Knocking their socks off -Student recruitment and retention

Knocking their socks off -Student recruitment and retention

As registration heats up for the 2020-2021 school year, you want to pull out all the stops as families discern over the school selection decision.  Whether you are following up after a big push at Catholic Schools Week or simply continuing your ongoing outreach, make sure that you incorporate best practices in all your recruiting efforts so that your hard work pays off with record enrollment.

The most effective communication is an integrated platform – personal interaction at school and other venues, telephone calls, emails, snail mail, events, social media – all this and more, when combined and coordinated sends a compelling message to your prospective families. 

What Do You Know?

One of our schools surveyed all the new families to find out what influenced their decision. 

Word of Mouth        67%

Website                      12%

Bulletin, Ads               7%

If you don’t know what affects them, you can’t direct your efforts where they will reap the greatest rewards. 

Brag, Brag, Brag

Our schools are impressive on so many fronts, but sometimes we hide our light under a bushel.  Don’t just report your stellar test scores, find creative ways to express them that will resonate with your audience and, ideally, be widely repeated (because word of mouth is our most effective tool).  One elementary school tracked ACT performance of graduates and was able to report that their students’ average scores were higher than the average at each of the nearby high schools.  Given that the nearby schools are considered academically elite, this was quite a statement and really got folks talking.

Who’s Listening?

Your electronic newsletter is fabulous.  It’s brief but compelling, creative but not so artistic that the graphics detract from the message, is focused on affirming the school selection decision as well as providing necessary weekly news, etc., RIGHT?  Well done!  But none of it matters if your current parents aren’t opening it up.  The system/vendor you use for broadcast email can track your open rate, click through rate, etc.  Are you using this utility?  Are the numbers where they should be?  If not, it’s time to build incentives that not only get it opened, but also read and used.

Best Asset

There’s no doubt that seeing your students in action is the best selling tool you have.  Deploy them in every possible way:  Masses, open houses, tours, CD/video with student narrators, shadow day partner, play dates, community (parades, festivals), thank you calls/notes, baby-sitting, mentors, buddy system, family faith partners, new student luncheon, step up day, etc.  Every time you plan to use an adult, see if a well-spoken, dynamic student couldn’t fit the bill just as well.  In fact, they usually leave the grown-ups in the dust they’re so terrific.

To read more about shadow programs, check out the latest CSML, “Visits vs. Viewbooks – Shadow Programs That Seal the Deal.”

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