Many school promoters are finding it difficult to enroll required number of students. This is in fact, one of the biggest challenge school promoters are experiencing when they launch a new school or trying to sustain an established school. Creating the best infrastructure, putting up hoardings and hiring the best resources is not helping yield the required number of admissions.
The situation may vary for a new school and an established school, Listing four important aspects that impact admissions of a school -
Create a vision for the school, determine the positioning strategy, Establish a brand campaign to educate, engage and influence parents/student community. create a budget for the brand campaign and assign necessary funds. We suggest to run the brand campaign untill the desired admission goals are achieved and reduce / increase the campaign frequency basis the outcomes.
Ensure you are not compromising on the brand position, For example brand positioning that works for an affordable school may not work for an International School. We observed internal branding is often ignored and brand posture is compromised.
The success of the brand campaign depends on the given situation. Measure monthly, the outcomes based on the awareness created in the target market, trust established with parent community, reputation and increasing trend in quality of incoming inquiry's.
Awards and accolades add value to the brand repute.
2. Communication (Marketing)
Determine the catchment area, target segment and unique selling points. Define a communication strategy, select media and create the appropriate content specific to a media. Various communication media are available - outdoor, indoor, digital, social, web, TV, etc.
Define a budget for the communications campaign, assign necessary funds for the required duration. The duration depends on the type of schooling you are offering.
Measure the success of the communications campaign on a monthly basis based on the number of incoming inquiry's, their quality and determine what media is working for you. An increasing trend in the incoming inquiry's is desired.
Marketing to an unwanted segment, catchment area and spending on an unwanted media are the most common mistakes we observed. Avoid spending on a media which is not giving quality inquiry's, reassign budgets to an appropriate media.
3. Admissions (Sales)
The number inquiry's you are able to convert into an admission, play a vital role in the success of a school. The more admissions, the more success. You have the necessary funds to continue to sustain operations of the school and realize your dream of educating more and more children.
Most of the time brand, marketing / communications strategy's work very well. Parents walk-in to the school, but does not admit their children in the school. Reasons could be many, listing the most common reasons for your reference -
An increasing trend in the number of admission is desired. You need to ensure that the team handling admissions process are trained to sell your school programs and efficiently handle objections raised by parents.
4. Retention & Parent Satisfaction
En route our journey as a school improvement / school audit service provider - we received many inquiries, a considerable number of them were from well established brands and famous franchisee schools seeking assistance to get them admissions for a commission for every enrollment, However appealing it sounds - our ethics do not allow us to even contemplate such an idea of commercializing the future of children.
In addition to the 3 aspects detailed earlier, Retention and Parent Satisfaction are the key determinants to increase enrollment rate. The effort towards increasing enrollments is an ongoing process and does not come to an end as the academic session starts. School management must lay strong focus on ensuring educational commitments are delivered without fail, what ever the brand name may be, it will not compensate for that.
School will be able to retain students when it delivers on educational commitments it made while keeping parents informed via appropriate channels. School must always work towards maintaining 100% parent satisfaction or an increasing trend in parent satisfaction index, this is essential as the parents propagate the school name more than any other media - up to 80% of the new admissions in one of our partner school were reported to be have come through parent referral.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.