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8 Questions Families Will Ask at Your School's Next Open House
Connor Gleason

Spring open houses attract families that usually fall into one of two categories: those getting a head start on next school year's admissions, and those hoping for one last look at your campus before making their important final decision.

Either way, your private school’s spring open house is a chance to make a great impression.

Admissions tours and open houses are critical points in creating a smooth admissions experience for families. By now, families have done their research online and narrowed down their choices, but an open house gives parents and their children an authentic look at your campus in action. It’s their chance to ask important questions in person, and your answers can reinforce their decision to continue the admissions process or to look elsewhere.

Parents, as well as your school, have their child’s best interests at heart, so they’ll be asking a lot of questions, looking for clarification, and seeking validation — they're also seeing if your in-person experience matches your school’s online experience.

Guided tours, information sessions, virtual events, meeting the teachers — it can be a little overwhelming (for parents and admissions staff) so here are a few questions your staff, tour guides, and helpful volunteers can expect to be asked at your next admissions event.

1) "What‘s the value of attending your school, and what financial aid do you offer?"

The experience your school offers will be priceless, but tuition, transportation, and extracurriculars may be a burden for many of your prospective families. Your website is a great resource to help answer and clarify questions about tuition and financial aid, and being on campus during an open house is a great way to showcase that investment in real time.


You’d assume parents are aware of the price tag that accompanies enrollment, but it’s not a time to take your focus off the lifetime value of the experience you provide. Being upfront about the cost creates transparency, but it’s also a chance to demystify the financial aid process, discuss affordability, and talk about student outcomes.

After the open house:

Have your admissions office or financial aid director follow up with families and offer a time to chat. Scheduling an appointment can be easy and even shoehorned into the enrollment process. Even if they don’t have any specific questions, families will appreciate the proactiveness.

parents and a child using a laptop

2) "What do others say about this school?"

Your admissions team should be aware of what others are saying online and know what your school’s reputation is within the community. Your school’s ratings and online reviews through websites like Niche, Google, or GreatSchools are critical when it comes to building your brand and creating interest in your school. First impressions matter and much of that reputation is formed through your school’s website and user experience — even before prospective parents step foot on campus.


Be ready to address any overarching sentiment or any specific comment that might bubble up during a conversation. One negative comment shouldn’t break the camel’s back, but be ready to defend against any comment that seems to draw enough attention or concern.

After the open house:

After the tour, connect families with members of your parent ambassador network to assist with any follow-up questions, or consider having current parents on campus for a casual coffee and conversion to debrief after their tour.

3) "What’s the school community like?"

Schools are communities; a strong student life and a thriving parent network are key differentiators for many schools. Not only do students’ social development blossom during these formative years, but an involved parent network provides support, and a strong alumni family strengthens the bonds of friendship long after graduation.


Laughter and friendly smiles around campus are one thing, but long-lasting and meaningful connections on and off campus, online, and after graduation are strong indicators of how close your school community is. 

Encourage your families to join the online conversions by following your social media accounts, remind them of your parent associations and the work they do throughout the year, and don’t forget about your alumni reunions, networking events, and online groups. The pandemic revealed how much we crave in-person relationships, but it also showed how relationships can flourish in the digital space.

After the open house:

Send a thank-you email from a current parent or student and share what their experiences have been like as a member of the community. Again, this message can be included as an email in a drip campaign following an open house or any major admission event for that matter.

Keep Reading: 10 Highly Effective Ways to Promote Your School's Open House

4) "What resources does your school provide to assist the transition to upper-grade levels or college?"

As your students rise through grade levels and eventually matriculate, how well-prepared will they be? Whether that’s to the next division, secondary school, or college, a great school will put them on a path toward success.


One day, your students will leave (sniff, sniff) and when they do, they’ll be ready for whatever comes their way. 

  • Show how your program provides a strong support system of mentors, teachers, and staff.
  • Focus on success stories of recent graduates and alumni and share your college matriculation stats like acceptance rates, and your stop-attended colleges.
  • Connect families with your secondary school counselor or college prep office and they’ll see how well-prepared students are for entrance exams, college interview prep, essay writing, and everything they’ll need to continue their educational journey. 

After the open house:

There’s a lot of information to share, so these resources are the perfect content to share with families who are still interested in applying, even after they’ve visited campus for a tour. Enter contacts into a drip campaign and remind them of all the services you offer to prepare students for life after graduation.

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5) "What wellness resources do you offer?"

Students spend nearly as much time at school as parents spend at work — it’s truly their "home away from home." And for boarding schools… well…it is. With student mental health at an all-time low, mindfulness and wellness of children is a hot topic.

In one recent report, 50 percent of middle schoolers and 56 percent of high schoolers cited feeling depressed, stressed, or anxious as the major obstacle to learning. For students who identified as trans and non-binary, that number was as high as 85 percent.


Schools should care about the wellness of students as much as they support the academic and physical development of children. So many schools speak to the “development of the whole child,” and that should include the mental development of students as well.

Your open house can introduce the counselors, a tour of the counseling center, and your physical education and sports program that promotes physical health. You can even talk about your dining program and the healthy eating options it provides.

After the tour:

Send families a link to your online wellness hub, if you have one. That can help clarify what resources are available to students, like trained counselors, wellness programs, as well as mental, physical, and academic support.

a student working at a computer

6) "What tech is available to students, and what do your remote or hybrid learning options look like?"

Whether we like it or not, the pandemic ushered in a new era of digital learning. As schools adapted, parents became accustomed to the access and resources they (and their students) had during remote learning.
As hybrid learning still creeps back into the realities of a post-pandemic world, does your school offer laptops or tablets, or are students expected to continue their learning during an extended absence?


Even if your school can’t be in-person temporarily, your community is still able to pivot and connect online to continue learning. Communication hubs, student and parent portals, email notifications, and mass notifications can connect families better than ever, and while we’re all a little “Zoom fatigued,” your school is able to transition quickly if need be. If your school does offer technology to assist with learning, take a swing by the IT department or library to meet the support staff, and highlight what classroom tech makes the magic happen.

After the open house:

Many schools have success stories from the pandemic — showcasing how your school came together and how technology enhanced the learning and supported relationships to continue the learning should be your focus. Sharing testimonials from families and students who felt those connections and benefitted from those resources will reassure families your school has an adequate backup plan in the event of hybrid or remote learning.

7) "Why this school?"

Of all the other (and perhaps cheaper) options available for education, why should they choose your school? It’s a valid question, and one every employee should be able to answer with confidence.


It can be difficult to nail down the perfect response, but each school should answer honestly about what makes their school different. Your school can’t be everything to everyone, so if it’s a good fit for the family and the school, that student will thrive.

After the open house:

This response can also be presented through your digital presence, whether that’s packaged as a value proposition, a nurtured email campaign, or through the messaging of your website….every interaction with your school.

Keep Reading: 10 Last-Minute Tips for Your School’s Best Open House Yet

8) "What's the next step in the application process?"

That’s a good sign! Parents ready to take the next step will need to know important deadlines for applications, deposits, and recommendations — all the fun that accompanies a formal application.


One of the benefits of enrollment management software is that both the family and the admissions office can quickly reference any applicant's status in the enrollment journey. Families and admission officers can see where they are in the enrollment process, what documents they may need to submit, or what the admissions team needs to accomplish on their side. That brings clarity and organization to what can be a complicated process.

After the open house:

Don’t be caught off guard — when families are ready to take the next step, your admissions team needs to be ready to receive their application or enrollment documents. Circle back with parents with a link to start or continue their formal application process and keep the momentum going.

Key takeaway

Open houses are a meaningful moment in the enrollment process, and you want that *amazing* in-person experience to match what families have experienced online. Prepare ahead of time to welcome families to campus, follow up with digital resources and continue to nurture families, then create a seamless enrollment process for families and your admissions team.

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Connor Gleason Headshot


Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.

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