Parents are busy people, and so too are admissions staff. For parents, decisions like where to send their child to school don’t come much bigger. That means doing a lot of research and considering every available option. Once they’re ready to interact with your school, however – whether that’s requesting a callback, making an enquiry, booking an Open Day, or applying – it’s in everyone’s best interest to make this process as smooth as possible.
Each time a parent interacts with your school, via your website, a prospectus, a phone call or otherwise, these touchpoints help them to formulate an opinion of you and move them from consideration to application. First impressions count, but so do the second, third, fourth and so on. Marketing theory suggests that when a person makes a purchase, they will interact with a brand at least seven times, each representing an opportunity to impress.
Providing parents with quick and easy access to the information and tools they need will reinforce the perception of your school as competent and caring. And for you, as admissions staff, the easier it is for parents to get where they need to go, the less time you’ll spend answering emails and completing administrative tasks.
We explored six ways you can reduce friction in your admissions process…
- Offer a consistent brand experience
- Provide the right information
- Take admissions mobile
- Reduce unnecessary admin
- Offer a choice of payment options
- Help to keep track of communications
- How can iSAMS help
Offer a consistent brand experience
Brand consistency is all about how your school communicates its core values and ethos. With much of the admissions process now taking place online, consistency across all your school’s digital touchpoints helps to make you recognisable and foster a sense of trust and familiarity.
Independent and International Schools are excellent at communicating their values in writing because they understand and believe in providing outstanding education. A simple way to enhance your brand consistency is to ensure that all your digital touchpoints feature your school’s logo and colour scheme. Over time, these markers should become synonymous with your school’s values.
Provide the right information
Another means of reducing friction for parents when they interact with your school is to make key information easy to obtain. As we all know, there’s nothing more frustrating than bouncing around a website looking for a key contact, phone number, address or otherwise.
Placing the right information on your school’s website, enquiry and application forms will ensure parents can make their way through the admissions process without being hampered by missing pieces. These potential cracks in your admissions process can make all the difference in helping a parent to complete an enquiry, submit an application or pay a registration fee.
Take admissions mobile
Very few people now spend their evenings sitting in front of a desktop PC. Mobile technology is everywhere, from grocery shopping to internet banking, and your admissions process should be no different. When a website or form doesn’t work or looks different on a mobile device or tablet, this can create cognitive dissonance for the user.
In other words, prospective parents arrive on your school’s website with expectations and feelings about your brand and how a process should work, based on what they’ve read and learned about your school and how other websites work on their mobile devices. If your admissions process isn’t mobile-friendly, this can provoke feelings of frustration and tension that contribute to the overall feeling when they think about your brand.
Reduce unnecessary admin
Consider this situation: you’ve populated pages worth of personal information online because you need a quote for a new insurance policy. Once you’ve filled out all the necessary information, received your quote and proceeded to purchase, the site asks you to enter everything again. This is a truly maddening experience, enough to make you throw your hands up in the air and go and make a cup of tea.
Some people will soldier on with the process, but others won’t. Avoiding these kinds of scenarios on your parents’ journey to registering their child at your school should be a key consideration for admissions staff. Using a system that saves information and allows it to be copied from enquiry forms to applications and registrations will eliminate this particular annoyance. All the better if your system allows parents to scan or photograph documents to upload rather than having to mail them.
For admissions staff, choosing a system that collects information provided by parents and writes it directly into your database can save countless hours of duplicating records, and eliminate any potential mistakes made by staff.
Offer a choice of payment options
People appreciate having a choice. Often, people develop a preferred way of paying for things, whether they carry cash around, a card, or a mobile payment solution. As one of the final stages of the admissions process, offering a range of payment options to parents can greatly enhance their willingness to complete a transaction.
The education sector has seen a large uptick in the number of cyber scams targeting parents and schools during the Covid-19 pandemic, so offering several secure, trusted methods for parents to pay fees is a sensible idea to protect everyone involved and will help to confirm your professionalism in the mind of a parent.
Help parents to keep track of communications
Admissions staff will likely know the pain of trying to track down various communications between parents and the school. Giving parents a central location to view a record of all communications, track the status of an enquiry or application and receive invoices relieves the stress of having to trawl through their inbox each time they want to check on something. The added benefit of providing parents with a record of all communications is the minimal need for intervention from school staff.
How can iSAMS help?
Our unique admissions package at iSAMS combines two key solutions for parents and admissions staff. Our brand-new Admissions Cloud Portal provides a centralised location for parents to enquire, apply, complete registration forms, make payments and view a record of all communications.
Our Admissions Manager module seamlessly syncs to our Admissions Cloud Portal and Management Information System (MIS). Together, they give you everything you need to take control over every aspect of the admissions process.
The Admissions Cloud Portal enables you to create a dedicated website for your school’s admissions process. It’s easy to create multiple portals if needed - for example, if you have both a senior and junior school with separate admissions processes and branding, you could create a separate portal for each of them.
The portal is fully branded with your school’s logo and colour scheme and is easy to customise to ensure you are providing parents with the information that is most relevant to your school. Parents wishing to make an application via a mobile device or tablet will find the new website to be easy to navigate and use thanks to its mobile responsive technology.
Using the Admissions Cloud Portal, parents can now quickly request a callback from the school. They can also create an account to view and track their application, make payments, and view upcoming events such as open days. Once a parent has entered information via a form, this information is written directly into iSAMS, eliminating the need for staff to re-enter this information themselves later, saving countless hours of administration and avoiding any typing errors.
Combined with the Admissions Manager module, you will then be able to view details of all enquiries, registrations, offers, withdrawals, and refusals; this can be done via weekly and monthly breakdowns, including options to apply key admissions filters so you can explore all the collated information in more depth.
With these tools you’re able to build a holistic record for each applicant prior to their arrival at the school, ensuring that each new student is in the correct groups, with their passports, visas, SEN and transport records securely logged – including a document repository so you’re able to upload and tag all core files associated to each student.
We’re also aware that your school may well have its own unique admissions process, which is why our Admissions Cloud Portal and module have been designed so they’re flexible enough to mould to your Admissions Team’s preferred application processes.
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