You need to see this as an opportunity – a chance to get creative. Adding in some admission events geared towards the fall of 2013 may just generate interest for the fall of 2012! Host a “bring a friend to school” event, where current students are encouraged to invite friends to spend a day with a no- or low-pressure sell from Admissions. Plan this visit day on a date where local public schools are not in session to increase your draw. Bring in realtors, consultants or other connected community members who might have access to families late in the process. Is your school located in a community with large corporations? Get in touch with their relocation specialists and alert them to the possible openings at your school. Spring is great time to host low-key admission events for families looking ahead. With a strong process in place, often these visits can be converted to earlier enrollments.
Network to let people know you have space available. The last thing you want is to have a family decide that they shouldn’t apply to your school because they think they are too late. Is your website encouraging to relocation and late applicant families? Do you advertise that you have space available in your Open House notices? There is a cautious dance that we all engage in: wanting to appear and be selective while also needing to be accessible to families who meet a less conventional timetable. Are you making use of SSATB's Schools Currently Considering Applicants (SCCA) list? Hosting an event on campus and need to increase your reach? Think about using SSATB’s Admission Search Initiative to get you more targeted families who would be a great match for you.
Summing it up, we are optimists – it is why we serve in this role in our schools. We believe in children and the possibility of their success. And we believe in the potential of our market. I leave you with this quote from Sir Peter Ustinov, English actor, writer and dramatist who said, “The point of living and of being an optimist is to be foolish enough to believe the best is yet to come.”
Top Ten Breakthrough Ideas for Enrollment Optimization: a presentation by David Erdmann, Dean of Admission and Enrollment, Rollins College, at the SSATB 2011 Annual Meeting
Just Hit Send: Developing your own email marketing campaign: a presentation by Porter Hayes and Rachel Tilney of Episcopal Academy at the SSATB 2011 Annual Meeting
Getting Creative with Enrollment: a presentation by Brian Beale (Cardigan Mountain School), Allison Price (Derryfield School), and Kelly Dun (Princeton Day School) at the SSATB 2010 Annual Meeting
Three Word of Mouth Marketing Strategies for Private Schools and Summer Enrollment Contact Strategies by Rick Newberry, President of Enrollment Catalyst
For families: Applying to Private School After the Deadline: a free e-book from AdmissionsQuest