Turning Graduation into a School Enrollment Event
Graduation can be a great opportunity for your enrollment marketing efforts. Here’s how to get started.
The end of the school year is a busy time (okay, and so are the beginning and the middle), and it’s easy to get lost in your day-to-day activities, special assemblies, graduations, report cards, staff turnover, and everything else going on.
But the end of the school year is also a great time to celebrate the hard work your graduates have done and highlight where they are going in the fall.
Most importantly, it’s confirmation you fulfilled the promise you made to parents when you enrolled them: your school set their children up for success in the next stage of their education journey.
Year-end celebrations are not only a real feel-good moment for the school and current graduating class but also a great chance to market your school to your incoming cohort of graduates.
With a bit of extra work and prior planning, you can make the end of your students’ academic journey a key enrollment event — and a selling point for those just beginning their own journey with you.
Build Relationships for Mutual Benefit
There are many benefits to high schools and grade schools having an excellent working relationship:
- For grade schools, it’s a good idea to have a solid relationship with the schools your graduates tend to go. Being able to call the admissions office to assist a student who is borderline in getting accepted — or even contacting the curriculum office to learn about the overall performance of your graduates to identify areas where next year’s class may need support — can be beneficial for your students after they’ve left your institution.
- High schools can find terrific value in connecting with their feeder schools as well. Knowing the administration and curriculum of the local grade schools helps high schools to better prepare for their incoming students before they arrive and better teach them once they are on campus.
These relationships can also be mutually beneficial from a marketing perspective.
In most markets, students have a choice to make when it comes to high school. Building relationships with grade schools can help create a pipeline. The grade schools know where their students are most likely to succeed and can help direct the students to high schools where they’ll thrive.
Grade schools get to continue helping their students by guiding them to the right high school for them. This connection helps build a pipeline for future success stories.
Imagine when the kid who graduated grade school three years ago makes the National Honors Society. Or when the sophomore class starts a charity to help the local community. Or when a senior gets a volleyball scholarship or admitted into an Ivy League university.
Grade schools should celebrate those events just as much as the high school. After all, grade schools helped build the foundation.
Parents, no matter the age of their child, want to envision a bright future for their kids. Whether they’re considering a preschool or a high school, these success stories help them see that future much clearer. And they see the schools involved as part of that story.
Interested in additional enrollment marketing help for your school or in speaking with an enrollment consultant about other things you can do to improve your enrollment efforts? Get in touch about the marketing services SchoolMint offers.
Showcase Your End Result: “This is where our grads go to succeed”
When parents are “shopping” for schools, they’re thinking about how this choice prepares their kids for life after school.
Yes, even parents of two-year-olds looking for preschools.
It’s not the only factor, but it’s a big one. Being able to show off your grads and their high school and college choices helps give these new parents proof that you do what you claim to do: you prepare students for the next level — and here’s what that looks like.
Spirit Wear and Photo Shoot
Bragging on your grads has a number of benefits, but what’s the best way to do it? Have a Spirit Day in May.
Encourage your graduates to come to school wearing a t-shirt or sweatshirt from the high school or college of their choice. Turn it into a tradition that becomes part of the ritual of graduating from your school.
Add a parents coffee/donuts breakfast (or something equally low key) and festive to start or end the school day. And take pictures. Lots of pictures.
The most important photo to get will be the big group shot with everyone’s sweatshirt visible right out in front of the building.
You want anyone who sees the picture to see the smiling faces of your kids, their gear prominently displayed, and the name of your school (or other identifiable feature of the building).
Also, take this time to touch base with the admissions directors and administration of schools your students will be attending.
Any time you can add a testimonial from someone at those schools talking about how much they love having kids from your school, or how well-prepared the kids from your school are, the more concrete the benefits of the education you provide become.
This picture and these testimonials can be used in future marketing materials:
- On your school website
- Across your school’s social media platforms
- As the picture you attach to that first piece of follow-up mail you send them to announce a reunion or add them to your annual fund in a few years when they’re out of school and ready to give back
For your athletes and scholarship winners, hosting a signing-day photo op is another way to highlight the achievements of your students and put them, and your school, on the front page of the local paper.
Four Years Later…
There is one last step you can take on this grad-celebration path.
- For grade schools, ask the high schools to gather your alumni together in May before they graduate so you can get a picture of your grads in their college sweaters. This serves the same purpose for them as the earlier picture served for you, so they’ll be happy to do it. And you get a side-by-side set of pictures, showing the colleges your students attend.
- For high schools, it’s a little trickier, because your grads are likely to be spread farther out, but reach out to these alumni as they graduate from college. Invite them back to the high school for a barbecue or some other celebration, and get another picture of these recent college grads back in their high school colors.
The story for your school community and prospective parents is clear:
When kids graduate from our school, they succeed. They go to these great local high schools. And four years later, they go to these fantastic colleges, enter these incredible professions, and experience success. And then they come home and reconnect with the schools that helped get them there.
There are a number of factors that go into choosing a school. You can show parents your test scores, have them talk to current parents, give an amazing tour, and have a great website with easy to find and understand information.
But giving parents the image of what success looks like — what their three-year-old child will look like in 10 years as they head off to the high school of their choosing or in 14 years when they’ve chosen a college — can be incredibly powerful.
Celebrate this year’s graduates to show next year’s new students what it looks like to be a big kid, heading off to high school.
Ready for some additional tips (and bonus worksheets) for further improving your enrollment marketing efforts? Get your copy of our school marketing audit guide below!
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