A new school session is on the way, and you are probably planning ahead to host visiting day for prospective parents. You have all set, necessary repairs made – even those you had refused to fix during the school year.
And why wouldn’t you?
Your aim is to create a good and lasting first impression. You want families after leaving thinking that your school isn’t just going to make their child smarter, it’s going to make the whole family’s life better. Unfortunately, despite how well your school may align with a family’s wants, needs, and values, there will be obstacles that are too difficult to traverse.
According to our research, we have come to the conclusion that these 3 major points are reasons why families refuse to move forward with admissions. But, with some proactive planning, you might get families past the burdens and into your community.
Burden 1: Tuition
No matter how great your school is, parents will always compare you to the competition. To overcome this, you need to show parents that your school is worth it. You don’t just offer good value for the money; you provide opportunities for the prospective parents’ kids that are worth more than they can imagine. These intangible opportunities for most include friendship, knowledge, and success.
These intangible opportunities would only mean something to parents if they have a clear understanding of how their children are going to benefit from them. Practical examples include;
- Don’t just list the universities your students will attend after graduation. Tell parents how your school plans to work with their child to maximize their potential admissions into the university and how you will hold their hand and guide them through the process, supporting both the parent and student.
- Don’t just tell families about your active alumni network. Have one of your alumni tell them about the connections they made at your school that is still helping them years after graduation. Have them do the major work of selling the value and benefit of your school’s program.
Also if you offer financial aid, this can be a perfect enrollment management tool.
READ MORE: 3 Reasons Families Leave Schools
Burden 2: Transportation
For most families, the decision to attend private school does not just mean coughing out money, it means extra time in the car, driving to and from a school that might not be conveniently located.
However, just because your school doesn’t provide transportation doesn’t mean you can ignore the issue. If families are worried about transportation, then you should be, too. And telling families to sort out such matters themselves is not enough. Consider a transportation director who oversees and manages these issues and develops solutions.
To alleviate this burden, take on the issue directly.
- Put prospective parents in touch with currently enrolled families in their area so they can get their transportation questions answered directly.
- Help organize carpools for families who are new to the school.
Remember, a family’s lack of transportation isn’t their problem. If you want that family to enroll, you have to make it your problem.
Burden 3: Inflexible Schedules (Yours, Not Theirs)
A school day is defined by a rigid schedule for students, with bells ringing at the start and end of every class. Parents’ schedules on the other hand are not that predictable. Be it last-minute calls from a boss, a meeting in the office, or an emergency out of town, sticking to your short time for picking up their kids after school is not going to make their life easy.
If your school does not offer extended care options, it must! Not just for those that have registered since the beginning of the term, but also for those that might need it at the last minute. And please, don’t punish students who are late because of their parents. This doesn’t teach anybody a lesson, but it can alienate an entire family.
Every family considering your school has different needs, different desires, and yes, different burdens. You’re never going to solve every problem for every prospective family, but you should do your best to understand their most common concerns and make sure to address those concerns. Otherwise, you may end up looking at your enrollment numbers a few years from now and find yourself in a world of pain.