February 17, 2022
Are you new to the role of Admission Director at your school? We rounded up several tidbits about what admission leaders should know, based on a question-and-answer session with Mary Yorke Oates, Director of Admission at Charlotte Latin School in North Carolina and leader of The New Admission Director workshop at Summer Institute 2022.
This seasoned admission veteran compiled what people new to the position should know in order to thrive while enabling the school to succeed, too.
Here are eight things Mary Yorke itemized for new Admission Directors.
1. Define your admission department—regardless of size.
The ideal Admission Office comes in all shapes and sizes. There are some best practices depending on your size. The size depends on the number of applicants. For every 100 applicants, you need one full-time employee.
Despite the size of the office, it’s vital to identify the work of admission as a whole-school initiative. You must learn from and train your constituents—including your staff. Integrating the school community into the process is key.
2. Don’t get caught up in one admission event.
Many schools think they need a single event to create energy to drive applications, but that’s almost never the case. Events market the school externally and internally.
Even if you do a huge event, it’s vital to pay attention to the way you drive engagement.
What’s more important is the way you make people feel when they get to campus.
3. Spearhead a program welcoming new families.
Make new families feel welcome and included from the start. Sometimes directing families to get in touch with teachers may not provide the most cohesive experience for families.
The admission team members need to be the “architects of this work.” For example, if there is a welcoming event before orientation, the admission team can “hand the baton” to other school professionals, including teachers.
Parents provide word-of-mouth help to welcome new families, but they can’t be your only source to welcome newly enrolled families.
Your Admission Office must work collaboratively with departments, parents, and parent organizations—the admission department has to be present in all of it.
4. Lighten the administrative load.
Having the right systems in place can help reduce the administrative load for an admission team—and these systems don’t have to be too complicated. A simple tool such as an Excel spreadsheet can help tremendously.
If you have more than 500 or 600 applications a year, investing in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform can help reduce errors and provide an automated, consistent experience.
Designating temporary help—not parents or volunteers—to do some of the administrative work can also help to lighten the burden.
Tune in to ask questions related to this Source article or other topics you've encountered lately.
Visit our NEW Community and start posting.
5. Don’t waste energy on unengaged prospects.
If you have a seemingly interested family visit campus, but they don’t respond to your follow-up email, it may be wise to not exert more energy in trying to convert them into a lead.
6. Be sure to keep in touch with all your applicant families.
If you have an applicant waiting pool, it’s important to let people know when openings pop up. Send a letter to older prospects letting them know they’re welcome to re-apply.
7. Get feedback from new families—but pay attention to when you do it.
It’s perfectly fine to send out a survey to new families, but timing is key. Be sure your families receive a survey at the right time—maybe not the day report cards come out, for example. Another way to see how new families are engaging is by involving them in an open house.
8. Train your team.
Whether you need to educate your staff on the specifics of diversity and inclusion or you have to train parents who are volunteering, put forth the time and effort to do it right. That is, if you’re not an expert in something, reach out to a consultant or schedule a workshop led by someone or a team who has experience in that area.
Keeping your admission prospects full often starts with making it easy for people to apply without added effort. One way of doing this is to include an application on your website.
4/4/2023 — 4/6/2023
School Hiring Mastery: How to Create and Implement a Mission-Driven Hiring Plan
4/27/2023 — 5/25/2023
Road Map to Year One: ISM’s Accelerator for New Heads