Sam is a committed educationalist who believes in the transformative power
of community. Through his 30-year involvement in the leadership team of a prominent educational institution in Melbourne, Sam uses his extensive knowledge to help school workflows and processes run smarter.
In this day and age, parents have arguably never had so much choice when it comes to choosing where to have their children educated. The quality of the education your school delivers will always be an important factor in attracting new families and students to your community but the overall 'experience” you offer weighs heavily on their minds.
Apart from being the largest, longest paper chase in a school's relationship with parents, the enrolment process does two things: It's obviously really important to have students in your school so the enrolment process is fundamental in the life of your school but, equally, it sets up the first bit of the relationship about who you are, and how you do things in your school.
It’s essential to consider some basic and important expectations that today’s parents have about the world in which they live.
They shop, they bank, they manage their superannuation, they arrange car servicing, they organise that evening’s dinner, they watch the latest movies and television, communicate with friends and family, and collaborate professionally in a range of innovative ways that utilises the latest in online and digital technology. It’s the kind of hassle-free, fast and efficient way that people expect to take care of day-to-day tasks.
"Your school has to be seen as actively embracing innovation in the form of digital technology, and not just talking about it."
Your school has to be seen as actively embracing innovation in the form of digital technology, and not just talking about it. No longer can you be analogue in a digital world and hope to attract new students and their families to your school community.
The embrace of digital technology has a number of important benefits for schools and school registrars. The first, and most obvious, benefit is the elimination of so many different paper-based forms. Digital technology can also eradicate the seemingly endless time spent chasing parents to finish incomplete paperwork.
From this perspective, digital technology can make it easier:
To collect enrolment enquiries;
For prospective families to access your school’s prospectus;
To register for open days;
For families and registrars to complete a full enrolment package.
There is technology that is now available to schools, enabling registrars to free themselves from wasting time on inefficient paper chases, and allowing them to dedicate greater quality time talking to families, interviewing families and helping them make the best choice for their child(ren).
Why do it digitally?
Collection of Enrolment Enquiries
Digital technology enables you to collect enrolment enquiries more efficiently. Prospective families have a single, reliable entry point of contact for the school, and it gives you the opportunity to establish a positive first impression by demonstrating you understand the modern world, and have a genuine commitment to utilising technology to make life simpler for your community.
Allows families to ask for a prospectus
Often quite a laborious task, utilising digital technology makes it easier for parents to view the experience that your school offers students, and provides instant access to the information that’s important to them via your prospectus.
Likewise, you can collect data (names, home addresses, email address, etc.), that can be stored securely and used later in the enrolment process without needing to request the same information again. One less information double up means one less piece of paper for registrars to track.
Allow families to register for open days
Digital technology also makes it easier for families to receive information about, or register for, open days. If you’ve collected information like contact details, you can automatically inform prospective families about upcoming events, and allow them to register in a swift, efficient manner – less time on the phone for you, less envelope stuffing and greater relationship development opportunities.
Enables families to complete a full enrolment package
Schools are now looking for a seamless collection of data and details, where that information and data can then be used to pre-fill forms and reduce unnecessary admin time. Satisfying this demand is arguably the most important benefit that digital technology can provide schools and registrars.
"Digital technology has the potential to eliminate cumbersome 10-plus page enrolment documents and streamline the entire information registration process."
Digital technology has the potential to eliminate cumbersome 10-plus page enrolment documents and streamline the entire information registration process. It makes life considerably easier for the families involved to get the information lodged with your school by allowing them the benefit of attaching written references, reports from previous schools, and other information that might be required to get their kids started with your school with a single click.
Digital enrolment allows you to collect students’ details, medical conditions, consents and approvals in a single, secure process. It also makes it easier to track the progress of which forms have, and have not, been returned by families – no more getting on the phone and chasing up page four or chasing up allergy information.
Digital technology also allows you to import the information you might already have stored from earlier parts of the process (prospectus requests, open day registrations, etc.) without requesting the same information from parents again and again, enhancing their impression of the school and creating less legwork for you. This also equips you with the ability to enter the information into your school’s major information system, making it simpler to safely and securely share the information with a year level coordinator, deputy principal or principal – not just the school’s registrar.
Finally, digital technology gives you the ability to set up automatic reminders and communicate information to families such as student interview times, the offer of a place at the school and orientation information.
Embracing the technology that’s available to perform the online enrolment work for you has a multitude of benefits. It makes the experience of prospective families so much more positive and the life of a school registrar so much easier.
As well as the efficiency benefits, a sound online enrolment process provides tangible evidence that not only is your school committed to being innovative but you also understand the modern world in which your community lives and your students will be entering.