Families have one main objective when it comes to their child’s PreK-12 education: find the best school. From social skills to extracurricular interests and life lessons that children take into their adult lives, families know that school teaches more than academics. And because of this, they have multiple criteria to determine which school is best.
What are these criteria? Which of the decision drivers behind school choice is most important? Read on to discover the five primary reasons our lead industry researchers determined could guide each family to — or away from — your school.
Top 5 Primary Family Decision Drivers:
1. Brand and Reputation
Families are your best vehicle for spreading the word about your school in their community. Create and share your school’s story before someone else tells it for you.
For example, your school almost certainly has a word-of-mouth reputation. Yet the most important vectors for spreading information about your school are your website and school rating websites. While you have limited control over the latter, you have total control over your school’s site. For example:
- Is it helpful and welcoming to prospective families? Is it easy to use?
- Is your contact information easy to find?
- Are there broken links or images that don’t load?
- Does it detail your school’s programs and offerings?
Think about how your website appears to someone learning about your school for the first time. Don’t let a poor first impression tell the wrong story about you.
Learn more about SchoolMint’s K-12 strategic marketing solutions here!
2. Customer Service
Think beyond the classroom. Do families have a good experience with your school before their child is enrolled? What about afterward? Do you get in touch with them as soon as possible when they request a tour or more information?
Your response — or lack thereof — could be the difference between a family enrolling with you or with the school across town. Families who have an easy, fast, positive experience with your school are more likely to choose you than a school with unresponsive staff, difficult processes, and broken promises. Do you keep track of interested families? Stay connected with your current and potential families to create positive experiences.
3. School Climate and Culture
School climate and culture directly correlate with retention: of students, of families, and of teachers. It’s also the number one reason a family will or won’t keep their child enrolled with you. Creating positive classrooms in your school has a cascade of effects that help retain students from day one to the day they’re done.
You can create a thriving positive climate by implementing SchoolMint Hero, a student behavior management platform that focuses on rewarding positive behavior and turning negative behaviors into learning opportunities.
4. Innovation and Programs
Specialized programs and innovative practices are incredibly attractive to families. Schools with positive enrollment trends can more easily fund these programs and invest in newer technology. And if you have it, flaunt it! Make sure prospective families know what sets you apart from all other schools in the area. If they are “shopping” for a new school, they likely have an idea of the details they are in the market for before being “sold”. What are your selling points? Make them highly visible to prospective parents.
5. Student Achievement
Schools with better support for teachers and wider access to instructional resources consistently outperform their peers in both student test scores and enrollment. One way you can boost student achievement is by focusing on bringing out the best in each of your educator’s natural abilities.
SchoolMint’s teacher coaching and development platform makes it easy and convenient for you to offer one-on-one guidance for each teacher. Highly effective educators lead to increased student achievement — and that’s exactly what families seek.
Choosing a school is a complicated, personal decision for each family. Don’t think of it as a standalone decision but instead as a process that may take a year or more to conclude. Want to learn how to attract families that fit? We have developed customized K-12 services to provide strategic marketing solutions to our partners.
Webinar: The 4 Pillars of School Enrollment Marketing
Want to learn more about school enrollment marketing? You’re in luck! SchoolMint’s Chief Enrollment Officer, Nick LeRoy, led an insightful webinar for school leaders on the following:
- How to attract, identify, and nurture prospective families through marketing
- How to ensure families have a positive experience throughout recruitment
- How to listen to families and then use that feedback to keep them happy and enrolled
- How to understand it all: enrollment data, your brand, your message, and more!