Hope all is well and that you had a break over the Easter long weekend (albeit in iso with your kids 24/7 like I was). Lots of Lego, Disney+, iPads and scootering around the block to stay sane...
Yesterday I was supporting a few of our schools with generalised advice on how to improve the rate of enrolment offer acceptances and it occurred to me that it would make a great blog post so here goes.
The Offer of Place Problem
Most schools on EnrolHQ will charge between $1000 to $3000 as a 'non-refundable acceptance of offer fee'. Some of our smaller schools will go down to a smaller fee but the idea is the same; to get families to show they're serious about attending your school by putting a deposit down to reserve their place.
The 'Offers Accepted' (that is parents who sign and pay) is the magic number that both Principals and School Leadership focus on when they are asked the question 'is the school filled for Kindergarten, Year 5 and Year 7 in 202X?'. And it's often the Registrar who needs to provide an accurate number and make sure the school is tracking towards the school targets.
In our experience, Schools who are offering for 2022 will generally overbook by about 30% to account for 'school shopping' and the 'I got a place at a selective school' (a NSW specific issue). This drop-off factor invariably occurs between offer of acceptance and families turning up at orientation.
We've noticed some reticence across the board in recent weeks from families accepting their offer. We believe that in the current economic climate, you will need to be proactive in the way you engage families after the initial email letter of offer has gone out, as you can't afford to let a single student slip away.
What can I do as a School Admissions Registrar?
Here are our top tips to help you build a process outlined in the graphic below:
Schedule Automated Email Follow-Ups
Inside EnrolHQ, we have an 'Automated Email Trigger' system which you can use to set-up and send emails on an automated schedule to families after the letter of offer has gone out. The kicker is that at any time they accept the offer, any emails scheduled to go out after that will be stopped for that particular family.
Filter For Expired Offers and Look at Days Since Login
The whole idea of automated email reminders is to give you back time. In the first instance, this time should be focused on following-up personally with anybody whose Offer has expired but they have recently logged in to their EnrolHQ Future Parent Dashboard (as this shows engagement). The parent may need just that small nudge to get over the line, and it's all about making sure they have no reservations, no objections and no issues with accepting offer.
You can quickly filter on your outstanding offers and get some results. We recommend you look for the Days Since Login column and sort to be less than 21 (3 weeks). You should follow up with those families first, these are your lowest hanging fruit.
Set a Grace Period to Give a Second Chance
For all offers, we advise you set a grace period of 7 days on the offer expiry so these families can still log-in and accept up to a week after the real expiry date.
Another tip we give to clients is to craft up an email to go to the remainder of the Offers Expired that says 'Your Offer Has Expired but we are extending given the current circumstances'. This gives all those that have expired another bite of the cherry. We love this feature as it is something that is very hard to manage when you send out paper offers. Make sure you give parents the opportunity to speak with the school if they so desire by phone or by a virtual meeting. This particular email should be sent to all who have shown no engagement. What we are doing is prioritising your follow-up's to make sure you get the best outcomes possible. Recording the engagement level of each family is critical to this function.
Finally, you will need to follow up by phone...
Our final tip is that at the end of the grace period it's time to force a decision. You need to follow up with each outstanding parent again (preferably by phone) and ask them to either accept the offer or you'll put them on the 'Not Proceeding' list.
This strategy allows the school to continue to make offers to others but more importantly is a good sales method for closing, as it taps into the parents fear that their child might miss a place if they don't accept the offer. Once you have the acceptance, it's your job to keep engaging with them until you onboard - but that's a whole other blog post. :)
EnrolHQ was purpose built to help schools achieve these acceptance of offer targets. It's not just 'another online Enrolment Form'; it's the real deal with 'Acceptances' and "Automated Follow-Ups' built in to the core to help schools gain a competitive advantage in nurturing and enrolling new students. Thanks for reading!
Published: 15 Apr 2020