How to Improve Admissions Yield at Your School with 7 Simple Strategies

minute read
March 23, 2023

Did you know that in 2019, there were roughly 4.7 million students enrolled in private schools in the United States? That’s approximately 9 percent of the entire U.S. student population, and that number is only expected to increase over the next few years.

It’s a jungle out there – a recruitment jungle – and we’re here to help you cut through the confusion about how to effectively increase your school’s admissions yield rate by sharing a few simple (and proven) strategies to increase student enrollment.

What Is a Good Admissions Yield?

In the modern age, utilizing analytics and tracking is key to understanding how well you’re converting applicants into enrollees, and is crucial for your school’s success. But how do you know if your school has a good admissions yield rate?

The average school admissions yield rate for non-public schools is about 56-72 percent , depending on the amenities offered by the school, such as room and board.

If your school is anywhere in this range, you’re on the right path. Although, of course, you want your school to be more than just average, and we’ll show you how to improve admission yield with our simple strategies below.

Strategies to Improve Admissions Yield

From the admissions process itself to your online presence, we’ve got tips for improving admissions yield and increasing student enrollment. Remember, your hard work now will pay off by bringing in more students, which will expand the offerings you’re able to provide for parents, students, and teachers.

Develop a Clear Admissions Process

Of course, you already have an admissions process – you wouldn’t have any students if you didn’t. But is it a good one? Have you taken the time to examine how easy it is for potential students and their families to navigate? A great way to enroll more students is to create a simple admissions process for families to follow. If yours is too complicated or time consuming for families to finish, you may need to rethink your system.

You’ll also want to ensure you provide a step-by-step guide that walks interested families through your admissions process. If your guide has too many steps, streamline your process! (And if that guide isn’t online, it should be.) Key elements of a good guide include:

  • Application deadlines
  • Financial aid request deadlines
  • Required application documents, such as transcripts
  • Whether (and which) standardized test scores will be required

Allowing students to apply online is the simplest (and quickest) way to receive applications. If your school’s website isn’t equipped to handle online forms, consult with experts who can integrate one into your site. The expense will be worth it.

Don’t forget to provide a dedicated admissions email and/or phone line for prospective students and their families. You’ll free up other resources and ensure that interested families are getting connected to the right staff to help them on their admissions journey.

improve admissions yield at private school

Craft Student Personas

Think about the students who fit your school the best. Whatever your school’s niche is, you know the types of students who will excel in your specific program.

So create your “ideal” students and craft admissions pitches specifically for them. You’ll be far more likely to attract new enrollees when you know who you’re trying to target, and how to engage their interests.

Or, you may have realized there are underrepresented student groups on your campus, and you’d like to do a better job of recruiting them. Create the perfect pitch with those students in mind. Reach out to local community groups if you can.

Remember, the more easily students can envision themselves being successful at your school, the more likely your applicants are to follow through with the enrollment process and stick with your program.

Highlight Your School’s Unique Strengths

What does your school do particularly well? Whether you’re known for your unique, thought-provoking curriculum, the way your campus goes above and beyond to care for students with unique needs, or you have the best teaching staff around, don’t hesitate to point out where you shine!

Highlight the things you do that no one else does (or that no one else does as well as you do) in your admissions materials, and be sure to spotlight these accomplishments and strengths on your school’s website. Not only will this differentiate you from the competition, it will showcase to new students why they’re making the right choice by selecting your campus.

Establish a Strong Web Presence

You may have noticed that we keep mentioning a school website. This is a necessity in the digital age. Your school will also want to look into using social media if it doesn’t already. The harder it is for interested families to find you online, the less likely they are to complete the application process .

Build a beautiful website

The first experience many families will have with your campus is the school’s website. Ensure that it looks professional by choosing one readable font for each page, or limiting the number of fonts you use to a maximum of two or three.

Be consistent with your page formatting so all pages have a similar look. No matter what page a family lands on, they should be able to tell which school they’re looking at and be able to easily find any information they need.

Another hallmark of a good school website is having current information, such as a current staff directory, a school calendar for the right academic year, and ensuring that all photos of the school, the grounds, and the staff are updated and look professional.

Don’t forget to include an FAQs page so prospective families can quickly find answers to common questions about your school, your admissions process, and the activities and amenities you offer.

If all of that seems daunting, don’t worry! Let our team help you design something sleek, fast, and up-to-date for your campus.

Use social media as a tool

Social media is one of the most powerful tools at your school’s disposal – and it’s free! You can share photos and videos of school activities, announce upcoming events, and highlight important dates on the school calendar.

You can also connect with families who may be considering your campus. It’s an easy way to provide additional information and answer any questions they may have.

Centralize your community’s experience with a mobile app

One of the easiest ways for parents to find out what’s going on at your school is to create a mobile app. It provides instant access for your families and is a great way for potential students to connect with others and learn more about your school’s culture.

Build Personal Connections

It can be easy to get caught up in the ease of technology these days. But personal connections are an absolute necessity if you want to stand out in the admissions game. You can’t do everything online and expect to grow your enrollment.

Conduct regular campus tours, provide meet and greets with teachers and staff, and offer one-on-one meetings whenever possible. Not only will these experiences help prospective students get a feel for your school, they will also help you understand the student’s needs better.

When prospective families were asked what they felt would be the most helpful in making their decision about choosing a school for their child, a few of their top responses were:

  • Letting students and parents sit in on a class or two during the school day
  • Allowing potential students to meet with current students and teachers
  • Seeing videos about campus sports, clubs, events, and daily life

Phone calls and Zooms can also go a long way in helping an on-the-fence family choose your school over another. Don’t make the mistake of thinking an email carries the same weight as hearing a human voice or seeing someone’s face.

Personalize your communications

While it’s tempting to do, don’t send out mass emails or form letters to prospective students and their families. And skip the generic text messages and automated voicemails. A personalized message can make all the difference in making parents and their students feel seen, heard, and valued.

Who wouldn’t want to enroll in a school that makes them feel cared for? On the other hand, nobody likes to feel like an anonymous number or task to complete, and you may lose families if you don’t take the time to personalize your approach. Get to know your applicants, and you’ll reap the benefits of higher enrollment.

Make Data-Driven Decisions

One of the most important reasons to automate your admissions process is to track your admissions data. By storing your data in one place, you can make data-driven (not hunch-based) decisions and easily share your insights through spreadsheets, interactive tables, or charts and graphs.

Regularly reviewing your data allows you to track the effectiveness of prior admissions campaigns, outreaches, and communications. Looking back at your results over time allows you to discover trends and patterns worth investigating. Maybe summer informational meetings have a high return on investment, but mid-winter meetings do not. Or maybe you’re missing a key demographic with your recruiting efforts.

You may want to include surveys from families who chose other schools to determine where the process has broken down in the past, and any barriers to enrollment families are experiencing.

Without capturing and analyzing your admissions and enrollment data, you won’t be able to tell what you’re doing well and where you can improve. And if you don’t have the right software in place, or if that data isn’t easily accessible, then the information won’t do you much good.

Get Started Improving Your Admissions Yield Today

By now, you should have a good understanding of what it takes to improve your admissions yield. By utilizing modern tools and technologies, you can help your school stand out, improve enrollment, and help your school earn new achievements. Get started with your plan today.

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