5+ Ways to Increase Enrollment at Your Private School

5+ Ways to Increase Enrollment at Your Private School

November 29, 2023
(Reading time: 4 - 7 minutes)

Private K-12 schools face mounting challenges around sustaining and increasing student enrollment levels today. From demographic shifts to economic pressures impacting family budgets, schools must contend with fluctuating admission rates annually. Many institutions struggle to attract a robust, diverse incoming class aligned with their academic goals without an effective enrollment management strategy.

K-12 Private Schools can overcome barriers inhibiting growth by leveraging key channels from branding to community outreach and implementing admissions best practices. This guide shares proven strategies your administrators can start executing now to expand your admission funnel and achieve a thriving, stable student body.

5+ Ways to Increase Enrollment at Your Private K-12 School

Knowing Your Ideal Parent Personas

The first step in crafting an effective student recruitment strategy is understanding your ideal parents. Without clarity on parent personas and what motivates prospective families, it’s difficult for messaging and programs to resonate. Therefore, you should gather intel by using the following.

Prospective Parent Surveys

Ask critical questions about their children’s academic interests, extracurricular priorities, what they see their child doing post-graduation, and reasons for considering your school. Offer survey access via website, social media, and open house events.

Current Student & Family Interviews

Connect one-on-one with a sample of existing students and parents to dive deeper into their decision-making process and what solidified their choice of your school. Identify common themes.

External Market Research

Leverage third-party data sources providing insights into demographic trends for parent age groups in your geographic area – population growth, household income brackets, and other defining attributes.

Armed with rich intel on who your target parents are and what matters to them, k-12 private schools can develop personas of their ideal prospective students. 

Showcasing Your School's Strengths

A school’s image and brand perception directly impact enrollment rates; for example, most parents say a website's design impacts their application choice. Schools must showcase strengths through branding that connects with families.

Quick Wins:

  • Host quarterly open house events for community members to experience campus culture.
  • Refresh website visuals by ensuring your photos and videos reflect diversity and student success stories.
  • Capture student testimonials to convey first-hand perspectives across the site.

Cultivating Community Advocates

A school’s strongest advocates are often its community – spanning current parents, students, faculty, and alumni. These groups directly experience your school’s benefits and can authentically express your strengths to their networks, driving word-of-mouth interest.

Some ways to rally your community for support include:

Alumni Outreach

  • Newsletters to share school updates and promote enrollment.
  • Alumni networking events to foster ongoing connections.
  • “Refer A Student” ambassador program with rewards.

Student & Parent Engagement

  • Parent and student testimonials shared on your website and social channels
  • Families are given school-branded swag to boost visibility

Faculty Involvement

  • Teachers should participate in open houses and community events
  • Faculty amplify school social media updates with their networks

Greenfield Academy Horz outline

Greenfield Academy Example

Some ways the fictional Greenfield Academy rallies its community for support include:

  • Quarterly email newsletters to share school updates and promote enrollment
  • Annual alumni networking events to foster ongoing connections
  • “Refer a Student” ambassador program with rewards

The Ambassador Program rewards alumni with a $100 gift card for every new student lead that successfully enrolls. This incentivizes alumni to leverage their networks and refer prospective families to learn more about Greenfield.

By continually nurturing relationships across your community and making it easy for critical groups to advocate for your school, you can easily see enrollment rates climb.

Streamlining the Admissions Journey

The student admissions process often sets the tone for the overall onboarding experience. Schools should evaluate their current admissions workflow through the lens of prospective families and identify friction points.

Common pain points include:

  • Lengthy applications requiring extensive typing or duplication across forms
  • Lack of visibility into application status
  • Confusion navigating between links/portals to submit components
  • Delayed or minimal feedback on decision status

To address these challenges, schools can deploy solutions that enable:

  • Simplified applications via user-friendly forms, even on mobile
  • Applicant dashboards allowing families to track submissions
  • Automated confirmation and next-step emails
  • Clear visual guidance on outstanding tasks

Top schools realize the value of making their admissions process applicant-focused. Leading K-12 institutions have shortened application completion times and increased yield rates through optimized admissions workflows.

Schools can significantly improve the experience while increasing admissions rates by assessing your process for points of friction and addressing those pain points through online tools.

Making Education Accessible

The cost of private education often deters prospective families from applying or enrolling. Communicating the availability of financial assistance is key to boosting admissions.

You should highlight aid opportunities across channels:

  • Website listings of various scholarships and grants
  • Dedicated Financial Aid site section with eligibility criteria
  • Email campaigns focused on aid specifically for target demographics

Competitive aid packages with flexible options are also vital:

  • Merit-based grants for high-achieving student profiles
  • Sibling discounts to incentivize family blocks
  • Payment plan options spreading the cost over time

Financial concerns remain one of the primary barriers to unlocking wider access and diversity in private institution enrollmentprivate institution enrollment. Still, schools that concentrate on creatively expanding aid availability are seeing the demographic dividends pay off.

Harnessing Data to Guide Decisions

In today's data-rich world, analytics should be the foundation for your enrollment strategies. By capturing and analyzing key metrics, schools can gain market insights to attract students and measure recruitment programs' return on investment (ROI).

The types of data schools should leverage include:

Student Demographic Data

Compile data on current students, including areas of residence, household income, academic interests, and extracurricular activities. Analyzing for patterns helps refine your target student profiles. You can then tailor messaging and programs towards the student segments with the highest conversion potential.

Lead & Enrollment Funnel Metrics

Track inquiries over time, monitoring sources, conversions to applicants, and accepted and graduation rates of students. Identify the pain points of losing prospective students. Establish goals for inquiry-to-applicant percentages, then implement targeted content and outreach campaigns to improve conversions.

Marketing Analytics

From Google Analytics to CRM campaign statistics, measure performance across digital channels - website visits, email click-through rates, and social media engagement. Determine the most influential forums for connecting prospective families, then optimize investment.

Surveys

Regular surveys with current parents and students provide valuable input for improving recruitment and retention. Ask about why they chose the school, what they value most, and what new offerings they want to see.

By monitoring student demographic shifts, admission funnel fallout, digital channel effectiveness, and parent/student satisfaction, schools can course-correct recruitment programs to maximize enrollment yield. Establish clear KPIs and use tools like customized dashboards to capture insights in one place - keeping leaders accountable for advancing enrollment goals.

Conclusion

Attracting and enrolling target student populations is essential for meeting private school enrollment goals in the modern market. This guide outlined data-backed recruitment strategies focused on refined messaging, community advocacy programs, and optimized admissions workflows.

We encourage you to take targeted actions like surveying parent personas, launching an alumni ambassador initiative, or evaluating admissions pain points. Monitor critical metrics pre and post-implementation to track the ROI of your enrollment experiments. Success often requires testing multiple approaches to determine what resonates most with prospective families.

Ready to amplify your outreach rapidly with digital marketing capabilities tailored to private schools? Our team of educational experts offers assessment, strategy, and managed campaign services focused on delivering leads and enrollment results. Contact me for a free consultation on propelling your admission numbers.

Chad Treadway

Written by:  |  November 29, 2023

Chad is a Partner and our Chief Smarketing Officer. He will help you survey your small business needs, educating you on your options before suggesting any solution. Chad is passionate about rural marketing in the United States and North Carolina. He also has several certifications through HubSpot to better assist you with your internet and inbound marketing.

See Chad Treadway's' bio: cubecreative.design/about/chad-treadway