It’s that time of year again. Help your board of trustees understand the latest admission season, both at your school and in comparison to the larger independent school community. Whether it’s your first time presenting to your board or your 100th, there are some things you should always keep in mind:
MIX IT UP!
Boards, like any group, represent a diverse community of learners, and reports should not be geared to only one learning style. Mix it up both verbally and visually. Avoid giving the same report over and over and just updating numbers. Your report should tell a story or have a theme. Consider planning your board reports for the year so that they read as chapters in a story.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE FUTURE!
As noted by Bill New in The Yield, to do their jobs well, trustees need to concentrate on the long-term enrollment mission of the school with appropriate indicators (funnel shape, demographics, economics, geographics) rather than next year’s numbers. It is easy to drown trustees in numbers, percentages, charts, tables, and graphs, but the admission report should also be “big picture”—a confirmation of alignment with mission.
Spring is generally the time when trustees “put it all together” in terms of next year’s budget and must deal with trade-offs in terms of staffing and/or financial aid. Provide the information they need to make mission-driven enrollment decisions.
DATA, DATA, DATA!
Use the data available to you! Your Member Access Portal (MAP)’s Data Dashboard includes five years of shared tester data that can provide you with a very clear picture of your competition as well as application trends year over year. Don’t forget—our Outreach Directors are always happy to share resources and ideas.
WHAT TO INCLUDE:
- Illustrate your admission successes and challenges. Have you increased applications? Did your new website or tour program earn rave reviews? Did your community just lose its major industry, resulting in families moving or no longer able to afford tuition?
- Define your competitive market position—who is the competition? Has this changed? Provide basic funnel numbers including a five-year enrollment history and year-to-date comparisons.
- All information should be in school-specific context. For example, don’t cite the rise of charter and magnet schools in your area without talking about its impact (or lack thereof) on your enrollment.
The Annual Admission Report and Data-Driven Decisions - Presentation
Board Reports That Leave Them in Awe - Presentation
Special Report - Sizing Up The Competition
Special Report - The State of the Independent School Admission Industry 2016
Special Report - The Ride to Independent Schools (a survey of 2,700+ independent school applicant families)
Blog - Even when it's over...it isn't over. by Heather Hoerle