According to Capterra, choosing an online school registration software that considers the needs of students and teachers – not just district administration – is important. All software companies may claim that their product will save you time and money, but it is not as simple as you may think. Your choice should seamlessly convey your schools’ business logic and processes.
First and foremost, online registration would be right for you if you currently process student enrollment and registration manually or with an outdated computer system. Perhaps you would like to expand your institution and enroll more students, or you find that your school administration system is pushed to the limit by relying on manual forms of data management, like printed copies of forms or Excel spreadsheets.
When looking for a school online registration system, make sure you are inclusive with representatives of the student body, parents, and administration. Does the registration process make sense for the parents and is it easy to understand? If there is a registration week for students to bring in required documents, how will the system track that? Are parents able to purchase items through an online Webstore while completing the enrollment forms? Can students enroll or make purchases year-round? Does the online registration system integrate with your current school management software? These are among the many questions that can be asked to determine which online registration system is right for you!
Any company can create an online registration system, but companies that specialize in K-12 schools know the needs of those schools, such as residency verification alerts, recouping fees for lost text books or providing custom student messaging.
The needs of public schools may differ from the needs of private schools, charter schools or independent schools. For example, a public school’s enrollment process may focus more on residency verification and district lines while a private school’s enrollment process may focus on school transcripts and recommendations. Your solution should provide a way to track these processes in order to improve organization as well as free up administration time.
In addition to following your schools’ work flow, registration could be a good time to collect fees and/or fund-raise. You should check to see if the system has built in ways to accept online payments and solicit donations. That way, these systems can pay for themselves, as well as make money for the schools. Be sure to ask how students and parents would access the online payment module as well as how administrators would collect and process the payments.
Lastly, it’s critical to ask how the online school registration system will interact with your current accounting software or your student information system. You could find your valuable time taken up by downloading data from one system to another, which can also lead to manual errors. When you talk to software companies, tell them about the software you’re already using, and ask how their system would integrate with it. Of course, having a knowledgeable staff and IT support system will go a long way towards making the transition easier.
Doing extensive research prior to making your selection may seem like a lot of work, but it could save you a lot of time and energy as you move forward in your process.