‘Tis the Season for Service … and Open Houses

Vol. 11 No. 3


In last month's issue, we talked about open houses. This month, we want to share some creative ideas that we found on the ISM Admission e-list.

The holiday season always generates a lot of service projects to help those in need—troops overseas, the elderly, shut-ins, and others who may not be able to be with their families, or have the means to fully care for themselves or their families, etc.

One school is combining community service with an opportunity to introduce their school to new families. Haley Swartz, Admission Officer at Grandview Preparatory School in Boca Raton, FL, recently posted her school’s event that her school invited potential families to participate in their Give With Grandview event.

“We packed Thanksgiving-themed care packages for soldiers stationed overseas. We did this in partnership with a local nonprofit called Forgotten Soldiers Outreach, a group dedicated to shipping care packages to soldiers,” she said. “New families registered in advance, participated in a packing session, then had a tour of the school.”

Community service is a big part of Grandview’s fabric. If you visit “Why Grandview?" on www.grandviewprep.net, community comes first. This event dovetails perfectly into Grandview’s mission to foster global consciousness.

Since this was the first year, Ms. Swartz said they need to refine the marketing for next time. But out of 11 families that participated, five applied for admission. “We're really happy with it. We are on rolling admission, and it’s still early in our process,” she said.

At Central Catholic High School in Modesto, CA, the Student Marketing Committee plans and executes many of the tasks that go into the school’s open house, including a pumpkin patch. The committee “marketeers” decorate the school’s hallways with bales of hay, cornstalks, scarecrows, and pumpkins from a local farmer. Some years, CCHS rents small carnival-type games from the city Parks and Recreation Department to add into the fun, along with face painting and pumpkin painting. (This year, the school bought some games to include.)

“Our students have a pumpkin-decorating contest and use fairy tales and stories as a theme, like Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Blind Mice,” posted Cathi Padula, Director of Public Relations. “We always serve fun food like foot-long hot dogs, root beer floats, and popcorn popped in an antique popcorn machine from a local business.”

Ms. Padula said that all the departments put up displays in the hallways and give away things like pencils, bookmarks, candy, and the like. “Our Science Department does fun, interactive things like making Elephant Toothpaste or offering ride on a hover machine we bought from a science magazine.”

Guests also get gift bags they pick up when they enter the event. One year, the student ambassadors gave out business cards that included a free pass to a football or basketball game.

“A lot of credit goes to the Student Marketing Committee for the tremendous amount of work they put into this event,” said Ms. Padula. “It was a great success and even more fun to put together.”

Peggy Marino, Director of Admissions at St. Joseph High School in Trumball, CT, posted some key advice for open house success: “Train your ambassadors to be welcoming and to SMILE the whole time!”

Additional ISM resources of interest
ISM e-List for Admission Directors
ISM Monthly Update for Admission Officers Vol. 10 No. 5 Sticky Ads: Off the Paper and Onto the Fridge

Additional ISM resources for Consortium Gold Members
To The Point Vol. 15 No. 3 Five Ideas are Better Than One!
I&P Vol. 33 No 5 Parent Relations in the Pre-enrollment Period
To The Point Vol. 7 No. 9 Recruitment Process Need a Boost? Add a ‘Yield Party”

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