The key to any enrollment strategy is to provide more value to families than your competing schools.
Stop trying to fix them.
Stop trying to take value from them.
Your goal is to give them the most value possible.
Your goal is to solve their problems.
Where to start?
I listed the first 10 reasons that come to mind on why parents decide to enroll their kids at your school:
• ensure their kids will be able to earn a living (ie. employment or entrepreneurship)
• save money (ie. free tuition)
• save time and/or increase convenience/comfort (ie. school closer to home)
• help their kids understand the world better (ie. improved academics, excellent teaching staff)
• help their kids build character for a tough world (ie. whole child education)
• help their children be happy, have fun, make friends (ie. extracurriculars, families they can relate to)
• increase security for their family (ie. safe school environment)
• achieve better health (ie. athletics, healthy school lunches)
• feel more loved (ie. warm, nurturing teachers)
• increase their children's future social status (ie. get into a well-known college)
So, here are a few practical questions you should be asking to form your strategy:
- What are five ways our school can move students towards becoming contributing and financially independent citizens?
(ie. summer internships, classes on entrepreneurship)
- How can our school help parents save money (not through tuition discounts) over the next week, month, or year?
(ie. discounted rates on goods and/or services through collaborative buying)
- How much time can I save them and what else could they do with that time?
(ie. free childcare a few times a month, bi-weekly progress reports via zoom)
- What is something they don't have to do anymore once they enroll with us?
(ie. saving money on extracurriculars, music lessons, athletics)
- How does our school eliminate worry for them?
(ie. bullying policies)
- What are three ways our school can help families feel more comfortable?
(ie. take initiative in organizing playdates)
- What are 3 things our school is doing to assure health & safety?
(ie. covid protocols, healthier lunches)
- How can I make our families feel more loved?
(ie. interactive report cards with video testimonials by teachers)
- How can we be increasing our students' future social status?
(ie. improved relationships with colleges, local business)
- How can we help our students build character?
(ie. more nature-based activities, volunteer work)
The times of relative stability, where change was incremental in the educational marketplace, are no more.
School leaders need to develop effective strategies to deal with their changed circumstances; and thoughtful strategic planning always starts with asking tough and penetrating questions.