As this year’s recruitment cycle winds down and you begin to make final decisions on applicants for next year’s class, it’s time to consider what your Admission Office did well this cycle and how it can improve for the next. One of the areas of concern for schools—turning to listservs and forums for insight—is re-enrollment.
One way private-independent schools bypass this headache is to implement “perpetual” or “continuous” enrollment. In such an arrangement, the student is automatically re-enrolled for the next semester if the student has maintained sufficient standing to warrant the invitation to return (e.g., satisfactory behavior and academic performance) and the student’s account is paid in full.
Is this a universal solution for every private school? Considering that every school is unique, maybe not—but it’s certainly worth examining further.
We love to talk about the things we love. It could be family and friends, the latest and greatest TV show or book, or a beloved vacation spot. Most of us tend to leave out the negative things, preferring to dwell on the positive. In general, that’s a great way to live and work. But, as an Admission Director, you know that ignoring the less-than-fantastic elements of your program will (eventually) lead to people departing from the school in droves, no matter how excellent the positive aspects are.
So, be proactive! Before your school sees a massive exodus, find out why your withdrawing families are going elsewhere. This doesn’t have to be an awkward, unplanned conversation—a simple survey process can provide the answers you need and solid information you can act on.
Photo credit to Robert Galbraith/Reuters
Have you heard about Miles, the Batkid of San Francisco? Back in November, the Make-A-Wish Foundation made this five-year-old cancer survivor’s dream come true by turning the whole city into a Gotham-themed playground for a day, complete with supervillains condemned by the U.S. Department of Justice and damsels in distress. Turns out this act touched more lives than just our heroes'. Someone rented a billboard to thank Batkid for his feats of daring-do during his day fighting crime—and no one knows who funded it! It’s a complete mystery, one that not even Batman himself could solve.
By keeping his or her identity masked, this anonymous donor’s indirect contribution to the Make-A-Wish foundation puts the focus on their mission—to give children hope, strength, and joy by granting wishes, extravagant or modest—rather than garnering attention for him- or herself.
Sometimes, it’s the simplest words that have the biggest impact, and remembering to say “thank you” can be the easiest way to preserve the relationship you've worked so hard to establish with your donor. But what makes a great thank-you letter? What can encourage donors to feel good about the gifts they’ve already made—and inspire them to give again?
Alyssa Smith was a diamond in the rough in last year’s applications. You were excited to offer her acceptance, and she and her parents have been a wonderful addition to your private-independent school community. This year, you see “Smith, Michael” on one of your applications, and you open it with pleasure to find … a young man you can’t accept.
In early spring, your Admission Office bustles with news for waiting families and burning questions your staff ask among themselves as they wait for responses as your deadline approaches. How many of your currently-enrolled families will re-enroll? How many of your “yes” letters will come back with a signed contract and a check? What if you don’t hit your enrollment goal? What if you're over enrolled?
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