The spread of the Coronavirus has changed our way of life and is a trying time for us all. Schools have had to rapidly redesign operations and instruction, and these swift changes have been equal parts incredible and strenuous. Understandably, enrollment is a critical issue, and Gradelink is committed to serving as a resource. We’ve laid out some tips for retention and enrollment that can be applied even during this time of change.
Keep Enrollment Rolling
The best way to keep enrollment going is by providing easy access, and your school’s website should be providing clear call-to-action buttons to direct those potential leads and begin the conversion process. Moving the admissions process online is even easier than you think. Making it easy for new families to enroll as well as re-enrollment for current families is one of the many features Gradelink covers for you with EnrollMe. Make sure your school is using messaging that communicates that admissions is currently accepting applications for fall and enrollment of families for the fall.
Having a strong school website is more crucial at this moment than ever. An engaging user experience, a conversion-focused design, and inspiring content all come together to make your school’s marketing more effective and your website more attractive to prospective families. Connections to the real world such as certifications from third parties like Capterra and Google Review as well as testimonies from families reinforce your school’s good reputation and establish trust with prospective families.
Your school’s website is where you tell your school’s story through images, videos, and interactive elements. You want to make this experience as exciting for visitors as it would be if they were actually visiting your campus, and one way of doing that is through offering a virtual tour of your campus in place of onsite visits. This could be a video or a series of high-quality photos at the direction of a videographer. Better yet, lean on the talents of an experienced staff member or parent volunteer. You can already see some excellent examples of schools benefiting from virtual tours.
Don’t forget to emphasize care when following up with inquiring and applying families, letting them know that you are available to answer their questions, and that your school is open and operating remotely for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.
Let families in the application pipeline know exactly where they are in the process and what the next steps are under the current circumstances. Allowing the process to be made clear and visible to them so that they know what’s next and when will boost their confidence in choosing your school for their child’s education. Giving them that extra assurance that the application process is moving right along will go a long way to reduce anxiety in this time of uncertainty.
Share with the world how your school is thriving in the distance learning environment by being proactive on social media and utilizing the school website. Share videos of students and teachers navigating online learning tools. Share photos of kids working on their STEM projects from home and your enthusiastic staff and faculty. Share messages of students who are actively engaged in home learning and your outstanding team of dedicated teachers employing a variety of remote instruction methods for students to follow daily.
Now is the time to fall back on the values and culture that characterize your school ethos. Using messaging that reflects your values is authentic and serves as the best type of PR at a time when this type of messaging is needed more than ever, and you’ll be remembered for it once the COVID-19 crisis is concluded.
In the same vein, it’s good to create some mood-boosting content for parents at home with their kids. Content which is inspiring or encouraging, content that will bring smiles and that offers some escape and an outlet. Laughter and light-heartedness are just as important to the curriculum as academic studies. Share the at-home scavenger hunt, the funny puppet shows, potty-training tips on social media, and encourage your parents to share it with their networks and strengthen the sense of community.
The best that we can all do during this turbulent moment is to be supportive and give space for adaptation. For educators and administrators, this has been a monumental request. It has also been a challenge that has been met with ingenuity and success. Hope is that ever-present beacon of light. Hold onto that, share it, and instill it within your community.