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3 Ways to Ensure the Success of Your Next School Open House

Posted by Sue Carback on Sep 13, 2016 3:00:00 PM

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If you are a Head of School or Admissions Director, chances are you are considering a fall Open House.  When it comes to ensuring as many prospective families attend as possible, planning for the event is important.  However, the ultimate success of any Open House is dependent upon developing a strategy for following up with those who attended.

Since a campus visit is such an important piece in helping a prospect learn more about your school, don’t miss the opportunity to:

Appreciate the Effort Prospects Made to Visit the School’s Campus

Parents manage tight schedules with work responsibilities, volunteer work and family life. The fact that a prospect made time in their day to visit your school’s Open House should not be dismissed. Not only should you communicate your appreciation for their visit when you meet them at your school, but also in the form of a handwritten note sent through the postal service.

Ask a parent who is a champion of the school to follow up visits with such a note. In it they can take the opportunity to tell a short story about the impact the school is having in their child’s life.

Consider creating a special note card with artwork done by a student in your school. A handwritten note received in the mail can send a powerful message.

Remind Prospects of What They Saw

First time campus visits can be overwhelming to prospective parents. It’s helpful to end the visit with a packet of information they can peruse at their leisure and share with their spouse. But why not ramp it up a notch and follow up their visit with an email that includes a few videos that help summarize your school’s program and offerings?

A selection of videos could include:

  • A welcome from the Admissions Director or Head of School summarizing some important admissions related information.
  • A virtual tour highlighting their specific area of interest such as the kindergarten program or Upper School STEM program.
  • A testimonial from a current student and parent. It’s important that testimonials focus on transformation within the student and family, not just plugging the school's high test scores or quality athletic program.

school open house video

Extend the Relationship With the Prospect

The relationship between the prospect and your school is cemented when a campus visit occurs. What are some ways to take it to the next level and further set up your school as a trusted ally and thought leader in the mind of the parent?

Email is quick and easy, but you can also build on your rapport with the prospect by picking up the phone. The warmth and empathy in your voice can go a long way when you are connecting with them.

Before you even make the call, do your homework. Take a look at the Open House registration information, familiarize yourself with the family’s current school and understand what their pain points may be. In this way, when you are on the call you can ask some pointed questions and provide specific answers about challenges the family may be facing, such as the need for after-school care or the desire for non-athletic extracurricular opportunities.

Have a note sharing system incorporated into your admissions process. Be sure to keep notes on all communications and track the date of each encounter.

Finally, follow up your prospect phone call with an email. Even if you just left a voice message, do your due diligence and let them know you attempted to reach out to them and are available for future conversations.

See yourself as a guide as you follow up with prospective families. As the family gets to know your school, they are able to better determine whether your school culture is a good fit for them. You are there to guide them through the admissions process and transition them into the life of your school community. 

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Topics: Admissions