Three Steps for Successfully Turning an Inquiry Into a Campus Visit
Vol. 16 No. 5
Parents often contact multiple private-independent schools when choosing where to send their child. They want to cover their bases and ensure they chose a school with a mission, a philosophy, and practices that match their beliefs.
Parents can make an inquiry to your school by phone, via email, through your website, or by way of social media. Your job as a member of the Admission Office is to turn that inquiry into a campus visit, where you can show your school in action.
A campus visit gives you the opportunity to have a personal conversation with each family to determine what matters most to them. You can answer specific questions, quell any concerns, and allow the family to see how their child would fit in with your school’s culture and day-to-day activities.
Here are three steps to follow for successfully turning an inquiry into a campus visit.
Step No. 1: Get Personal
Make it clear that you see each family as individuals with their own needs and preferences. Collect the correct information during the inquiry so you can personalize future communications. In addition to the prospective student’s name, age, grade level, and school currently attending (if any), find out the child’s nickname, favorite subjects, hobbies, and any cocurriculars.
Collect information about the parents as well, including their names, contact information, what they are looking for in a school, and why they are considering yours. Also ask how they’d like to receive information from you—a mailed letter, email, or via phone. You can then personalize future communications to focus on the aspects that matter most to them.
Step No. 2: Always Follow Up
Follow up with each family that asked for more information in the manner they referenced in their inquiry. Use a personal salutation to address the parents and refer to the prospective student by name. Mention a program or activity you offer that matches the student’s interests or the parents’ desires for their child. Once you lay the foundation, end the correspondence with a call to action to come visit the school for a personal tour and conversation with your team.
Step No. 3: Keep Your School Top-of-Mind
Parents may inquire about your school and you may respond—but this still may not result in a visit. What can you do to keep your school top-of-mind? Stay in their view with email follow-ups and direct-mail pieces. You can also consider web and print advertising, as well as encouraging word-of-mouth promotion by current families. If a family isn’t sure how they want to proceed, frequent reminders could help move them in the right direction.
Increase campus visits by understanding your market, investing time, and being creative. Follow these steps to personalize your process and develop strong relationships with prospective families. A well-planned strategy can result in an expanded and stronger applicant pool.
Additional ISM resources for Gold Consortium members:
I&P Vol. 25 No. 5 Your Faculty’s Role in the Admission Process