How to Increase School Enrolment: 12 Actionable Strategies for Private Schools
Unlike public schools, private schools rely heavily on enrolment fees to keep their doors open. So, administrators need to find practical and effective ways to increase school enrolment and retention rates.
To increase enrolment at your private school, keep reading to learn 12 effective ways to accomplish your mission.
1: Promote Your School’s Story and Brand
To compete with other educational institutions, including public, private, and charter schools, ensure people know who you are.
Create promotional materials and include your school’s history, how it started when it was established, and any notable accomplishments and awards. Promote your students’ successes and share their impressions and feedback. Also, communicate your current and future goals clearly so everyone knows the direction you want to go. And, of course, capture and display eye-catching visuals that promote your school, brand, and logo to promote student enrolment.
2: Know Your Audience
Unlike public school enrolment, where admission criteria are based on the student’s address, the process is more involved for private institutions. You need to know exactly who you are targeting with your enrolment campaigns.
Here are questions you can ask to narrow down your audience:
- How many children are in the family?
- Are both parents employed?
- What is their income level?
- Are they looking for primary schools or higher education?
- What are their aspirations? Where do they want to go after graduation?
- What are the expectations of prospective students and their parents?
- What can they get from you that public schools and other private schools can’t offer?
Answering these questions will help you narrow down your target audience so you can craft customised marketing messages to gain their attention.
3: Optimise Your School’s Website
Once you know your audience, it’s time to spruce up your school’s website. Private institutions need a strong online presence, including performing SEO (search engine optimisation). Why? Search engines are powerful at filtering search results. If your website is not optimised, you may struggle to get new students.
However, your work doesn’t end with good SEO. If people visit your site just to bounce off a short time later, it can hurt your ranking. So, add interesting videos and stories from students and teachers. Also, don’t forget to mention the extracurriculars you have to offer. Finally, make sure your branding and visuals are on point and memorable.
4: Build a Strong Social Media Presence
Your online presence doesn’t stop with your website. A solid social media base is the best way to build and nurture your school community.
So, where do you start? Go back to what you learned about your audience. Looking at their characteristics and interests, where are they most likely to hang out online? Choose your platforms carefully to reach as many students and parents as possible. Then, keep your branding and school colours consistent on all your platforms. You should also link to your social media from your website. That way, you can encourage current and future students and their parents to join.
Once settled on a platform, work on your content and engagement so your page doesn’t fade into the background. Share relevant and engaging posts regularly and ask your online community to pose questions, post comments, and share their impressions about your school.
5: Make Student Enrolment Easy
Making the enrolment journey as quick and straightforward as possible will give you an advantage, especially with overwhelmed and busy parents.
Talk to your admissions team about offering an online registration and enrolment option and how it could be done. If that’s not feasible at the moment, brainstorm about eliminating unnecessary steps in the process. You can also consider drawing new students in with flexible payment options or early-bird discounts.
Making the enrolment experience smoother for interested families can tip the scales to your advantage.
6: Keep the Parents Involved
Once you have their attention, a prospective parent needs a lot of reassurance. They want to know exactly what their kids will be learning and doing within the school, how they will be notified of their progress, and the kinds of events they and their children will participate in.
Participating in community events can also be a good way for current families to keep in touch with school staff and each other and foster a sense of belonging.
And, of course, don’t forget the basics. Provide a comprehensive curriculum and ensure the parents can access it at all times. Have a plan for conveying students’ progress and notable daily activities. Adapt to the parents’ needs by providing the option of written, online, or in-person progress reports.
7: Ask for Feedback and Use It
Online reviews can make or break your reputation. You may be surprised that 88% of people read online reviews to discover local businesses or service providers. That means nine out of ten people will look for social proof before enrolling their kid in your school. Whether it’s on one of the review sites or Google, ask for testimonials from students and parents. You can also post their testimonials on your website and feature them on social media for more reach.
Most importantly, conduct end-of-year surveys to see how happy the students and parents are with your school. You can use their insights to learn about problems and solve them before the next school year.
8: Organise a School Tour
Organising a school tour is an excellent way for prospective families to experience what you offer. Many private schools leverage this to show their facilities and introduce parents to key staff, teachers, and other students.
On-site tours are also an excellent opportunity to see what families like and dislike and to eliminate doubts they may have. Another option is to offer virtual tours on your school website, social media, or YouTube.
Finally, since your goal is to boost student enrolment, follow up with everyone who took your tour.
9: Create a Comprehensive Digital Marketing Campaign
If you followed the steps above, you already have an optimised school website and a strong social media presence. Now, it’s time to use them to create a digital marketing strategy.
When someone registers on your website, you have their email address, opening another communication channel for an email campaign. With some filtering based on their demographics and interests, you can send them targeted messages to boost your private school enrolment rates.
A school newsletter is another way to inform subscribers about upcoming events and news. If you want to increase your reputation further and influence the decisions of prospective parents, you can also start a school blog.
In addition to other marketing channels, social media marketing can be highly effective. Most students and parents use social media platforms regularly to learn about current events, news, and businesses.
10: Make Every Teacher, Student, and Parent an Ambassador
Increasing school enrolment rates is not easy, so you need all the help you can get. The most important factor for potential students may be your school’s reputation. If you offer a high-quality education and a sense of security, belonging, and excitement, your community will do much work for you.
Word of mouth is very powerful, so if you delight current students and parents with your programmes, they will tell their family and friends about it. They may even take their raving reviews online, giving you a bigger audience.
Another way to make students proud to be a part of your community and invite others to join is to celebrate their successes publicly. Don’t forget about your teachers. Promote their stories and help them excel at their work, and they can be your biggest ambassadors.
11: Always Be Transparent
Some private schools may cover up problems to maintain a good public image. It’s important not to fall into this trap and to be honest in all communication.
If current parents have concerns, respond to their requests, and let them feel heard. It’s better to talk about your past problem and how you resolved it than to have it escalate and put your students in danger.
Also, if there are major changes at your school, let students, parents, and staff know about them beforehand.
12: Offer Additional Programmes and Services for Students and Parents
Prospective students are looking at you to provide an experience they can’t get in public schools or other private schools. Promote your extracurricular activities and exciting events to boost student enrolment. Assign liaisons for parents to open a communication channel for families to stay in the loop and engaged.
Go beyond everyone’s expectations with enrichment programmes, sports events, and social gatherings. Try to provide each student the support they need to move forward in life and their careers.
To keep your private school afloat, you need to attract funds. You can use many strategies to increase school enrolment, but it’s not different from marketing any other product or service. Start by knowing what your customers want, then meeting and exceeding their expectations. And, of course, make sure to showcase your social proof online. If you get stuck, seek help or advice from the experienced professionals at soccialy.com