs and news, Digital Publications for magazines and curated content in weekly newsletters, Social Media Feeds to display your social media accounts on your website, Finalsite Advantage for expert marketing strategy and consulting, and the Personalization element to make that first impression tailored to each website visitor.
Of course, you can always use Finalsite’s consulting services to build a strong brand strategy.
Phase 2: Recruit
After discovering your school’s website, the next goal is to engage the prospective applicant enough to earn a conversion through a form submission, open house RSVP, inquiry, or content download of any kind, for example.
The primary objective is to obtain their email, so that you can market upcoming events, link to any helpful pages a prospective applicant should visit, and ask them to subscribe to your school’s blog or newsletters. By doing so, you’ll continue to collect more information on the website visitor, helping to build a more customised user experience that makes them more likely to apply.
Finalsite will also launch Inbound Forms in 2020 to help build your school’s contact database. With Inbound Forms, you can create simple forms to gather contact information for downloading a viewbook, signing up for an Open House, or inquiring. You can even include certain qualifying questions to create more tailored segments to further nurture prospective applicants.
Until then, Forms Manager is always available to collect data, automate emails, and more.
Phase 3: Nurture
At this point in the funnel, the prospective applicant has already visited your website, checked out some of the most-popular pages, and engaged with some of the content they find relevant. Hopefully, they’ve also subscribed to your blogs or newsletters to keep them coming back for more.
Meanwhile, on the back end, their visit to your website has prompted timed page notifications, custom landing pages, and custom messages via the personalization element that are displayed based on which pages the prospective applicant visits, and how long they stay on each page.
Automated workflows from Finalsite can help streamline the process by automatically sending out emails to constituents based on a schedule you create. Use automated workflows to reliably distribute information that you feel prospective applicants and constituents should know on a regular basis -- be it marketing material for prospective applicants or the latest news and upcoming events for current constituents -- without filling your calendar with constant reminders to hit “send”.
When done correctly, prospective applicants will think back to your school’s awesome content when viewing another school’s website. Applying to a school is a huge commitment. Make that decision as easy for them as possible by standing out from the crowd.
Phase 4: Enroll
Now it’s time to convert that prospective applicant into an actual student.
This is when OpenApply’s online application software comes into play. From here, prospective applicants apply to your school through the OpenApply platform. Once the application and supplementary forms are submitted along with required documents, data from the forms is pulled directly into OpenApply's custom and built-in analytics for easy review.
That same data from the application is also imported into Finalsite’s Constituent Manager so their information can be easily reused throughout the Finalsite platform. For example, this extends to automatically filling out fields on a form whenever the applicant is logged into the website.
Administrators can easily review all application material online in OpenApply to make informed admissions decisions. Automated notifications keep families updated on their admissions status all the way through to enrollment.
And, should an applicant have a question during any step of the application process, both Finalsite and OpenApply are available 24/7 world-class support from both support teams.
Phase 5: Retain
Even after a successful admissions season, retaining that family over the years will continue to demand consistent, targeted content that never stops selling the value of your school.
Make use of Portals and the Personalisation element to keep content tailored to each constituent, while also making use of Feeds, Posts, and Publications to invite your community to contribute authentic, user-created content that reflects your school’s message.
Messages and automated workflows can be used to create personalised email marketing strategies to continuously engage constituents through targeted emails to keep them informed with the latest news and up-to-date content from Posts, Calendars, and Athletics.
Keep content as helpful and relevant as possible to regularly engage new and old constituents during their time at your school, as well as alumni afterwards to continuously improve enrolment and retention numbers. A consistently engaged community makes the re-application process easier in the future, should the need emerge.
Thankfully, OpenApply simplifies re-enrolment to just a few simple steps by importing updated student data and creating customised re-enrolment forms and notifications to send to all enrolled families with the click of a button. Parents can then enjoy a smoother process with a one-click login while filling out forms entirely online.
Families with multiple children can speed through the process thanks to pre-filled form fields that eliminates the need to manually enter the same information across multiple forms. Re-enrolment fees can even be collected online for an all-in-one process.
By combining the power of Finalsite’s Marketing and Communications Platform with OpenApply’s modern online admissions office, your school’s admissions team can create a seamless and complete online admission funnel that will ultimately lead to higher enrollment with an increase in efficiency and productivity for both your admissions office and prospective families along every step of the process.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite’s Product Marketing Specialist, Andrew writes blogs and creates videos to share information about all the latest and greatest Finalsite products. Andrew has more than 10 years of video production experience and a journalism education from the University of South Carolina. He is excited about bringing his experience and expertise to Finalsite.