Are Your Admission and Enrollment Offices Ready for the Next Normal?

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Nettie Reynolds

March 11, 2022

    It has been a whirlwind for admission and enrollment leaders during these last few years. Wouldn’t it have been nice to have a crystal ball back in 2019? With the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, admission and enrollment leaders were thrown a major curveball. When social distancing measures were put in place, the customary methods of making first impressions with prospective students and families—tours, open houses, meetings—were no longer an option. “What do we do now?” was a question many admission and enrollment leaders asked.  

    Families were also thrust into uncharted territory. Parents and students alike had to adjust to schools moving to virtual and hybrid models. As many parents dealt with their own move to virtual work, the uncertainty mounted as report after report showed that the economy was unsteady. Of course, if families are experiencing financial uncertainty on a widespread scale, private and independent schools have to work harder than ever to attract applicants and enroll students. But what if there were ways to work smarter instead of harder? 

    Let’s imagine something different. 

    Imagine being empowered to impress and de-stress families at every step of the process. 

    Similar to the oxygen mask concept on an airplane, you have to alleviate your own stress before you can de-stress others. This is true for admission and enrollment leaders and staff who are essentially on the front lines of creating impression-setting experiences for families and helping to guide families through the first touchpoints with your school.   

    In the next normal, it will be more important than ever for independent schools to offer families an engaging experience that eliminates confusion and increases confidence that details haven’t been overlooked.  One way to give more to families is offering ease of enrollment and financial aid information with online capabilities.  

    Imagine creating new opportunities for productive collaboration across school leadership. 

    Ultimately, there is shared responsibility across admission, enrollment, and the business office to create a best-in-class enrollment experience for families, and the outcomes of the work owned by each of these interconnected teams can dramatically affect a school’s culture, reputation, and financial health. When the unexpected or unprecedented happens, an aligned response across school leadership that’s rooted in a collaborative approach can help to bring about a successful outcome. The key lies in having more integration in your admission, enrollment, and tuition management functions, so they work together as collaboratively as they can and as collaboratively as families expect them to.   

    It’s also important to note that collaboration across school leadership focused on key areas such as nurturing family experience, determining growth objectives, making key investments, and responding to crises will continue to be an important asset as well in the next normal.  

    Imagine being recognized for fueling school growth with actionable insights. 

    When you have the right tools and practices in place, the admission and enrollment process can yield strategically valuable information and insights—both about internal school patterns and external regional trends. When you have the power to easily access and visualize applicant trend data, you can fuel stronger collaboration across your school and support short- and long-term decision-making to ensure school growth. 

    Using admission and enrollment data as key areas for independent schools to evaluate and prioritize growth in the next normal will help arm decision-makers with new opportunities for outreach for valuable long-term growth gains.  

    To learn more about opportunities for growth see our latest whitepaper “How to Not Get Schooled in the Next Normal”.

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