“Welcome!" Now What?—What You Send to Accepted Students
Vol. 12 No. 7
After days of maneuvering around stacks of unopened envelopes balanced on desks like paper Jenga towers and peering at indecipherable handwriting on recommendations and evaluations, you’ve done it. You have created the perfect incoming class for next school year. You are about to make some fortunate children (and their parents) incredibly happy. Now, to tell them the great news!
Enter your acceptance packet.
Sure, you could tell them via an e-mail or a generic bulk letter, but that’s no way to make your future students feel welcome at your school. Read on to find some suggestions on what to send to your accepted students (and their relieved parents) from The Admission Funnel and the Admission Director e-List.
The Acceptance Letter
Your letter is the most important piece of your acceptance package—that’s what the family has been waiting to see for months! The Admission Funnelrecommends you send two letters, the first of which goes to the student. In it, students will learn that they are “the first to know” the great news, and such a personal letter allows you to add add some unique touches of your own. (This is especially important at upper school levels, as the students have a certain amount of control over the decision-making process.)
The second, more formal letter should be sent to the parent a day after the student’s. Obviously, the student will already have told his or her parents the great news, but the parent-specific letter is an opportunity to give the parent important information like pertinent timelines and answers to some frequently asked questions.
The Admission Packet
Contract and Necessary Paperwork
After you send the acceptance letters, send the family a packet with several items inclusind the most importantyour enrollment contract. This document is vital to send early, considering this is how the family is going to enroll at the school and “seal the deal.”
Send along addressed and stamped return envelopes in the packet to make signing and sending the contract as easy as possible. Information about possible payment plans, credit card authorization forms, timelines for contract returns, deposits, and special admission events would be good to add, too.
Other Important Additions
Newsletters are fantastic ways to introduce the family to the school community, as are calendars of important school dates and fun school events. Brochures about special programs at your school like summer camps or extracurricular activities can keep excitement and anticipation high for your future student. If your private school is religiously affiliated, invitations to join your synagogue or church are appropriate, too.
Add a copy of your school’s handbook—or a flyer containing an overview of important rules. This small supplement will help the family understand your school’s expectations from the start.
A small brochure about your school’s Development Office, annual fund, and how your school’s culture of philanthropy supports your mission is vital to starting a relationship between your Development Director and the potential family. By telling a family how their donation will help their student—and by introducing the idea of giving to the school early on—the Development Office will find it much easier to ask for the family’s time, treasure, and talents for the annual fund and other fiscal projects.
Once the contract is signed and returned, more detailed forms can be added, like the emergency contact sheet, school supply lists, and required health sheets.
Make It Personal!
At every opportunity, work hard to send more than just the standard package to a student and his or her family. Highlighting special events on your calendar or your sports’ teams latest victory will remind the student that you remember past conversations and care about his or her interests. A sticky note with a quick, handwritten message on a letter will impact the family more than generic printed copy.
Even better, call the family and personally offer your congratulations! Not only does it give you a chance to confirm that they received the letter and packet, but it also offers you an opportunity to address any concerns or questions at the start. Take it a step further and involve your faculty. For example, if the student showed interest in joining your orchestra, ask your conductor to contact the family and talk about the program.
While slightly more time-consuming during a time when every minute counts, personalizing your acceptance packet will make your offer stand out from others and increase the chance that the student will enroll at your school. And ultimately, that’s the whole point of the Admission Office: recruiting—and enrolling!—the best, most mission-appropriate class for your school.
Convince families to choose your private-independent school above any other by adding one of ISM’s pamphlets to your accepted student packet! These brochures are easily customizable with your school’s logo and available in both English and Spanish.
Additional ISM resources:
ISM Monthly Update for Admission Officers Vol. 7 No. 8 Putting Together the Perfect Welcome Packet
Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 26 No. 5 Your Faculty’s Role in the Admission Process