There are many steps to take before a student can start learning. From initial contact with the family to the final tuition payment, families and administrators have a long list of tasks to perform.
Families have to ensure the school is the right choice for their students and fill out extensive application forms. The school has to sort through dozens of applications, follow up with applicants who might have forgotten to include certain documents and make sure the families pay all application and tuition fees. Obstacles in the application process can sometimes be enough to discourage a family from enrolling entirely.
Fortunately, an enrollment management suite makes the enrollment process easy. The powerful software tools included in the suite benefit schools and families before, during and long after admission. Here are 11 reasons why smaller schools are using enrollment management suites:
1. Communicate With Families Easily
A family’s communication preferences can vary depending on many factors, including work schedules and generational preferences. While one method of communication might suit your organization better than another, it’s essential to meet parents at their preferred communication method to increase their likelihood of seeing your message and responding to it. Some parents might prefer a call because they rarely check their email, while the reverse can be true of other families.
An enrollment management suite lets families choose their communication preferences to engage the way they want to. You can send voicemails, emails and texts to parents and track the conversations to ensure everyone who needs to see the information can see it. Families can use an online portal to view communications at their convenience, along with tools to reach out to the school when needed. The enrollment management suite should include a portal for regularly checking grades and seeing the best ways to support students.
2. Simplify Admission and Enrollment
Collecting enrollment documents and payments can be complicated for both administrators and families alike. An enrollment management suite can help by crafting a unique and convenient online enrollment experience. The benefits of a simplified online admission and enrollment process include:
- Submitting documents whenever, wherever: For families, online applications let them submit documents at their convenience.
- Customizing application forms: You can customize applications through enrollment software to match your school’s branding, allowing your school’s merits to shine throughout the entire process.
- Allowing for quick application completion: Online applications can pre-populate fields with data from uploaded documents, making it more convenient for the families and motivating them to complete applications quickly.
- Collecting fees upon submission: Fees are also collected at the time of application submission, making it easy for parents to make payments and avoiding future complications.
- Tracking application progress: Schools can track application progress for each student, and they can also opt to receive notifications for each submitted document and application. That way, schools can know to follow up with certain families if an application is only partially completed.
- Viewing and accepting applications easily: Administrators can view application materials like admission essays online and can easily accept or decline applicants from within the software.
3. Customize Grading Methods
Teachers have adopted many different ways of tracking grades depending on their experience and their needs. Some classes are suited for a rigid grading formula, while others benefit from a more flexible structure. When it comes to generating final grades and report cards, teachers’ contrasting methods for tracking grades can cause some complications and confusion for students and their families.
Enrollment management software gives teachers the flexibility to track grades in a way that suits them, while also maintaining internal consistency. Teachers can track longer assignments from within the software, creating in-line comments for future reference. It’s also possible to develop skill-based grading scales or different grading criteria based on course levels, so teachers grade all students fairly and appropriately.
4. Streamline Financial Aid Applications
Financial aid is an important component for many families, although sometimes the application process can confuse families and administrators. Students and parents can find traditional applications confusing, while administrators might struggle when comparing dozens of merit-based applications. An easy-to-use enrollment management suite helps to simplify the financial aid application process for everyone.
Financial aid software provides easy-to-use tools for creating waiver programs, verifying documents and customizing financial aid formulas. Schools can pro-actively integrate financial aid awards directly into the tuition management software, so all awards are accounted for when calculating payments.
5. Save Time Through Software Integrations
Many schools are beginning to use in-class software solutions to enhance their classroom experience. Teachers already use tools like Google Classroom to organize class materials and aid in group discussions. However, it can be challenging to transfer data from those programs into your school’s official documents. In some cases, the teacher might have to copy everything into the grade book by hand.
Fortunately, a well-designed enrollment management suite allows you to save time by directly integrating with your favorite software solutions. Tasks that would usually take extra time, like transferring online grade books to your school’s official system, can be done automatically, saving time and reducing errors.
6. Automate Tuition and Billing
Tuition management can be one of the most sensitive areas of concern for schools. Each family situation is unique, which means some families may find conversations about tuition stressful. And when you need to communicate with a family about an unrelated matter, the financial issues can make it harder to reach out to the family.
Tuition management software included in an enrollment management suite can help relieve this pressure. By offering flexible tuition agreements and multiple tuition payment options, you can help a diverse range of families pay their tuition in a way that suits their needs. You can even customize tuition agreements by family and by individual students if necessary. Keeping an open and flexible dialogue regarding tuition can help foster the relationship between the family and the school.
In addition, your enrollment management suite can help administrators save time in their day to focus on other tasks. When families have questions about invoices and payments, the enrollment management suite can provide customized support and answer any questions they might have while adhering to your school’s values. They can even reach out to provide friendly payment reminders directly to families when necessary.
7. Create Unique School Websites
From making a lasting impression to communicating critical information when necessary, a website is essential for any school. Just some ways your school can use a website include to:
- Inform visitors of the history and culture of your school, motivating them to apply.
- Share current events to cultivate engagement and help family members stay aware of school functions.
- Post photo galleries and blog posts, allowing families to see what a typical school day looks like.
- Inform parents quickly of situations from cancellations to other critical events.
If your enrollment management suite comes equipped with a powerful website building tool, you can quickly and easily create an engaging school website. Using website templates, you can customize your site’s images, colors and fonts to match your school’s identity. Best of all, you can use the easy-to-use templates regardless of web development experience, which means anyone can quickly create a compelling website.
Your website can also host other helpful features for families and administrators. With social media integration, you can actively engage with visitors, allowing them to share school events with friends and family. Scheduled content posting tools allow you to plan content ahead of time so you can share when it matters. And staff directories can help families contact administrators or teachers whenever they have a question or problem.
8. Make the Most of Every Fundraiser
Whether you need to raise money for a building improvement or want to save up for a class trip at the end of the year, fundraisers are often an essential source of income for schools. Depending on the fundraising campaign, many moving parts can add confusion to the process. The responsibility of carrying money and reaching out to people for orders can also be stressful for students.
An enrollment management suite bundled with comprehensive digital fundraising software can help schools make the most of every fundraiser. Online fundraiser collection forms are a great way to supplement or even replace paper forms. Paper forms can often result in incorrect or incomplete information and are also prone to human error, especially when handwriting is difficult to read.
On the other hand, online forms can include multiple required fields the parent must fill in before submitting, and they also eliminate the risk of illegible handwriting. Information gathered with online forms can also be quickly exported so orders can be processed faster.
Additionally, digital fundraising software allows for unique opportunities to engage with the community and present more opportunities to help support the school. Mobile communication options will enable you to message supporters directly on their phones with updates and order statuses. You can also set up crowdfunding campaigns and mobile bidding options to reach supporters wherever they live. And with integrated event solutions, you can add excitement to any fundraising event.
9. Improve Student Experiences With Placement Testing
Students perform the best when their classes are suited to their strengths and personal needs. Finding the balance can be tricky. If the course is too challenging, the student may get discouraged. Conversely, a student who excels in a class without trying may grow bored, and their performance may suffer because of it.
Placement testing can help place students in the setting most appropriate for their skills. You can also customize learning plans for individual students to ensure they have the best experience possible. If your enrollment management software includes placement testing software, you can even integrate data collected from the software to inform more significant decisions in the future.
10. Protect Students With Wellness Check-In Software
More schools than ever are adopting software solutions to help keep everyone safe from illness. Schools can protect school personnel and families from outbreaks by identifying symptoms early and providing clear guidance to faculty, staff and students when symptoms occur.
Some enrollment management suites can combat illness in schools by including wellness check-in software. By entering symptoms into a mobile application, users can receive guidance based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local guidelines to decide whether they should go to school or stay at home. Wellness software also allows for non-invasive contact tracing without GPS, which helps inform further protective measures and ensures everyone’s safety.
11. Go Paperless
Between printed assignments, report cards and administrative documents, schools use a lot of paper. Although a single piece of paper has little impact on the school’s budget, those reams of paper add up over time. And depending on the size of the school, printing and ink costs can quickly add up to thousands of dollars per year.
Paper printing can also take up a significant amount of time. The act of printing itself often takes up valuable time that could be used in planning periods or doing other administrative tasks. When printers malfunction, important documents may need to wait until somebody repairs the printer. And cross-referencing physical documents, especially across multiple pages, often results in human error that might need more time to fix.
An enrollment management suite can ease your school’s paper burden by hosting documents online. With fewer resources spent on paper, the school can direct more of the budget to technology improvements, fundraising campaigns and other high-priority projects. And by automating everyday administrative tasks, document errors occur less frequently while also saving you time.
Online documents also enhance document security. By eliminating physical paper and granting access through secure management software, personal information like student data and credit card information are less likely to be compromised. Choose a PCI compliant, SSAE-16 Audited and Red-Flags Ready enrollment management suite to ensure sensitive data can only be accessed by those who need it.
Manage Enrollment With TADS
From streamlining administrative duties to crafting unique family experiences, an enrollment management suite can help to deliver a better experience for everyone. If you’re considering an upgrade from your current enrollment management suite or starting from scratch, consider TADS for your needs!
We’re dedicated to providing unique software solutions for private and independent schools. We’ve been helping schools manage enrollment since 1970 and have since partnered with over 3,000 schools and served over 750,000 families. And with a 99% retention rate, we know you’ll love our software solutions, too. If you’d like to see ways that TADS has improved our clients’ schools, please read through our customer stories.
Whether you’re looking for a fully custom solution for your school or you only need one or two of our services, we can help you find a software solution for your needs. Each TADS module can either be used independently or bundled together for a complete package to ensure your software package is the perfect fit for your school.