Career Academy South Bend is a public charter school network in Indiana. The state’s voucher program allows for greater school choice options, creating significant competition among the limited pool of students.
Career Academy struggled to find and attract new students, successfully communicate with families, and understand where students were coming from and how to reach them. The highly inefficient and time-consuming enrollment process included a 29-page application that was a major deterrent for many families.
“Enrollment season was a complete nightmare before SchoolMint,” said Rob Koehler, Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Enrollment at Career Academy. “I’d have manilla folders stacked to the ceiling with applications,” he added. Career Academy leaders knew they needed to improve their entire enrollment process, and began looking for solutions and outside expertise to help them.
The first step to making Career Academy’s enrollment process more efficient was dedicating staff to manage enrollment efforts. Next, they needed to find a solution that fit their current needs and could grow with them into the future. After an expansive search, Career Academy leaders decided to partner with SchoolMint.
Over the next three years, the network implemented several SchoolMint solutions. Using SchoolMint’s K-12 strategic marketing solutions (formerly Bright Minds Marketing), Career Academy started focusing on how and where they attract new families via marketing and stronger customer service practices.
Koehler noted, “Attraction leads to enrollment. Using a company that knows marketing, the industry, and has experience with other schools is paramount and can give you direction because, if you don’t, you’ll spend a bunch of time and money in the wrong places.”
Leaders of the Career Academy network also needed a way to produce meaningful reports, gain better insights into enrollment practices, and improve and increase family engagement — a customer relationship management tool. This is when they turned to SchoolMint Connect.
According to Koehler, “[Connect] was the right solution. It was customizable, provided better reports that helped guide marketing practices, and enhanced continual communication with families — which has been huge.”
Finally, Rob Koehler and the Career Academy administrators invested in SchoolMint’s student registration platform to streamline, customize, and digitize enrollment.
It was launched on time, easy to use for staff members and families alike, and the customer support they received made the implementation process much more enjoyable.
Koehler especially noted that the ability to drill down to get robust reporting to meet every board request and comparing year over year data was a huge benefit. Additionally, the platform drastically reduced the time it takes for families to complete the enrollment packet.
“Enrollment takes five minutes and you’re done. For six months of the year, I live in SchoolMint and it has been a lifesaver.” — Rob Koehler, Director of Marketing, Public Relations, and Enrollment
After partnering with SchoolMint, Career Academy has seen many improvements in both the student recruitment and enrollment process. Koehler said, “Finding a partner that is a one-stop-shop for school solutions has been so valuable.”
Reduced the enrollment process from hours to minutes.
Provided the opportunity to expand their charter network to new facilities.
Supplied detailed and customizable reports to guide decision-making.
Optimized marketing budgets by honing in on best marketing practices and preferred channels based on data.
Established a constant family communication system for increased engagement.
Improved work-life balance for staff due to the time savings and ease of automation.
Produced a real-time ROI on enrollment efforts and investments based on reports.
“Before, during, and after enrollment, SchoolMint has you covered. Attracting, enrolling, and retaining students is easier now. They are easy and fun to work with. Customer service is efficient and it has been a pleasurable experience the whole way through. I believe you get what you pay for, and SchoolMint was a worthwhile investment.” — Rob Koehler, Director of Marketing, Public Relations, and Enrollment