8 Hacks to Increase Student Enrollment & Retention
Know Your Audience (Part 2 -Internal Promotion)
Our third hack involves extending the reach of your messages by using your current community of families as a vehicle to spread your message.
To grow your enrollment, you must increase the number of applications to your school. Increasing the number of applications requires people on-site to experience all your school has to offer. We recently covered areas of focus for online presence, which is crucial to projecting credibility and confidence in your school however, website visits and social media follows on their own do not result in visits to your school or applications.
The concept of internal promotion focuses primarily on leveraging the existing networks within your school community. While school communities consist of a variety of clubs and groups that extend beyond the school setting, the most powerful group at your disposal are your current students and families. There are no better advocates for your school than those who are currently enrolled and are empowered by the mission.
The effort begins by simply encouraging and incentivizing current families to invite their friends, family, and extended networks to participate in school related activities. This strategy is illustrated in full in the video below.
Events such as theater, music productions or fun family nights like a fall hoe-down, winter or spring festival, BBQ, movie night etc. allow opportunities for current families to invite other prospective families in a “no pressure” situation. Prospective families can mingle with other families, get a taste of the culture of the school and speak to teachers and school leadership in a casual setting. This may also be an opportunity for prospective students to actually experience the classroom and school in an informal way. Some schools have even awarded current and prospective families with a referral fee credit when new families join the school.
There may be hesitation or discomfort on the part of school leaders to ask current families to join in the effort, which is understandable. School leaders are trusted figures in the lives of students and their families and are rightfully uneasy at situations that could violate that trust.
For many, it’s not easy to actively promote their school as there is often hesitation that they will come off as dishonest or too salesy which could be off putting, not only to prospective families but to current families as well.
To combat this uncomfortable feeling, realize that when families see the value in your school that compels them to join your community, they often want to share that experience with those close to them. If you extend a warm invitation to include those they love in the experiences of your school, not only will it grow your community of wonderful people, it will allow others to experience all your school has to offer, which will ultimately lead to interest and enrollment.
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