7 Steps to a Better Student Recruitment Plan: Step 7
Welcome to the last part of our seven-part series, 7 Steps to a Better Student Recruitment Plan! Learn more about this series here, or go back to Step 6. Thanks for sticking with us as we wrap up the series with this final installment!
We don’t like to say it out loud, but let’s be honest — the higher your student count, the larger your budget is to deliver a great educational experience for your students. It’s okay to sometimes focus on activities like enrollment that will allow you to offer students better experiences.
Today, you’ll learn one of the most important factors of a successful student recruitment strategy: student retention.
Yep, you heard (read) that right. The better you are at retention, the fewer students you have to recruit. But if you’re going to impact your retention, your first step is to understand why families leave.
Assignment #13: Ask Families Their Reasons for Leaving
This seems elementary, but many schools don’t actively track this. And think about this for a moment.
Changing schools is an incredibly disruptive process for a student. It’s not a decision a parent makes lightly. Something is pretty bad for them to take this step. Wouldn’t it be good as a leader for you to know why?
You need to ask each and every family the reason why they are leaving. If they’re really unhappy, they may not tell you when they are withdrawing in person. But you need to get this information if you can. If you don’t know why people are leaving, you can’t fix what’s wrong, and so the cycle of declining enrollment continues.
Many schools we’ve worked with will conduct follow-up activities to get this information. They’ll send a couple of emails with a link to a Google form and some text messages linking to said form.
However, asking “Why are you leaving our school?” in exit interviews is a bit too late. You have already lost that family. Sure, you’re going to fix things, but that may take a while.
Wouldn’t it be good to understand how your current school community is feeling about the school? To understand where you can improve long before they decide to leave your school?
If only there were a tool that could be used to survey people about their feelings…
Assignment #14: Schedule a Yearly Climate Survey for Your School
In this era of school choice, families have options. You need to understand whether they feel you’re living up to the promise you made about educating their children effectively. But you can’t understand if families are happy unless you ask them.
Marketing-savvy schools survey their parents annually to understand how happy they are with the school and, most importantly, to understand what improvements families would like to see the school make.
Having this information is critical for you to ensure you’re running a school parents feel is responsive to their needs.
If parents are convinced you’re running an exemplary school, they’ll tell their friends about your school, and your need to run large enrollment campaigns will diminish due to the level of parental advocacy at your school.
Changing a school’s culture overnight is impossible, and there’s no way you’ll satisfy every parent. And that’s why you still need to do all the other things discussed in this series.
However, I hope you now feel you have a plan and feel there are some bite-sized things you can do to improve your school’s enrollment.
But know this — the most important thing you can do is to do something!
Don’t become paralyzed because you think it’ll be all-consuming. Commit to completing one assignment a week, and before you know it, your enrollment will be much stronger.
There are many ways that SchoolMint can help you as you seek to improve your school’s enrollment. From building enrollment websites to running advertising campaigns to providing insight into how to improve your school tour, we would love to help you.
If you would like to schedule an appointment, one of our enrollment specialists will be more than happy to help strategize with you on ways to increase your school’s enrollment.