What Is a Virtual Admissions Process for K-12?
A virtual K-12 admissions process moves all essential steps online. You can create digital forms, virtual tours, and video introductions and information sessions. This admissions type became necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic when schools had to turn to alternative solutions to reach students and parents from their homes. After, schools continue to use this method after realizing its advantages and better understanding their community’s preferences.
The Benefits of Virtual Admissions
Schools and families can benefit from an online admissions system. Some advantages of implementing this option include:
- Increasing availability: Physical admissions processes require pre-determined schedules that benefit staff availability, even if that doesn’t align well with when students and families can meet. Virtual admissions expand your availability, allowing you to accommodate more students and families. Online systems, like forms, can be available 24/7, enabling families to complete them when possible. Virtual tours and recordings can exist indefinitely, so students can continue interacting with your content and exploring what your school offers.
- Boosting personalization: Students and families love targeted content because it helps them feel they have a place at your school. Virtual admissions allow your teams to prepare more content without worrying about overlapping schedules or limited space, so you can highlight more programs and clubs. You can track student interests and send them personalized content, keeping them engaged in admissions and interested in your school.
- Implementing more creative approaches: You can engage students and families in many ways with virtual admissions processes. You can try new methods, from virtual tours to meet and greets over video, without taking away from other experiences. Because you can adjust processes easily, you can add content based on what your students want for each admissions season.
- Reducing manual processes and errors: Manual preparation and execution can be time-consuming. When handling essential documents and financial information, manual filing and inputting can increase the risk of errors and omissions that decreases your families’ experience with your school. Virtual admissions solutions include many automated tasks, from creating reliable forms to sorting and organizing family information accurately in profiles. All involved parties can better depend on your admissions process while refocusing administrative energy to working directly with families and students.
- Streamlining processes: The virtual approach can help make the admissions process more efficient and easy to manage for your students and families. Whether your families have multiple students or just one, they have to juggle events, information sessions, and forms. Virtual admissions enable them to track their progress better and even receive notifications about incomplete processes or available opportunities. Your administrative teams can quickly review submitted data to understand their potential students.
When your organization wants to streamline processes and devote more attention to creating impactful and memorable first impressions with students and families, a compelling virtual admissions experience can support your goals. You can adapt these solutions to your needs with diverse capabilities and features to create an admissions process unique to your school.
Why Virtual Admissions Is Essential for Growth
To grow your student population and school community, you can count on a virtual admissions process to support expansion efforts. As a comprehensive approach, you can use it to grow in several areas, allowing this solution to work for more schools and communities. An online admissions system can help your school meet:
- Expectations: More schools are offering online learning and digital solutions. Even after the pandemic, many families prefer and expect virtual opportunities when approaching the school year. Meeting their needs and expectations can keep them engaged and show them you care about their preferences. Further, you can attract students and families who are looking for this kind of experience.
- Competition: As virtual school solutions become more standard, online admissions will be necessary to compete with other private K-12s. To help your school stand out, you can offer unique services like online admissions options. Implementing the latest trends and technology as they happen can ensure you stay on top of audience expectations and industry standards, so you have fewer adjustments to new ones later.
- Convenience: Families have busy schedules. They might work during the day or have other obligations, like caring for younger children. Older students might also have jobs that take up portions of their free time. A virtual solution can help you connect with more people when you want to grow your student population. Students and families can view resources and work through applications when it’s convenient for them.
- Reach: A virtual option is excellent if you want to accommodate out-of-state and non-local students. Because students and families can approach the admissions process on their schedules, they can save money and time on travel and expand their options to schools they couldn’t consider before. Even students and families who travel can continue to engage with your admissions content and fill out necessary forms from their current location.
With the right available tools, your faculty and staff can better approach changes and grow your brand presence and student population.
4 Tips for Implementing a Virtual Admissions Process
When integrating a virtual admissions process, you have many factors to consider. Tips can help your school and administrative teams optimize your virtual admissions solution while making it an excellent experience for students and families.
1. Highlight Convenience and Flexibility
Flexible and convenient scheduling is a significant asset for schools using a virtual admissions platform. While some families might know this comes with an online approach, clarifying it can highlight the benefits it can bring to students, families, teachers, and faculty. Some ways you can create a more flexible and convenient virtual admissions process include:
- Recorded material: Your teachers, administrators, and faculty can record videos to post online during admissions. From answering FAQs to showcasing school facilities, you can do anything with your recorded content. Speakers paired with visual content can help students feel they are present. If you offer live streams, you can record them to post later, so students who missed them can still receive information.
- Open schedules: Your admissions process might include interviews or one-on-one interactions with students or families. These opportunities are great ways to connect with potential school community members, assess their interests, and answer questions or concerns they might have. You can also offer appointment slots to create a more open schedule. Students and families can choose the best option for their schedule, and you can even give them a choice to reach out if they need additional times and dates.
- Virtual resources: Your existing content and other resources can be great databases for families and students to explore themselves. Virtual tours are an excellent way for students to see your campus and available amenities. Digital platforms allow students to walk through rooms at their pace. Digital modules can introduce students to essential information and processes while maintaining interest and engagement. Even written content, like blogs and FAQs, can allow families and students to access information conveniently from their homes.
- Digital communication: While phone calls and video chats can be great ways to connect with families in the moment, other online communication systems can give some autonomy back to your audience. Chats, emails, texts, and alerts boost communication between students, families, and schools. When families can’t call or speak, these options help them get the answers or support they need to move forward in the admissions process.
When families can access online information to learn about your school, they can feel better about exploring their options before committing, creating a more positive, stress-free first impression.
2. Cater to Low-Pressure Research Preferences
In addition to increased flexibility and convenience, you can decrease the pressure put on students and families trying to find the right school for them. Many families want to determine if they fit in at the school before committing to it, making research an integral part of the admissions process. However, attending in-person events can represent a certain level of commitment that some families might not be ready for.
Having access to a robust collection of online materials can provide families with the information they need to commit to your school at their pace. From recorded messages and walkthroughs to blogs, your virtual admissions solution can help you create a database that families and students can explore, allowing them to make their decision without pressure or influence.
3. Embrace Technology Across Departments
As technology becomes more expected in schools, you can leverage your virtual admissions process across departments for optimized content creation and sharing. While your administration has valuable information to share with families and students, your faculty and teachers can expand their knowledge and show a different side of your school. Some ways you can deploy technology to other departments include:
- Introductions and information sessions: Having the administration run information sessions and record videos is a great way to introduce students to school executives and decision-makers, but students will interact with teachers daily. Recorded content created by specific departments can help students explore opportunities within that program from the people who lead it. When they start at your school, they will already recognize some faculty members, helping them determine who they can go to if they need help.
- Demonstrations: You can engage students and get them excited about everything your school and teachers offer by filming demonstrations. Your science teachers can record experiments in their labs, showing interested students what they can expect in the classroom. Music teachers might gather a small group of band students to perform. Especially when you have highly specified programs, you can show off your technology, amenities, and teachers with recorded demonstrations.
- Tours: Many administrators host virtual tours to give overviews of your campus and facilities. You can also offer more specified tours of amenities and classrooms by the people who work there daily. For example, your librarians might walk students through the library, while science teachers show what a typical science classroom looks like and the kind of equipment stored there. Handing off tours to teachers and faculty can allow them to tailor tours to what they think students need to know based on their experiences and expertise.
Your teachers and staff can be significant assets throughout the admissions process. When technology can create a more inclusive environment, using technology in the admissions process can show students you care about their needs. Understanding how to implement them into your digital solutions can help connect them with students and offer more detailed content.
4. Connect With the School Community
Bonding with your students and families is essential when approaching the admissions process. Forming relationships and building rapport can make them feel like they are a part of the community. Personalized content is a great way to foster connections with students. Highlighting how your school meets their needs and interests assures them they have a place within your community and you are invested in their success. The flexibility increases connectivity because students and families can interact with content on their schedule, allowing you to reach out-of-state students.
Your existing students can be a great resource. Consider starting a student ambassador program where you pair a current student with potential ones. They can walk students through various steps and aspects of the admissions process, especially since they have done it themselves. They can answer questions about class difficulty, homework levels, club involvement, and other essential aspects of student life. Like introducing students to teachers, a student ambassador will ensure they already know someone at your school when the academic year starts.
Choosing the Right Platform for Your Online Admissions Process With Ravenna
With so many benefits and applications, software for K-12 school admissions can streamline services and better connect administration with students and families. The right software solution and provider can give you the functionality and features you need to create a compelling experience during admissions.
Ravenna ADMIT is an admission software solution designed for private and independent K-12 schools. Its centralized approach makes it easy for administrators to oversee the admissions process and gain valuable insights while families manage multiple students in one place. Customizable features make it adjustable to your branding standards, so you can increase your brand awareness and consistency throughout all school processes.
Families and administrators can also track application progress. Intuitive alerts notify families of incoming deadlines, and insights highlight inactive accounts where faculty can increase communication with families. Ravenna ADMIT automates calendars to manage open appointment slots and reminders if your school offers interviews. Your teachers and administrators can save time and increase user experience during the interview stage.
You can automate several aspects of Ravenna ADMIT, from notifications to workflows. Automation helps increase staff efficiency, allowing them to focus their attention on providing the best services to your potential students and families. Moving repetitive functions online can increase office space and organization, helping your school tackle more goals and growth initiatives.
Request a demo today and discover how Ravenna Solutions can improve your admissions process.