Why Every School Needs a Parent Portal for Future Students

Read on to find out how EnrolHQ tracks and drives Parent Engagement with your school throughout the enrolment journey.

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Parent Dashboard Enrolments

It's most likely a combination of wrangling with spreadsheets and email marketing tools (Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp etc.), or hijacking the school management system to fit in future families. And what do you do with the data if they never enrol? 

Although this laborious method might work for the school admissions and marketing team, the parents themselves most likely don't have a central place they can come back to and check what stage they are up to in the enrolment process.

Parent Portal

This is where EnrolHQ’s Future Parent Portal comes in. This is an online enrolment dashboard that all future parents have access to from the moment they Register Their Interest with your school on EnrolHQ. It’s the one place that parents can keep logging-in to to see if there are any outstanding tasks related to their child’s enrolment. Instead of prodding parents to send their forms back in the post or email document scans to your admissions team, you simply point them to the future parent portal where there will be big calls to action and ask them to proceed to the next task.

Let me illustrate what EnrolHQs Parent Portal can do with a few concrete examples.

The “Outstanding Tasks” Box

Wherever the Parent is up to in the Enrolments Process, there will be an "Outstanding Tasks" box with a call to action. It is a powerful driver of parent engagement. If you filter for a group of parents who have been through the Discovery Phase and Invite them to start the Enrolment process (or move them into ‘Enrolment Status’), they will see a call-to-action to ‘Start Enrolment’ in their future parent portal.

If they leave half-way through the process and come back, the system will know that they have completed certain steps and will ask them to “Continue their Enrolment” instead of starting the application again.

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When you, as an Admissions Registrar, review the completed application and mark some of the uploaded documentation as being incomplete or illegible, the system will prompt the parents to re-upload just those requested documents. These rounds of review or extra upload requirements can happen multiple times and at different stages of the enrolment journey as required. For example, some schools request more information after a parent accepts an offer of place but before their child starts at school.

Re-Upload Documents from Parent Portal

If you move the student into the “Principal’s Review” stage and assign them an interviewer, it will ask them to ‘Book an Interview’ via our powerful scheduler.

Book an Interview from Parent Portal

And finally, once you make an offer of enrolment, the parent is requested to come back to the Parent Portal to “Accept the offer”. Not only is this industry best practice but it is an important additional step that helps us create a solid digital footprint for the online signing of the enrolment contract.

Accept Offer from Parent Dashboard

Updating Contact Details

Some parents will enrol quite a number of years before their child is ready to start school. Family circumstances change, people move houses. At any time, parents are able to "Update their Contact Details" with your school seamlessly without having to email you or phone you so you manually update it. You can automate an email out to future parents to ask them to login and check their contact details are correct every 12 months prior to starting at school.

Update Contact Details

Giving/Withdrawing Marketing Consent

This particular requirement came up with a school that we were working with recently. The Principal wanted families to be able to opt-out of giving consent to the school for publishing videos/photos of their children online or in printed school publications. Rather than make it part of the Enrolment form , which encourages opt-out, the natural place for us to put it was inside the Future Parents Portal. Again, being in the portal, the parents have the choice to opt-out and if they change their mind they can opt in again. This information is fed into the school management system so that the school knows exactly who is opted-in/opted-out of being published in media.

Media Consent from Parent Dashboard

Security of Data

At EnrolHQ we never attach sensitive data to emails. We ask the parents to log-in to their parent portals to fetch the PDF version of their Enrolment Form with uploads and acceptance contracts bundled. For schools who pre-fill the family data using existing sources (paper forms, import) EnrolHQ goes to the added security step of sending the parents an SMS code to their phone number and asking them to reset their password by first sending a link to their email address. This makes sure their identity is verified, in a similar way to MyGov website, before allowing them to log-in to the Parent Portal. This is again best practice and an important step in the security of your parents sensitive enrolment data.

Most Importantly - It allows us to track Days Since Last Login

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By asking parents to log-in to their parent portal whenever they need to complete an action to progress their enrolment it gives us the all important and very powerful "Days Since Login" statistic. By tracking the days since last login, the school Registrar and Marketing team get a clear picture of the parents’ engagement with the school and how to follow up with families to drive up the acceptance rate. Tracking this statistic also allows EnrolHQ to build automated campaigns that reach parents who are stuck in the enrolment process for a certain number of days. It also allows for much more powerful granular reporting for leadership to see exactly what is going on and how to refine your process.

All of this makes for happy School Principals which is what we’re all about at EnrolHQ.

Published: 13 Aug 2019

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