In the age of school choice, increasing student enrollment has become a bigger challenge than ever before.
Student data can reveal clear steps you can take to boost application numbers and increase enrollment. Dig into your treasure trove of student data and uncover some hidden gems that will help you improve your school enrollment.
Data-driven Insights to Guide Recruitment Strategies
Identify strengths and weaknesses in your school by reviewing previous years data, including exit interviews and survey results. Build a solid outreach plan where you address the improvements that have been made, and remind your audience of the areas your schools has always excelled at. This can have a positive impact on past applicants who were turned off by those weaknesses.
Analyze your students’ geographical locations. Map out residence data of your current student applications to visualize all the addresses. Once you’ve identified clusters of applicants from certain areas, you can ramp up your recruitment efforts in and around those same locations.
Look for gender gaps. Examine your student applicant data and look for any gender imbalances in your school. Preemptively visit boys clubs, girl scouts, and athletic club teams to try to increase applications where needed. Make sure to have a marketing plan in place to speak to that specific segment of your audience.
Review student-age data. Be sure to monitor the distribution of applicants and current-student ages. An applicant pool that is balanced will help produce a student lottery that is balanced and, ultimately, classrooms that are balanced, supporting sustainable enrollment over the long term.
Pinpoint the most popular interests among your applicants. Are most of your applicants interested in your STEM program? Or are they interested in the art programs your school offers? Whatever the data tells you, follow the breadcrumb trail. Get involved in the community, make sure your school has a presence during science museum family days and exhibits to promote your STEM program. Or build relationships with the local theaters to share information about the expansion of your arts program. Organize plays or concerts at the local parks to build awareness about your school programs. These types of strategies have helped many magnet and charter schools increase student enrollment.
Segment current students with siblings.Arguably, the easiest and quickest strategy for driving enrollment. Once you’ve identified current students with siblings, make sure they are also applying. Reach out individually, and proactively invite them to have siblings apply. Make yourself available for questions, and plan a special event to attract these students in particular.
Evaluate communication barriers. Identify every language commonly spoken in your community. You can then translate your applications and all associated materials into those languages and make them available to parents in their primary language.
Data-Driven Action Steps to Boosting Enrollment
Spruce up the language in all your school materials. Did you know that certain words may have a different impact on how some socioeconomic groups perceive the language used in applications and marketing materials? Research has found that words like waitlist, admissions, and lottery can deter families who don’t think they have a chance to be accepted. Once you’ve identified the different groups in your applicant pool, be sure to use friendly, accessible language in all your school materials.
Be sure to stay in front of families that started but didn’t complete the application process. Reach out and offer to help them complete their application. Contact those who expressed interest or attended an open house through a school CRM. Send messages reminding them of upcoming deadlines they may have simply forgotten.
Make sure your target audience knows what sets your school apart from the competition. You should be able to get this information from surveys and parent feedback. Your school should have its own voice and identity. Successfully defining and communicating your school’s value is a step in the right direction to increase enrollment in schools.
Implement these data-driven strategies to spark your audience’s interest and boost your school’s enrollment. Your current student data can give you all the information you need to enhance your marketing strategies to increase enrollment. Slice and dice it in ways that give you as much insight as possible.