From the beginning, the Ravenna vision has been twofold: to create a more efficient admission process for individual schools and to open the door for improved collaboration between schools.
While private and independent schools have long competed against each other for applicants, the Ravenna experience has shown that building a collaborative benefitted all of the players involved. For smaller and newer schools, it provides exposure and places them in the same league as other more established schools in the area, increasing their number of applications. For larger schools, it expedites the process of reviewing applications by introducing a database of common forms decided on by the participating schools. However creating accessibility to new markets and removing barriers to existing ones is the biggest value for these schools.
Could your school use the benefits listed above? If you’re interested in forming a collaborative, here are five simple tips to help you get started:
1. Look for Potential Participants
Reach out to Admission Directors in your area who you think might be interested in collaborating. While it’s tempting to shoot for the stars, start small and focus on a few schools at first. It may be helpful to target a specific group of schools who share similar missions (e.g.. faith based, gifted, or single gender).
2. Identify What Schools are Interested in Receiving and Sharing
Identify what each school wants most out of the collaboration. For example, perhaps schools are looking for heightened awareness, application efficiency, or increased access for potential applicants. Pinpoint whether the schools want to share dates, calendars, marketing costs, or other aspects of the admission process.
3. Set Your Limits, But Stay Open
Encourage schools to only share what they are comfortable with and try to remain flexible. If certain schools want to share dates and teacher evaluation forms but not a common parent questionnaire, that should be okay.
4. Make New Friends, But Keep the Old!
Regional collaboratives often start small, but as parents and schools begin to see benefits, participation will grow. Allow this process to be an evolution, not a revolution – schools should be able to comfortably ease into the collaborative.
5. Stay Fresh
Ask for and incorporate feedback from the schools on a regular basis. Use this critical information to help the collaborative keep innovating every year: add a form, expand the group of schools involved, or add a new feature.
We would love to hear how you are planning on keeping things fresh in your regional collaborative.