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Step 6: Structuring Your School Tour for Success

3 min read
Sep 28, 2023 8:00:00 AM

7 Steps to a Better Student Recruitment Plan: Step 6

Welcome to the sixth part of our seven-part series, 7 Steps to a Better Student Recruitment Plan! You can learn more about this series here, go back to Step 5, or skip ahead to the final installment: Step 7.

In SchoolMint’s extensive work doing focus groups with parents and guardians, one of our favorite questions to ask is “Why did you choose this school?”

The most common answers are pretty standard:

  • Test scores
  • Small class sizes
  • Getting into good colleges

Those are what you’d expect most to say. But there’s always a group of parents who, when asked this question, struggle to quantify why. To them, choosing the school they did just felt right.

There are many decisions we make in life that are rational. But there are decisions we make where emotion is the key driver in our decision.

As a school leader looking to improve enrollment, you want to appeal to both. And one of the best ways to create an emotional connection with parents is through a school tour.Subscribe to the schoolmint blog ad

School Tours in K-12? Not Optional

While we don’t have a significant amount of data at the K-12 level on how important a school tour is to an enrollment decision, according to our friends in higher ed, 86% of college Chief Enrollment Officers said the campus tour was important or very important in gaining that enrollment decision.

This is why most private and public charter schools consider the school tour an integral part of their enrollment process. If your school is not doing tours right now, please start! Doing this will add at least one additional student per year.

But what if you currently do offer tours? Well, just because you’re doing a school tour doesn’t mean it’s a good one.

SchoolMint’s enrollment consultants have done hundreds of school tours as undercover secret shoppers through our enrollment marketing solutions. Watch the video below to learn more about this offering and how we can help you take your school tour from good to great.

Assignment #11: Take Somebody New on Your Tour

For those schools that do tours, it’s generally the same person running the tour for every prospective family. This can be good because this person is experienced and can answer most questions.

However, it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing the exact same thing year after year. Additionally, sometimes what you’re saying on the tour isn’t very good or isn’t what parents truly care about.

That is one of the benefits of our secret shopper service. This service provides a neutral, third-party perspective of the effectiveness of your school tour. 

But this doesn’t need to be a consultant doing this — you can easily have your principal, a faculty member, or even a trusted parent pretending to be on the tour. They’ll spot things you might have missed or notice things that are important but perhaps you weren’t going into enough detail.

Assignment #12: Ensure Your Tour Includes a Classroom Visit and a Meeting with the Principal

Think about the activity a student will be doing the most in your school. They’ll be in one of your classrooms listening and learning. That is what you want to showcase during a school tour. 

Sure, it’s great to see the gym and your brand-new art studio. Those things are important and will get the oohs and ahhs of a tour. But what is critical is that parents understand the quality of your approach to teaching. Showcasing a classroom in action is key to this.

Naturally, probably every teacher will tell you this is disruptive to their class and that they don’t want you to do this. You need to help them understand that they — your teachers — are the reason parents are choosing to send their children to your school.

In addition to seeing a classroom, every school tour should include at least a drive-by or meeting with the principal. Because enrollment is so critical, school leaders should meet and greet every prospective family who is touring. This sends a very positive message to that family that they are wanted at the school.

Lastly, remember who is the family that generally tours: highly engaged families who feel that they have choices.

Investing a little bit of your time into these families will not only help you recruit more families but also help you recruit more involved families.

If you are not doing tours as part of your enrollment program, start now. And if you are currently doing tours, adding a few tweaks to them will make them even better.

Now head off to Step 7, where we’ll wrap up this series with the final installment of 7 Steps to a Better Student Recruitment Plan!

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