Practical Tips: The Perfect School Tour Framework

Getting parents in the (virtual) door is only half the battle. Families visiting your school is literally where the rubber meets the road. To maximize those efforts and make your school tour shine, follow these simple tips.

Getting parents in the (virtual) door is only half the battle. Families visiting your school is literally where the rubber meets the road.  

To maximize those efforts and make your school tour shine, follow these simple tips:

Pre-Tour chat

You bring them into your office (or on a Zoom call) and ask them what they hope to get out of the tour today.

“Dave, before I show you around and tell you all about us, I would love to hear about your boys.

What are they like, and what do you want them to achieve while at our school?”  

After all, parents LOVE to talk about their kids. Not spending a few moments to see what drives them to visit the school is a big no-no. Rather than a personalized experience, you are delivering a one-tour-fits-all plan. What difficulties do they face? What are they hoping to change?

Equipped with your information, you can now use much more convincing language during the tour.  

“This is where Emma will catch her Mathematics class.”  Or, “This is where Dan will come for basketball.”  

Talking in this fashion helps the parent to envision their child at your school.

List of answers

Identify those common objections with the admissions team and come up with a solutions shortlist. This shortlist can come in handy for training if there is a new hire or turnover within the team. Here is a brief outline of some objections:

  • They cannot afford tuition
  • The school is too far from where they live
  • The curriculum is too challenging
  • They are not sure about their eligibility for financial aid before applying
  • A divorced spouse requires to visit the school

Equip Your Team

Teachers, students, and staff should have warming and inspiring class activities planned.

Your office staff, too, has a vital role to play in a family's visit. They should know when a tour is coming through and be ready to put their best foot forward. It is everyone's job to make these visiting families feel welcome.

During the school tour, try to have your principal or head of school stop by and introduce herself. People want to meet the leader of the school.

Emotions are powerful... and so are safety and academics

I bet that if you ask any parent what is the most critical factor when deciding for a school, they would say the academics.

No shock there, right?

Search for ideas to draw into your best educational features. What makes you more suitable than your competitors? Go past the statistics and test numbers, too. Share stories of student achievement. Provide testimonials, and allow teachers to share their experience.

Finally, schools should inform parents about the measures being implemented to reassure them of the school’s safety.

Connect with students

Whether it’s the parents visiting or taking their children along, this is the perfect time for student tour guides to step into action. Select them wisely and prepare them to relate your school’s story and their experience.

Make arrangements for visiting students to shadow another student in the same grade. Parents need to identify that their child will fit in with the rest of the students. So, make sure you involve and engage others – teachers, staff, and students. Be sure to introduce these families to the full spectrum of your school community so that they get a feel for life at your school.

Create a “wow” instant

What is the one thing that they cannot get elsewhere? Don’t have a Wow?

Then you need to consider creating one.

This idea is a bit more shifting than others. Depending on the students’ ages, arrange one inspirational moment for each. It could be a tender song in the second-grade classroom, a student’s moving performance, or a sharp testimonial from a teacher. Choosing a school is an emotional experience for parents. Find one thing that will speak to their hearts. They must feel at their very core that they could belong in your community.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Once a family visits a school, the key is to get them so emotionally charged up; they know they have to go to the next step. One way is to give them a coupon. Offer them a discount off the application fee if they apply within seven days after visiting the school.  It gives them the extra push they need to move forward right away.

Close With Stacking

End with stacking all the benefits, building a strong close, and continue to nurture them until they enroll.

It’s a mistake to finish the tour, wishing them goodbye, assuming that they call you. Inform them of the next steps that they need to take. Is it filling out an application? This is not the time to make your parents guess about the next move in the process. Don’t be afraid to try to close them. Once they leave, follow up with a thank you text.  Contact them weekly to encourage them to apply.

When done well, school tours can not only be informative, but also fun, energizing, and above all, memorable.

Be memorable for all the right reasons!