Improve your recruitment efforts by making three simple changes to your student enrollment form.
Your new student enrollment form is an often overlooked but critical tool that you can use to improve your school’s recruitment efforts.
Although the primary goal of the new student information form is primarily administrative, with just a few tweaks and additional questions, it becomes a very powerful source of information for your future enrollment marketing efforts.
By adding three simple questions to your student enrollment form, you will begin to gather data that will benefit your school in multiple ways.
1. Do they have any other children? If so, what are their names, and what school/preschool do they currently attend?
Gathering this information allows you to identify the name and age of all the siblings that will become your targets for recruitment in subsequent years.
I know the inclination and default is that these kids will naturally come to your school, but do not take any child’s enrollment for granted!
Once you have these names entered into your prospect database, you are better able to forecast your sibling attendance, and it allows you to create more personalized outreach to these siblings.
Additionally, if you are seeing patterns of certain ages of siblings not enrolling, it gives you some nice insight into a trend that you should investigate.
For the students who are too young to attend your school, there are lots of little things you can do to actively nurture relationships and ensure that they will enroll in your school:
Have your kindergarten teacher(s) send the younger child a Christmas or birthday card.
Send a personal invitation to upcoming open houses or kindergarten-readiness days.
Invest in t-shirts that will fit a smaller child, and provide that as a gift with “Future Student of X School” on them. You would be shocked at how much good will a free t-shirt can buy you.
If you are a parochial school, consider a congratulations card for Baptisms.
Many preschools are challenging to partner with, and it becomes very powerful when you can tell the preschool director that 10 of her students have siblings that attend your school. That helps her to understand the benefits of partnering.
2. How did they hear about your school?
Asking this is critical! Knowing which tactic was successful in bringing them to your school allows you to understand what programs are working and what is not.
Some schools who take a more sophisticated approach will do a new parent survey, where they ask all the different channels that a parent interacted with on their journey to enroll. You don’t need to be that precise if you are just starting out. Just get the main source.
Many parents will answer “word of mouth” when you ask this question. When you get this answer, always include the follow-up question: “Who should we thank for referring you to our school?”
If you are starting to see certain family names consistently mentioned, consider tapping those families for a parent ambassador program. This also gives you the opportunity to publicly recognize these families as being critical in helping your school’s enrollment.
Change #3: Where do the parents work, and what do they do?
Identifying professions and the companies of your parent base has tons of benefits.
Imagine planning your next big event, and you are actively looking for sponsors. Being able to quickly scan the database of parents and their companies allows you to make targeted requests for support.
When you are trying to find volunteers, having this information is incredibly helpful.
For example, who owns a business that can offer goods and services? Who works as a senior executive that might be able to support you monetarily? Now you know.
There are certain activities where you just need a warm body — setting up chairs, manning a food booth, etc. — but as you look to improve more strategic functions, like your social media strategy or revamping your website, it would be a huge benefit if you knew that one of your parents owns or works for a digital marketing company.
Or perhaps your school needs to secure a catering company for an upcoming event. Wouldn’t it be great to use one of your parent’s restaurants?
Adding these three questions will not lengthen the forms too much, but the information you gain will be priceless to your school.
It’s hard to go back and ask parents to complete this information when they are already enrolled, but this can always be done on forms when parents are registering their children for the next school year.
Using this data in a strategic way will help your recruitment in future years.