5 Essentials of Virtual Admission Systems for Private Schools

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Kathy Nothnagel

November 10, 2021

    Virtual admissions have become crucial to private/independent schools to meet enrollment goals and grow their institution. And while these times of uncertainty have highlighted how important a stable, planned virtual admissions process is, there is no question that a modern school and new generations of parents are looking for it and will continue to do so.   

    Why Invest in Online Admissions Systems? 

    Alongside necessity, one of the keys to exemplary service in the modern-day for students and families is offering forms of learning about the school at a distance – from virtual events to dynamic sign-up and automatic email cadences – helps attract, retain, and engage prospective applicants. Families deserve a system that was built with their needs in mind.  

    Your team benefits from this process and workflow, too! An online admission solution ensures you’ve got the tools to stay more organized, efficient, and engaging. Let’s see what features your private school should be on the lookout for.    

    5 Features of Virtual Admissions Systems for Private Schools to Look at Closely  

    1. Digital Forms 

    You can conquer the mountain of paperwork with a click of a button or two. But that shouldn’t mean you have to redo all of your forms or do away with them. Seek a solution that supports your processes and forms, so that your workflow and process are improved, not interrupted. You can have a smooth virtual admissions process for the upcoming year.  

    And, with over 2,000 pieces of paper being used at a school every day, there are many benefits to leaning into virtual admissions.  

    2. Interview Scheduling 

    Teachers and administrators are busy. And don’t get us started on the calendars of your admissions staff. They have more colors than a produce department.  

    The right virtual admission system empowers your interviewers to manage their own schedules and availability, allowing your team to stay one step ahead during a busy, busy season. Double bookings or having staff hold time, but not getting that information over to a scheduler so it goes unused, are major, sometimes embarrassing, pain points. There are tools that can help the whole team manage time better and keep your virtual admissions process running smoothly!  

    3. Email Scheduling and Personalization 

    What if you didn’t have to click a button or two to send communications. Your team has to work hard to get people in the door, and likely would rather spend their time doing face-to-face meetings, making phone calls, and cultivating relationships. Find automation that works for your team and best supports your families.  

    Make sure to look closely at the communications features of your Virtual Admissions System. Whether you want to segment your applicants, flag certain files for follow-up, assign applications to specific readers or send personalized, targeted email campaigns – find a technology that lets you do it all without pushing a button. 

    Let automation do the hard work for you – and don’t lose out on growing relationships. 

    4. Financial Aid Integration 

    Imagine being able to see all that you need to know about a student in one place. No need to flip through endless files or sift through stacks of paper. No having to toggle between systems to make sure you have the right award amount or call someone for it. All of that unnecessary, manual work means your team loses precious time.  

    If your data syncs, application status, family contribution amounts, and recommended awards can be dropped into any decision letter templates you have set up. And, a data sync would also mean the reporting would tie together, making it easier than ever to share insights.  

    All of these benefits will best support your team and, in turn, your families.  

     5. Tuition Payment Tools 

    Exceed your families’ expectations with a tuition payment tool that integrates with admissions and enrollment. No additional password necessary. No asking their ZIP code for the zillionth time. And no paper! 

    And save your business office hours of valuable staff time and better facilitate their time spent working with your families. Find a tool that lets you bill at any time whether for tuition, deposits, admission application fees, or incidentals– while accommodating all types of payment plans, options, and financial aid awards.  

      

    Leveraging School Experiences Online 

    With the time saved by streamlining parts of the application process, what else can your administrators do to engage students and families virtually? 

    Consider hosting a virtual school fair. There are a few things you can do to maximize its impact on potential families and applicants.   

    Varied virtual campus tours options  

    How can you stand out to your prospective students, or offer a “personalized” experience when you can’t be face to face?  

    Consider putting together a self-guided tour, with an interactive map. People can click on points of interest – such as your science lab, football field, principal’s office, and more for a short video about those departments, teams, etc. It is very important to feature that human face(s).  

    Consider sharing previews of the videos on your social media to get a little bit of interest. And, you can upload and offer all of these in some enrollment suites, so that people can pique their interest and sign-up for your events in the same place.  

    Special admitted student moments 

    Treat your already applied and admitted students like the VIPs that they are. Offer special audiences with stakeholders at your school – like administration, coffee hours with club moderators and coaches, and student ambassador meet-ups.   

    If people have already taken the steps and invested the money to apply, it is important to give them segmented opportunities to engage with your school.   

    Student ambassador highlights 

    Do a few student ambassador “takeovers” of your social media.  

    A “day in the life” on Instagram and Facebook stories (or dare we say Tik Tok) will really give life to your school from the point of view of your audience. Obviously, pick diverse student experiences, and curate some of what they will cover. You want to make sure you are sharing the breadth of your school, so having a list of things you want to make sure get covered is important.  

    It is also important to be true to your school and mission. Don’t try to impersonate your competition. People want to get a feel for who you genuinely are and what your value is.   

    Dynamic updates to your website 

    Consumers today heavily rely on reviews and researching places and things before they go. (Cue looking through a menu before you sit down at a restaurant.) Make sure your website gives the best first impression of your school that it can.  

    Additionally, if your admissions suite offers a hub (a landing page for your school), make sure to update that as well and add content that makes you stand out. A PDF letter from the president just isn’t going to cut it. Use videos, share photos and testimonials, and more variety of content to stand out.   

    Contact Ravenna to Make Virtual Admissions Work for Your Private School 

    With Ravenna, schools can interact with prospective students and families, process applications, and enroll students virtually. Families can manage their applications and events, accept enrollment, and even pay tuition all via our software.  

    Through Ravenna, your school will be more accessible and easier to find for prospective students and their families, which will allow you to broaden your reach and engagement. 

    Request a demo today to learn more about Ravenna and how it can help you revolutionize your school’s admission process. 

     

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