Three Ways Graduating Students Support Advancement
Vol. 14 No. 9
Graduating season is fast approaching! The entire school should be abuzz as it prepares to wish your senior students well on the next step of their academic careers—including your Admission Office. Graduating students represent vital advancement opportunities that your office should be grabbing with both hands.
1. A Living “Portrait of the Graduate”
As part of their strategic plans, all private schools should have a “Portrait of the Graduate:” a description of what sort of a person a student becomes after an educational journey at the school. This portrait should be advertised to prospective parents (“See what your student could become at our school!”), as well as to donors (“See what your support helps create!”) and current families (“See how lucky we are to have such a wonderful school teaching our children!”).
The only thing more powerful than a promised result is seeing that result actually occur. So before your graduates head into the wild blue yonder, interview them—on film, if possible. See what the real graduate from your school looks like, and use that to inform your school’s future Portraits of the Graduate—as well as present “real” examples of graduates to prospects, donors, and the school community.
2. A Future Member of Your Alumni Community
Alumni play a foundational role in a school’s advancement plans. They often become donors, future parents, and advocates for your school in the broader community. Therefore, ensuring that your graduates remain an integral and interested part of your school requires work before they ever leave your campus.
Arrange for an alumni weekend at your school near the end of the school year, after most colleges have released students for summer session and before your senior students graduate. Your seniors will appreciate the guidance from previous students as they take the next step in their educational journey, and will feel the school’s care and attention benefits students for their entire lives—not just the few years their parents pay tuition.
3. An Ambassador to New Students
While next year’s new students have already enrolled, it’s always wise to reinforce your school’s value proposition to families—old and new—at every opportunity. Few can speak better to the value of your school’s educational program than its graduating seniors.
You can invite graduating students to events for new families, to help manage programs and smooth worries with entering students. They’ll also serve as an unspoken example of what the new students could become through the school’s mission-based education.
Graduating students could also be celebrated in a schoolwide event, showcasing students’ talents and accomplishments. Again, this reiterates your school’s value to current and prospective students, while acknowledging the amazing things your students have achieved as part of your school.
Just because your graduating students are leaving soon doesn’t mean that you “don’t have to worry about” them anymore. Matriculating students are a remarkable resource for the Admission Office’s recruitment and re-recruitment programs as students move on to the next stage of their academic career—and into a new relationship with your school.
Additional ISM resources:
The Source for Development Directors Vol. 12 No. 9 #GradSelfies: Pictures Tell the Stories of Your Graduates to the Community
Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 38 No. 1 Assessing Your School's Internal Marketing in Light of the Student Experience Survey