The experiences that students have while visiting a school can directly affect the decision to apply and/or ultimately enroll. An active, year-round campus gives schools the opportunity to meet and connect with the community in new and potentially long-term ways. How can you welcome students and their families to your campus throughout the year?
- Offer a personalized visit and interview
When admission offices show parents that personalized care for their child’s academic success is first and foremost, parents feel reassured. The campus visit should be the ultimate experience; an exciting and warm introduction to all that you are and all that you can provide. At a minimum, provide personal time with an admissions director. Make families aware of any opportunities to customize their visits, especially for families new to independent schools. Provide the opportunity to attend a class, and if your school size or staff size limits your ability to customize or personalize the experience for families, utilize and involve parents of currently enrolled students or other volunteers to assist.
- Offer Leadership Events and Camps
Many independent schools offer unique leadership programs at various times throughout the year. These programs can last anywhere from 24 hours to a few weeks, and are offered to current students and the greater community. With new students and families on campus, schools like Miss Porter’s School, in Farmington, Conn., take the opportunity to promote upcoming open houses and other events that may appeal to new visitors. Summer camps are another way to create awareness and attract prospective students to campus at a time when schools otherwise wouldn’t be active.
- Offer a Convenient Open House
According to an Enrollment Management survey of more than 2 ,700 parents, virtually all parents visit most of the schools they consider, and most parents also attend at least one open house. How can you make your open house stand out? The United Worlds College, Southeast Asia, located in Singapore, wanted to make open houses convenient for prospective families. They did so by creating five different ways to visit campus, making the visit convenient not just for the school, but also for families. The school offers casual drop-in visits with open tours (certain days of the week), that don’t require pre-registration. Individual tours and visits to open houses provide opportunities for families to choose how they want to learn about the school in a comfortable environment.
Offering families a personal and authentic experience can keep them engaged throughout the year and, ultimately, throughout the admission process. School events that are open to the public can be beneficial from both a marketing and admissions standpoint.