5 tips to increase your enrollment this September

According to a recent research conducted by SchoolsCompass, an average parent changes school once every three years. And most of these changes take place at the beginning of every session- September . Top on the list of their reasons or change is unsatisfactory academic performance, relocation and economic reality.

Photo credit: Blooming greens School

As your schools wind up for the session, the race for September admission gets more intense. Yes, a lot of prospective parents could find their way into your admission office for inquiry. Chances are that they are also considering other schools making the competition tougher.

 

If you’re just hanging on and doing everything the way you did it last year and the one before simply because of busyness – or maybe just because you don’t feel like anything needs changing – then you could be missing plenty of opportunities for reaching and enrolling new families.

 

Here are 5 things you should do to take advantage of this peak season:

1. Insist on initial commitment before any negotiation/consensus 

Photo credit: Naija Going Abroad

This is probably the litmus test to know how committed prospective parents are. Most of the times, it is masked in ‘Application Form’.  The idea behind this is not to force parents to enroll their wards but to extract a little commitment, avoid time wasters and enables you to focus all your strategies and energy on ‘Serious People ONLY’ for optimal performance.

2. Push the Panic Button 

Photo credit: First Things

Encourage parents who enroll in say less than say 15 days from the day of their first inquiry or visit.  Give a little discount say 5% of tuition fee to push the panic button could go a long way to sway a decision in your favor. You may end up spending more-  in time and other resources if you have to follow up on them just because it takes them a longer time to decide.

 

3. Help them complete the admission form

Photo credit: Albesta Academy

Where possible, go through and complete the application form with them to understand and address possible reservations and roadblocks in your questions. If they don’t have instant answers to these questions while completing it at home, it may cause other rounds of decision making which may or may not favor your school.

 

4. Give them something to remember about your school

Photo credit: Concordia Junior Academy, Yola

A simple branded pen or exercise book, when taken home after visiting your school could create a ‘top of the mind’ awareness about your school. When it is time to make a decision, the name of your school will always come to mind.  Call it a souvenir, you are on track.

 

5. Connect with them outside business

Photo credit: Rainbow College

Let prospective parents know that you also value the relationship with them beyond enrolling their ward in your school. Remember, they left their businesses to visit your business premises, show them you also care about their businesses as well. Take pictures with them and connect them on social media where necessary. With this, you are not just a prospective client, you are a friend and most people buy from friends.

 

 

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WHY STUDENTS CHEAT AND WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT IT

Dubbing, Scopes, Expo, Giraffing, –if you have passed through the Nigerian school system you are sure to have come across these slangs being thrown around or you might have even used them yourself. Cheating, as we have witnessed in schools, encompasses homework, class tests, school exams and government board exams; and with the internet making things a lot faster and easier for everyone, plagiarism and electronic cheating can easily be done without the educator even realizing the act has been perpetuated. As cheating in schools grows to epidemic proportions, Nigerian private schools are not spared from its onslaught. In fact, in their own warped form of parent-teacher association, there have been many reported incidences of parents and teachers colluding to help students gain the unfair advantage on tests and exams. So why do students cheat? What can you as a school administrator do to prevent cheating in your school? Read on, as we analyze this pressing issue and outline the three major reasons why students cheat and methods you can adopt to prevent and curb this now.

 

All the Accolades, None of the Effort
Most students want all the credit that comes with having good grades without actually putting in the work. When it comes to homework or projects, students are typically caught plagiarizing by lifting whole pages of text from guidebooks or even going online to copy and rephrase other people’s work. The average student today is lethargic when it comes to doing any sort of work –

Source: The White Dove Schools

homework, school work, housework, you name it. Growing up in the internet age where years of manual labour have been reduced and automated to a single click of a button has helped reinforce this mentality in their minds. And so when it comes to tests and exams, their thoughts are focused erroneously on how to get the most results – good grades, in the shortest amount of time without putting in the work – studying and practising. Cheating to get ahead is the best route for this students.

 

What’s in it for me?
With the likes of Big Brother Nigeria and fast-to-fame musicians gracing their television screens, students are gradually losing faith and trust in the traditional and academic route to success. Students in this age have idolized celebrities who make it to the limelight without passing through the traditional route of academics and respectable careers, or without having put in substantial amount of academic work to gain success. The typical student has now accepted that academic excellence does not equate to success in the future and has set his mind to do whatever it takes to rush through the system and start working on other routes to success. So while in school, they cheat because they do not see the overall value of the system, and want to “fulfil all righteousness” to please their parents, educators and school/government boards.

All A+, no A-

Source: The Bells Comprehensive Secondary School.

Unrealistic expectations from parents and educators, also contribute to the high rate of cheating in schools. Students typically feel pressured to achieve academic feats that are beyond their cognitive capacity. Parents are the number one source of this pressure, which they pile on by verbally and sometimes physically assaulting their children or by unfairly comparing them to their mates. This negatively affects the child’s self-esteem and puts them under undue pressure to perform in order to maintain a peaceful state at home. Teachers are also not spared from this as they are constantly being pressured by school administrators to deliver top-performing students consistently every year. This pressure trickles down from the teachers to the students again and adds to the overwhelming pressure faced by students. Students end up cheating in order to please both parties in such a situation.

 

So, what can be done about this?

 

 

First and foremost, schools must develop and enforce zero tolerance policies for cheating and ensure that teachers are at the forefront of enforcement. Schools must stay vigilant and updated on all the new forms of cheating especially electronic cheating and online plagiarism as students now have unlimited and unsupervised access to mobile phones and the internet. Weave ethical behaviour lessons into the curriculum thereby inspiring students to act ethically when it comes to cheating and plagiarism,

Source: Grenville Schools

not just in class and in the here and now, but also in the future in their careers and businesses. Teachers also, must make the whole learning experience and curriculum exciting and engaging while teaching real-life value and application of every topic taught in the classroom. Students must be counselled to understand the important role academics and education plays in the lives and future career paths.

 

Conclusion
While strong and effective disciplinary actions are necessary, it is imperative that school administrators properly understand the problem of cheating in their schools and what motivates students to perpetuate these acts. In so doing you will be able to properly address the situation with any of our suggested approaches or any other method that you feel will suit your school. How are you dealing with cheating in your school? Let us know in the comment below.

First published by Allprotech

 

 

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The ACE of your ‘Admission Funnel’

September 2018 is just around the corner. This is probably the busiest period for your admission office this year. And  If you have a dedicated line for your prospective parents’ enquiry, you may have to invest in a ‘power bank’ so your phone does not go off.

As the list of prospects grows, you begin to figure out the percentage of these parents that will finally make it to the final line – the Enrollment. Typically, for an average school, it is 10% and could be far more or less in some schools.

In order to increase this number,  It is important to understand the various steps/stages parents go through in their journey to finally enrol their wards in your school.

 

The stages are called ACE: A for Awareness, C for Consideration, and E for Enrolment.

 

Awareness

This is the stage with the highest number of prospects. Depending on what works for you –  your advert budget, class of parents you are targeting, etc. there are different tools you can use to create awareness to more prospects. They include but not limited to

  1. Your website
  2. Social media – Facebook Instagram
  3. Dedicated sites for school marketing like schoolscompass and others
  4. Google AdWords
  5. Flyers and billboards
  6. End of year events that attract more families especially neighbours
  7. Branded schools bus
  8. Your brand and reputation as a school

 

Considerations

After the awareness, the next step is the consideration. Parents prefer to visit the school for a first-hand view. They can even go further to write your entrance examination depending on how they got to learn about your school and of course, their need.

Your goal here is to push them to the next and final stage and this is where the bulk of your job is. Truthfully, a lot of factors determine your success here- some are beyond your control, some are not.

Photo credit: Glowing Ages Academy, Abuja

Here are some of the tools you can also use (in no particular order) to increase your chances:

  1. Make sure you address their needs whenever they call for an enquiry or pay you a visit
  2. Have a well structured but personalized strategy for your prospects
  3. Let them know your strength as a school and try not to cover up where you are not good at. A lot of parents understand that you can not have it all
  4. Use 3rd party to speak about your school – this is called Multi-level marketing (MLM)

 

Enrollment

Photo credit: MakingMyDreamComesTrue

This is the finishing line where the holy books say ‘many are called, few are chosen’. If you get them to this stage, you sure deserve a cup of coffee.  Available data shows that less than 2% of those who start from awareness get to this point. The rule of thumb is not to attempt to increase this percentage, rather, strive  to increase the value of your 2% by increasing the number from the awareness stage and retaining some at the consideration stage using some of the tools highlighted plus the ones you know that already work for your school

 

For the purpose of illustration, let’s work with 2% conversion rate which means that if 100 parents know about your school, only 2 of them would eventually enrol their wards. The number reduces as they cascade through your ‘sales funnel’. I know the statistic is scary but that is the reality.

 

 

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ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GETTING PARENTS INVOLVED IN SCHOOL

Increasing workloads….
Longer working hours….

Parents these days are faced with the challenge of finding spare time to be actively involved in their child’s education. As a school administrator, you can easily detect dwindling levels of parental involvement with obvious signs such as the low parent turn out at parent-teacher meetings and other school events, and subtle signs such as homework not being done and low student attendance rates. In an ideal situation, there is active and constant parent involvement where parents help with homework, contribute at school meetings, and communicate regularly with the school.
In this article, we cover the immense benefits of parental involvement and steps you can take today to get parents more involved in school.

Benefits of Parent Involvement

Source: Rainbow College

Parental involvement is a win-win situation for everyone –students, teachers and parents themselves. Students’ scholarly achievement improves as parents are more attentive to their wards ensuring homework is completed on time and accurately, further study is carried out at home as well as supplementary guidance and counselling. These students get better grades, pay more attention in the classroom and have a clearer understanding of the direction their education is taking them towards the development of their career and future.
Teachers communicate better with parents who are actively involved and partner with these parents in the successful development of the child. Unusual behaviours, commendable actions and other matters relating to the child’s welfare are communicated swiftly between both parties for any necessary action to be taken.
Parents have a better understanding of school objectives and are able to develop meaningful relationships with teachers and administrative staff. They also gain insight into the school curriculum, school activities and supplementary programs offered by the school and available to their children.

 

How to Get Parents Involved

Communicate Often

Source: Kaztal Kiddies Academy-Montessori

 

It is important to maintain the flow of information between your school, teachers and the parents. The amount of effort put into disseminating information to the parents must also be directed at receiving and processing feedback from these parents. Parents that perceive that their opinions are actively being solicited and employed are more eager and likely to be actively involved in school affairs. So what means of communication can you adopt? Emails, newsletters and forums are some of the most convenient and effective means of communication for both parties – school and parent.

Information regarding the individual child’s behaviour, grades and overall performance can be communicated promptly to the parents via email where the parent is able to review and respond within minutes. Newsletters can contain relevant information regarding upcoming school activities, special teaching practices and curriculum information, thereby keeping the parents abreast of all that is going on within the school premises. Forums can be online on the school’s website portal, mobile on the school’s official WhatsApp group or offline through meetings and events; all these avenues create a friendly and open ground for parents, teachers and administrative staff to openly discuss matters and receive feedback in real-time.

Involve Parents in the Classroom

Source: The Bells Comprehensive Secondary School

Get students and parents excited about involvement through direct interactions in the classrooms. Schools that report high levels of parent involvement have achieved this by arranging special programs that require parent’s presence in the classroom. You can replicate these programs by organizing career days where each parent prepares a brief presentation to their child’s class about what they do and the steps they took with their education to achieve their current positions, and possibly offer short consultation time after the presentation for students that have similar aspirations. Another special program can be culture days where students and parents adorn themselves in their cultural attires and educate the class about their traditions, practices and history. Parents can also be encouraged to go the extra mile by preparing snacks of their local delicacies to be shared amongst the students.

Encourage Volunteering

Source: Ash Merlyn International School

With school activities and programs scheduled round the clock, it is easy to create volunteering opportunities for parents in multiple areas that could get them excited about getting involved in school activities. School events such as end-of-year parties are a hotbed of volunteering opportunities where parents can volunteer as event hosts, coordinators, servers, security and more. This laid-back scene allows the parents to interact socially with each other as well as have an overview of the ecosystem in which their child is groomed. They get to meet their child’s schoolmates and observe their social skills and behaviour. Parents can also volunteer to manage sporting events within the school, where they can take on the supervisory role of coordinator or a more active role of referee or coach. Other volunteering opportunities include attending and supervising field trips, directing drama clubs and much more. Volunteering helps form a bond between the students, parents and teachers where a more communal relationship is developed.

Conclusion

Parents are the most important players in the holistic development of a child and schools can benefit immensely from their direct and indirect support. Schools should ensure that significant amount of effort and resources are committed to the creation of productive, meaningful and sustainable relationships with the parents.

First published by Allprotech

 

 

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5 Common Negative Feedback Parents May NEVER Give You

Imagine this scenario…

I
Image Source: MyFFC.tv

You have nailed it, you put in your best – showed them some of your state-of-the-art facilities and it appeared they were very impressed. Two weeks later, you did not hear from them and you called to follow up. The wife ignored it but the husband summoned enough courage and reluctantly picked it your 3rd time of calling.“Hello sir, you said, I am calling to follow up with you. Ahhh sorry, we are no longer considering your school was the response.”

You may end up trying to figure out what went wrong. Could it be something with the pricing or location? I am sure you wish to get this feedback in order to improve strategy next time other parents come knocking at your admission office door. As a third party who is not “emotionally”  attached to your school, parents feel more obliged to give us this feedback. 

Because our platform  helps parents find the right school, we get tons of feedback on a daily basis. Let’s share some of the feedback that the parents may not necessarily share directly with your school.

 

  1. ‘Not Enough’

    Image Source: Meme Generator

This is a very passive feedback as most of your prospective parents would not even wear it on their faces even if it is ringing on their heads. If you have the means of peeping into their minds, you will hear something like ‘your library is too small’, ‘classrooms are not spacious enough’, ‘I would prefer a bigger playground’.

Recently, a parent called our office twice to give us feedback on the school we referred her to. She said the school’s library is quite small and doesn’t see the school as a good fit for her.  It was later discovered that the school actually have a bigger library; out of oversight, the school did not tell her about it when she visited.

Helpful tip: It may be necessary to ask prospective parents what is important to them to establish their pain points before taking them round the school during inspection to ensure nothing is left out.

  1. Too much emphasis on Academic Excellence:

     More and more parents are fast facing the reality that academic performance alone is not the reason they should entrust their treasures into your custody. A parent once told me that ‘if it is just academic, then schools are not much different from each other’. To great extent, I believe this is true.  In this parent’s case, he was interested in any school that teaches self-defence. 

A good number of parents may not bother to  ask you during their visits to your school. If they don’t see evidence of what they are looking for, they simply assume it does not exist. To some, it could be a coding and robotic club or any other extracurricular activities.

 

3. The School is Fading   –   Cracked lawn and peeling paints

Image Source: Ishahayi Beach School Foundation

 Some parents are perfectionists – they expect everything in your school to be in perfect conditions, anything fall short of this is a turn off to them. If you have the privilege of playing host to this type of parents, then welcome to their world.  It is most likely they keep all these flaws into themselves thinking that telling you could embarrass you and may even make someone to lose his/her job. They just move on to the next school – no point crying over spilt milk.

Helpful tip: The good news is that you can actually satisfy them if you are also the type and pays attention to tiny details in your school.

  1. The School is still Early – When the Age of Your School is a Concern:

     

    Every school started at a point. Unfortunately, many parents don’t understand this. To them, the thought of making their children ‘a guinea pig’ (sic) to experiment and grow your school is scary.

Personally, as a parent, I do not think this is a major concern as long as the school can deliver her promise, but I can only speak for myself. Every parent is entitled to his/her feedback about your school.

Helpful tip: If your school is less than 5 years, letting parents know the combined experience of individual teachers is your school from their various places of employment, your (school owner) passion and experience as a parent and your background  as an educator could go a long way in helping them see more than the present in your school.

Another way is to take prospective parents around the state-of-the-art facilities their children can enjoy. This works most especially when they know such facilities cannot be found in most schools they consider ‘old enough’.

 

  1. Value has not been properly communicated:

    Photo Credit: IMAAD SCHOOLS LEKKI

    It is a good idea to communicate what your school stands for the very first time you meet prospective parents in order not to give room for speculations. Your value system should demonstrate your stand on religious belief as a school, curriculum, policies (anti-bully etc).

    Helpful tip: Every parent has his/her own expectations before visiting your school, alignment of values from the onset is very important to both parties to avert future clashes.

 

 

 

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3 IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF INTERNET SAFETY YOU MUST TEACH STUDENTS

Whether we like to admit to it or not, the internet as we know it is an addictive portal that has sucked us all in, Yes! Through our desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones we are connected 24/7 with people, stories, news and rapid content constantly at our reach. On any regular school day, take a brief stroll down the school corridor and you will find that you are brushed past a group of students chattering about Tweets and Snaps posted by their friends or celebrities online the night before.
A large and growing percentage of internet users are made up of school students of all ages, and with parents becoming laxer their children are granted unrestricted access to the internet and its social media platforms. This poses huge safety issues for these children who are unprepared for the vices lurking on the internet. It has, therefore, become increasingly evident that internet safety must be taught to these students in order to protect and properly prepare them to handle common safety issues that occur on the internet.
Do you have school programs or lessons targeted at teaching students internet safety at your school? Are you planning to introduce these lessons to your classrooms? If so read on, we have identified three core aspects of internet safety you can teach your students today.

Personal Safety

Source: Standard Bearers School

The status update has got us all. There are the short and sweet ones, the long passionate rants, the breakfast posts and many others that keep our followers updated on our progress through our daily routines. However innocent these may be, some of these status updates could be feeding miscreants with critical information to be used against the poster. Students often post status updates regarding their current location, where they live as well as specifics about their travel plans – where they are going, how long they will be there and if they are travelling alone. This is vital information for potential kidnappers or sex offenders who then draw up their plans with information gathered from the victim’s status updates.
Students must be taught to censor the information they share on social media and must try as much as possible to post about their travels or places visited after the visit, never before or during. They can support this by changing automatic location settings on their social media accounts. They can also adjust their social media settings to ensure that it is only specific trusted friends on their followers’ list that are able to view their information and sensitive updates.
Also as we teach these students in the real world not to talk to strangers, these same rules should apply online where they are advised not to accept friend requests from strangers and to try to verify suspicious accounts before accepting requests.

Identity Protection

Source: Grenville Schools

At one point or the other, we have all been greeted by malicious pop-ups that show up on our web pages. These pop-ups usually offer freebies and discounts that require submission of personal details in order to access them. If you are unfortunate enough to fall victim and you end up sharing your private information such as name, address, date of birth, passwords or even credit card details, you have opened yourself up to identity theft. This sensitive information can be used to access your private email, your social media accounts and most importantly your bank accounts.
Most students do not understand the gravity of the repercussions that come with identity theft and are usually naïve when it comes to assessing safe websites and their enticing. When left to their own devices they freely give up not only their personal information but that of their parents and family members as well.
To prevent this from happening, it is important that students are taught the difference between sensitive private information and public shareable information. They must also know how to identify secured connections and only perform financial transactions through these secured sites. They must also be taught how to craft secure passwords that are not created out of obvious sources such as date of birth, pet names and personal names.

Cyber Bullying

Source: The Bells Comprehensive Secondary School

Bullying in all forms has been around since the beginning of human relations, and it spreads across all age brackets extending even to adults! Once an act that was confined to break rooms and playgrounds, bullying has found its way online with children attacking and demeaning each other on social media platforms. With the wide reach of the internet, these acts are shared rapidly at the click of a button with students and complete strangers in multiple locations, thereby exposing the victim to an onslaught of attacks from multiple bullies. This affects student behaviour negatively in many ways and has led to withdrawal from school, depression and worse, suicide.
In this internet age, it is important that schools educate students on the extreme consequences of cyber-bullying; and though it is almost impossible to police and supervise students online, it is important that teachers keep communication doors open to students who complain or show signs of bullying. Students must also be taught and encouraged to report cyber-bullies to the website or social media admin pages, to ensure that miscreants are banned and their pages deactivated. Students must also be taught not to promote, like or share any act of cyber-bullying online.

Internet safety is an important area that must be addressed by caregivers in this digital world that we find ourselves and our students in. School administrators can adopt any of the discussed solutions and also go the extra mile by designing posters and educative materials to keep these safety rules in constant reach of their students. How is your school tackling internet safety? Let us know in the comments below.

First published by Allprotech

 

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WHAT A WELL RUN SCHOOL LOOKS LIKE

Everywhere you look in Nigeria there is a private school, either new and bubbling or old and struggling. Most educators dive into this field without truly understanding what it means to run a school successfully. When selecting a school for their wards, parents have an uncanny ability to spot a well-run school out of the large pool of viable options.
As a school administrator, the way you run the school determines the success of your students and your school as a whole. Is your goal to be the leading school in your area, community or state? Then your focus must be on fine-tuning all the components of your school to make sure they all work together seamlessly to achieve that goal. There are certain things to take into consideration while running a school. The aims, objectives, vision, mission, and values of the school. All these will be your guiding principles to running the school.

Benefits of a Well Run School

source: Crane college.

Looking at the big picture, a well-run school becomes an integral part of a better society in the future. It is said that the school is one of the most important basic social institutions that can either make or break a society. Yes, you believe in the society and making it a better place, but what does this mean for your bottom-line?
Improved teacher welfare, better learning environment, and quality education project an image of success in the eyes of the parents. Pro-student and Pro-teacher policies made in the school become evident in the overall performance of your students, and this helps maintain positive student retention rates in your school.

Source: Concordia junior academy, Yola.

Key Components of a Well-Run School
Teachers’ Welfare
Teachers’ welfare is paramount in a well-run school. The teachers are vital assets to the well-being of the school, hence, must be adequately taken care of. To evaluate how a school is properly run, there is a need to assess how the teachers are doing on the job and in their career advancement. The teachers that are well motivated and trained are encouraged to give nothing less than their best. A well-run school provides a conducive teaching environment and, encourages innovative teaching practices. The teachers are well paid and, consistently so. The teachers are also given autonomy over their students to an extent. A well-run school definitely makes the Teachers’ Welfare a top priority.

Source: the white dove schools

Students’ Performance
Parents look forward to the excellent performance of their wards. A well-run school is sure to produce excellent students. This occurs as a result of the conducive environment for learning the school has put in place. The academic curriculum and extra-curricular activities are also not left out. Students are exposed to a great learning experience in a well-run school. They are encouraged to go on excursions, competitions, outdoor activities, all in a bid to enhance their learning process. The students are also duly assessed to determine their level of academic performance. Counselors are available to the students for career counseling or issues relating to their social or mental health.

source : The bells comprehensive secondary school

Parents’ Participation
Parents Participation is evident in good and quality schools. A complete learning process involves the Students, Teachers, and Parents. Parents are encouraged to participate in the decision-making process for the benefits of their wards, through Parents, Teachers Association (PTA). Parents are also involved in the learning process of their wards through volunteering, visiting day etc. Forums, both online and offline are established and active, and parents are free to express their views, opinions, and recommendations to the school regarding set policies or proposed policies.

Source: Chrisland Predegree college

Quality Education
A well-run school stands for quality education which leads to a better society. The administrators of a well-run school prioritize quality education over profit making. They see to the adequate and necessary facilities needed to make the school a standard one. They instill leadership skills into the Students and Teachers. Teachers are constantly being trained and updated on innovated and effective methods of teaching. Students are guided and given a real-life application of the lessons they learn on campus.

Conclusion
A well-run school is the pride of every school administrator. While having good leadership experience is key, you must also have the integrity, diligence and a strategic mind to run a school well. Identify your priorities and, carry every stakeholder (Students, Teachers and Parents) involved along. With all these, you are sure to produce the school of your dreams.

 

First published by Allprotech

 

 

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SCHOOL COUNSELING: Why is it Important for Your School And Its Growth?

Take a look back at your early school years; what did you really know about life, money, business and the world? – Absolutely nothing! A child’s school years are defining moments in their life, it is at this stage that they develop their personalities and make important decisions that set the tone for the rest of their lives. With this much pressure and not enough life experience to learn from, it is important that they are guided and supported in all critical decision-making areas of their lives. As much as their parents act as their primary guides in life, it is important that the school play a large part in guiding the students as well and this is achieved through the school’s Guidance and Counseling system.
Nigerian private schools are gradually beginning to integrate counseling programs in their schools, and are reaping the benefits with students not just being able to make informed decisions about their future, but also be guided through learning disabilities, mental issues, and social interaction. If you are looking to establish a successful School Counseling program at your school here is what you need to know.

What is School Counseling?

Source: Forte Yard Montessori School

School counseling is campus-based counseling that focuses on helping students make the best of their education while guiding them to develop optimally on all other aspects of their lives. School counselors work daily to help students make sense of the confusing world of academics and early adulthood, from choosing areas of study to dealing with friends, family issues and grief, school counseling programs cover all bases.

What does a School Counselor Do?
School Counselors strive to keep the best interests of each student at heart. These counselors are primarily responsible for career development; however, over the years their roles have evolved to include various counseling services. By evaluating each student’s strengths, weaknesses, interests, talents, and aspirations, the school counselor is able to provide tailored guidance program for each student. The duties of a school counselor typically include:

  • Academic and Career Counseling

    The first and most important duty of a school counselor is career counseling. Counselors assess the interests, capabilities, and performance of each student to help guide them towards a fitting career path. They help students identify and select which areas of study align with their overall career goals, this could include making the choice between sciences, commerce or arts.
    The school counselor also prompts students to take part in relevant programs and activities that set them on the path to gaining admission into a top university and career programs after they graduate. This could include extracurricular activities such as sports, community service, volunteering, part-time jobs and more. They also provide guidance to students having general academic related issues such as time management, declining performance, and study plans.

  • Teachers Guide

    Source: The Bells Comprehensive Secondary school

    Although the school counselors are primarily responsible for students, they also provide support services to the teachers in the school. School counselors may be called upon to handle disciplinary issues raised by teachers or serve as a mediator of issues between students and teachers. Teachers also benefit from the relationships formed between school counselors and students and can tap into the counselor’s wealth of information to gain insight into student behavior. School counselors also play an advisory role in school management in a time of school policy restructuring.

  • Social and Emotional Counseling

    Source: Grenville Schools

    Students face an onslaught of social, mental and emotional issues during their school years and rely on the support of a dedicated school counselor to get them through these trying times. At times where students do not feel comfortable talking about their problems at home, they will always have a listening ear in a school counselor. Issues such as bullying, drug abuse, and self-esteem and family issues can be raised and discussed in a safe and secure manner. School counselors facilitate group counseling sessions, and as the need arises it could be student-parent consultation, parent-teacher consultation or parent-parent consultations covering a wide range of educational, social or disciplinary issues.

Hiring a School Counselor
School counselors are fast becoming vital players in the school faculty, as their role requires them to take on more responsibilities than any other member of staff. Not only do they work directly with the students, they also work closely with teachers, parents and school management. The duties of the school counselor highlight the inherent benefits of a school counseling program, and it is advisable that private schools in Nigeria set up a school counselor program.

Source: The White Dove Schools

As this field is still somewhat uncharted in Nigeria, it can be a hassle finding able School Counselors. Key defining qualifications of an ideal candidate for this role include a Degree in Psychology, Education, Counseling or any related field; the ability to be empathetic, patient and compassionate; the drive to play a part in the successful development of the future generation of leaders.

 

Students who can rely on the able-hands and experience of a counselor at school seldom go astray when making critical life decisions regarding their education, future career path, and personal life. A guidance and counseling programme in your school will not only improve the quality of students but will also enhance the confidence of parents in your school’s ability to help their children discover and maximize their hidden potentials. Remember, parents, are a great engine for referrals to your school when they believe they are getting a better deal at your school.

First published by Allprotech.

 

 

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How does Parent Persona help your school?

When you speak in a language that is familiar to your prospects, you are instantly compensated with their attentions.

Just before you continue: This article is a continuation of last week’s blog where we introduced the concept of parent persona and how to create one for your school. It may be helpful to read it before this one if you miss it last week. 

Photo credit: belleafricana

When I was young, I used to excitedly follow my mum into the local markets to do some shopping. In the midst of thousands of people, any time she hears ‘Mama Yomi’ (meaning Yomi’s mum) or her name, ”come and buy this, buy that,” she is bound to turn her head and look the way of the caller. Dogmatically, I followed suit.

It is an undeniable fact that when you speak in a language that is familiar to your prospects, you are instantly compensated with their attention. Even if you have never met before.

Understanding your prospective and current parents through Parent Persona is an integral part of your marketing success and school growth. Failure to do so is subjecting yourself to be ‘fooled by randomness’ which cannot be sustained in the midst of a highly competitive private school market.

If you take a look at your Parent Persona, you will discover some interesting patterns you never thought of before now. For example, if a good number of your parents work in the banking sector, it is an indication that there are things you do in your school that attract bankers. Once this is established, this is a good place to start, just take these 3 steps:

  1. Look at individual parent persona in this category of bankers to find out what exactly it is.   You may find out that your after-school service fits in into their busy schedules.
  2. The next thing is to get your marketing team to craft messages that may be themed like this ‘We appreciate your busy schedule and help you keep your kids busy till you are ready to leave for the day’. You may even be generous enough to add ‘at no extra cost’ if you really mean it. This is called empathy in its simplest terms.
  3. Lastly, look out for where bankers hang out- it could be a group of bankers on Facebook or WhatsApp. You can even walk into banking halls to reach out to more of them with your message.

Depending on the peculiarity of your school,  you may discover  trends like most parents in your school are celebrities, politicians, IT gurus, entrepreneurs, civil servant, live in a particular location, are within certain age range, like to play  a particular game, are of same tribe or religion (if they are Christians, find out their churches Pentecostals, Protestants, Orthodox etc), marital status etc. If you need to call them or send a survey in order to probe further, please do!

It is important to note that these patterns can come in different shapes and sizes. It may even look as trivial as most of them play a chess game. If this is the case, STEM could be your own joker to woo prospective parents because chess is an analytical game.  As long as it works for you: it is legitimate and okay.

THE BELLS SCHOOLS ALUMNI, LUNCHING THE INDOOR SPORTS FACILITIES

You will observe a packet of patterns for you to work with if your parent persona is done thoroughly (guess game is not allowed). Once this is observed, just follow the steps listed above.

One a final note, I will share my personal experience of how parent persona worked for me. Just recently, I was invited to speak to parents of final year pupils of Standard Bearers Schools Lekki Lagos alongside with representatives of some top schools in Nigeria.

In order not to be seeing as competing with schools there present, I offered to be the last speaker. When it was my turn to speak, the first thing I did was to tell my audience that I am also a parent and I also have a 10 years old daughter looking to gain admission into secondary school. This provided a strong bond between us.

Photo credit: Standard Bearers School, LekkiS Musical Recitals

What is your ideal school?

The next thing I did was to ask them this simple question: ‘what is your ideal school?’  Out of all the inspiring answers, one of them particularly caught my attention most: she said her son likes music and she will like to support him to become a DJ in the future. Her ideal school is the school that shows a strong interest in music as part of its extracurricular activities. All the schools that spoke lost the chance to address this woman’s pain points even if they have such facility in place.

For questions and follow up or if you need help creating a parent personal for your school, send an email to yomi@schoolscompass.com.ng or drop a comment

 

 

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How important is Parent Persona to your school’s marketing strategy?

All successful marketing starts with buyer personas – Author Anonymous

Photo Credit: Kinkomando

Yeah, you’ve got that smashing billboard yelling to motorists and pedestrians about great things about your school and telling them why they should consider your school. You also have all sorts of beautifully designed (by a designer who is probably not a parent or not the type you expect in your school) flyers garnished with your marketing messages (also put together by a copywriter who is as guilty as your graphic designer).

No matter how impressive your marketing messages and materials are, your marketing strategy will fall flat if it doesn’t speak directly to the heart of mission-appropriate families who are most likely to benefit from your school community. A good school marketing strategy starts with a firm handle on your Parent Personas

What is Parent Persona?

A Parent persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal parent based on market research and real data about your existing parents. The good thing about parent persona is that it works for you, independent of how low or high your marketing budget is.

Now that we have established the importance of parent persona to our enrollment,  the next thing is ‘How do we go about this?’

 

To create parent personas, get the list of all parents/families who have spent at least two sessions in your school (based on the assumption that they have paid for your services at least 6 terms ). You may create a spreadsheet for this. Find out the following information about them and populate your spreadsheet.

  1. Name: Bring it to live, give it a real name – Mr Ojo, Mrs Yusuf, Ms Uche etc. It helps you to connect and make a realistic guess where it requires
  2. Demographic Details Include information such as such as age, income level, education, employment details, marital status, gender etc
  3. Interests and desires. Do they enjoy travelling, clubbing, etc?  What is their level of internet savviness?
  4. Pain Points: Identify why they choose your school over others, why do they leave their previous school?
  5. Customers’ journey: How do they find out about your school when they first visited?

These points are inexhaustible and not one-size-fits-all, you can tweak them to suit your specific purposes.  At the end of this exercise, you will have something like this for each record of parents:

After understanding your parents and where they hang out, you’ll get a better sense of the channels that will work best in advertising to them.

 

 

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