Traditionally, admission and enrollment teams have been too narrowly zeroed in on the admissions funnel. The primary goal has been nurturing prospect relationships from inquiry through enrollment. But perhaps we’ve been thinking about enrollment all wrong. While it’s key to keep families engaged during that time, it might not be enough to sustain and grow your school.
In this day and age, parent expectations are evolving at lightning speed. In order to woo prospective students and parents, schools have to rise to meet those expectations. Only when we zoom out to focus on the enrollment experience across the entire student lifecycle (and beyond), will we be able to overcome challenges and thrive. After all, we don’t just want to meet parent expectations, we want to blow them out of the water.
Here’s how schools can redefine and reimagine the enrollment experience (EX).
Redefining Enrollment At Your Private School
Enrollment is no longer, and it really never should have been, thought of as just a single point in time. It’s not the singular activity of a family signing an enrollment contract or paying a tuition deposit. And it certainly shouldn’t be an afterthought effort as we take on new families after they’ve been admitted.
We need to reframe the narrative. Enrollment should really be viewed as every single touchpoint and interaction you have with families across the student lifecycle. That includes every micro-interaction they have at your school. That could be via a student-led tour, phone call with the admissions team, or a parent-teacher meeting down the line. All of these interactions will influence a family’s decision to enroll, and re-enroll, at your school.
Enrollment needs to be viewed as an intentional journey that you curate for every family. Think about the experience from the first time a family interacts with you via your website or social media to when they sign on the dotted line, through graduation, and as alumni. Then make sure you’re wowing families every step of the way.
Zooming Out: Focusing on the Entire Student Lifecycle
It’s no longer enough to merely nurture leads. Now, to meet enrollment goals, we have to nurture families for the entirety of their student’s education and even afterward. The best way to do that is to create tight-knit relationships with families, and provide them with a great user experience, and not just during the admissions process. You want their experience to be positive and personalized not only when they’re applying, but also once they’ve enrolled, and while they attend your school.
Ensuring everything from your inquiry form to collecting enrollment deposits and donations is mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, and aesthetically pleasing is key. In fact, parents likely expect that kind of experience. With so many companies like Amazon, Uber Eats, and Apple providing straightforward, personalized, convenient service at your fingertips, families want the same from every business they interact with — and that includes your school!
Want to learn more about the ways you can create an amazing enrollment experience for your families? We surveyed over 350 admissions and enrollment professionals and discovered that the schools that focus on the student and family experience meet their enrollment goals before the school year begins and maintain a below-average attrition rate. Download our ebook to learn more.