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Connelly School of the Holy Child

Joyfully bold and fiercely kind are just two of the many distinctions Holy Child uses to describe its community of innovative teachers and young women.

As a part of the global Holy Child Network of Schools, Connelly School of the Holy Child is a vibrant Catholic school that focuses on faith and learning while preparing young women for college and beyond.

However, contrary to its mission of seeking the best outcomes for its students, Holy Child’s enrollment office was having difficulty extracting and analyzing its admission and enrollment data. Its older enrollment management software was cumbersome, complex, and ineffective, and for a school that prides itself on its ability to “meet the wants of the age,” the school knew it needed a better system.

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At a Glance

Located in Potomac, Maryland, Connelly School of the Holy Child is a Catholic, independent, college-preparatory school for more than 350 girls in grades 6-12.

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The Challenge: Modernizing an Outdated System

“I don't think our previous system came across as ‘modern,’” said Meghan Cross, head of enrollment management and financial aid. “It came across as a little clunky and not as user-friendly.”

“A lot of questions were being asked about the success of our efforts and outreach, but the data was so hard to track that we weren't able to speak to that very effectively, and that generated a necessity to make a change.”

Cross explained that every time admissions data was pulled to share with the head of school or for benchmarking, the older system wasn't intuitive and required a reasonable amount of training.

“Typically, we had our technology team assist with a lot of our setup, and they would have normally been heavily involved in getting the new admission season up and running,” echoed Kelly Sullivan, associate director of enrollment management.

Integrating EMS with CMS

The decision to migrate to Finalsite Enrollment was part of a broader strategy to integrate the new enrollment management system (EMS) with Holy Child’s website, which was already provided by Finalsite’s content management system (CMS), Composer

Holy child admissions page in a laptop mockup

For Holy Child, the switch would consolidate providers, widen the admissions funnel, and manage the data and touchpoints from inquiry to enrollment. 

Furthermore, the school was fresh off a brand enhancement, and pairing its EMS and CMS would allow the same custom templates and messaging to carry through from its marketing and branding to its admissions communications.


The Solution: Full-Funnel Visibility

Soon after the migration, the admissions office found it easier to manage data, which was crucial for making informed decisions. “There are lots of different data points you can look at,” Cross said, “but it's been easier to gather the information from Finalsite versus our previous system.”

“From an initial inquiry to families applying and attending or not, it’s very easy to see where people are in the process and to get a clear picture of the touch points and what happened along the way.”

The ease of use also extended to the marketing team, allowing them to track applicants and effectively tailor communications throughout the nurturing process. 

“It’s easy for our marketing team to pull a group of applicants and create a campaign that follows them through the process,” Sullivan said. “If they finish an application and complete the workflow, then they’re automatically entered into another email campaign.”

“In the older system, it involved complicated manual tracking, so we never really tapped into that feature. Now we could see who got what email, rather than us having to constantly pull data.”

The Result: A Modern Enrollment Management System

The transition to Finalsite Enrollment solved the initial problems with data management and dependency on IT,  but the switch also brought about improved efficiency, better control over processes, and enhanced communication capabilities.

Less Reliance on Tech and Marketing Teams

The new system also allows the admissions team to focus on what they do best—building relationships with the right-fit families and welcoming them to the community.

“Technology and marketing are two of the busiest offices in the building, so not having to add to their workload and go through them to send out simple communications made a big difference,” Cross said. “It eased their burden, but we could also do what we needed to get done within our office. Our older system was more geared toward people with tech backgrounds, whereas Finalsite Enrollment is more friendly to users with any kind of background.”

”It’s clearer and more user-friendly on the applicant side, too, so we had a lot fewer questions on how to complete an application,” Sullivan added. “It saves time on my end because it’s very user-friendly in terms of pulling data.”

“Our head of school can see live updates on applicant numbers or where we are with acceptances. We can communicate better with branded emails because they link to the Finalsite website, so that’s streamlined the process.”

“When you're making a change and trying to start something new, there's always going to be a learning period,” said Cross. “We joined late in the game, so we were hustling in the late summer and early fall, but I felt very comfortable with the support and attention given to the transition.”

holy child inquiry form with interests

More Independence

The system's responsiveness and intuitive nature helped reduce the workload of not only the admissions and tech teams but also the marketing office.

“The marketing office pays heavy attention to admissions because we're the revenue generator for the school,” Cross shared. “The marcom team serves a lot of customers, and I think being able to do some of these things on our own has saved them some headaches and given some of their valuable time back.”

Additionally, the integration with Finalsite's marketing tools helped to enhance communications and streamline email campaigns, further boosting the admission office's effectiveness. 

“We have our strongest class since my tenure started here,” Cross added. “The cleaner and more user-friendly presentation of Finalsite’s different capabilities, paired with our marketing campaign, has increased the volume of applicants.”

Importantly, the new system supported the school’s rebranding efforts and helped maintain a modern image that aligns with Holy Child’s mission.

“We hold ourselves to be a modern place of learning. It was important to match the system the families were using to apply with what Holy Child says about who we are and how we do things.”

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See for yourself how Finalsite's EMS streamlines the enrollment process for you and your families! 

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