Considering Mid-Year Admissions: The Upside for Your School and The Students

Vol. 1 No. 3

The independent school world is currently in the throes of the fall admissions cycle, hosting varying types of open house events that try to showcase their best self. Given the competition amongst peer schools all trying to strategically choose a key day, date and time from the few weekend dates available, this would seem like the time to dim the focus on the international marketplace. After all, while there is a recent uptick in visitation by international families, schools still need to focus on drawing in local, domestic students to their campuses.

But now is the perfect time to allow for considering broadening your school’s horizon to include the mid-year admission of the international student. Initially, a school should consider if the established program has the appropriate staff and adequate room to handle an influx of students and then determine a mission appropriate target number based on the current enrollment and those staffing statistics. Staffing considerations should include academic faculty as well as administrative positions. It can actually take fewer admissions staffing hours to communicate from inquiry to enrollment for the international student than thought due to the ease and speed of email and then capitalizing on the time zone differences as well. Once a determination is made that indeed the school program does have the resources and seats available so to speak, it is time to bring the staff and community on board.

Use the all the new marketing pieces in advertising for the open house events and hold a virtual open house just prior to the on-campus events. The community is all ready to be viewed and interviewed so now welcome the international student in virtually. Some schools and colleges have begun to live stream their events so as to make them accessible to so many more students. Of course, this requires some of the events scheduled to be interactive. Nobody wants to watch the filming of simply people in a room looking around or speaking intimately with each other.

In a shorter version of the same idea use the marketing pieces to draw the international marketplace in at least for the opportunity to schedule an interview, preferably via Skype or any webcam system. The current students should be showcased as ambassadors of their school and may accept the challenge of just such a tech project, bring them in as virtual ambassadors and tour guides for the international student and their family. Filming the various events of the open house as they occur and then posting them to the school’s web page and social media can easily and quickly reach the international marketplace.

Additionally maybe host a school visit or consultant reception just prior to the open house events again because you’re ready to show off. They don’t always need to see the school in session but rather at a time to gain a sense of all that your school is about so as to then represent your mission in the international marketplace well.

So now that you have reached the international marketplace, consider some of the great reasons for considering and enrolling mid-year admissions.

The positive possibilities for schools:

The budgetary plus of filling empty seats; programs can attempt recovery from a less than stellar start to the current year. Not for profit does not mean no need for funding.

Filling those same class seats can make for a more robust engagement for all the students if in fact the numbers of a class are too small, thereby improving the overall classroom experience for all students.

Schools can take a chance on students in whom they see potential, in getting to know them within the context of the program they can better decide if the student is likely to meet with long term success at the school.

Homestay host families required to only a one semester, five month commitment may be easier to recruit from the school community.

Here are some reasons why a mid-year admission is attractive to the international student and their family:

Mid-year admission allows for international students and their family to try the idea on for size so to speak. The shorter time frame of one semester may be the right fit for those younger students perhaps not having much previous experience with being far from home.

Being part of a small number of students admitted that will in turn receive some valued individual attention versus competing within a larger admitted student pool. It can be very appealing to the international student and their parents that the student is no longer a part of a large mass.

By the same token the applicant pool is likely to be smaller and less competitive at this time of year thereby possibly increasing the candidate’s chances of admission.

English immersion for many international students is necessary to advance their proficiency level prior to entering a graded semester, make use of the repeat semester or year. It can benefit the student in multiple ways, emotionally, socially as well as academically. This can work particularly well with the middle to high school transition.

The Visa application processing and wait time is typically shorter given the fewer number of student applicants at this time of year.

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