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When Should You Add an Admissions Director to a Small Private School Administrative Team?

Posted by Sue Carback on Apr 4, 2017 3:00:00 PM
When Should You Add an Admissions Director to a Small Private School Administrative Team

Inbound marketing is a proven and effective way to grow school enrollment and many schools we work with who adopt an inbound marketing strategy receive a relatively quick return on their investment in the form of increased traffic that, in turn, leads to an influx of enrollment prospects.  While this is a good thing, it can also prove to be a challenge in terms of managing the workload this influx generates.

In the private Christian schools I have worked with, especially the start-ups, I’ve encountered small administrative teams typically consisting of the headmaster, a school secretary, and a lead teacher who has some administrative duties in addition to that of faculty member.  These individuals wear many different hats, yet manage to get the job done in a remarkably efficient way.

When these schools begin drawing traffic to their school websites through inbound marketing tactics, the phone starts ringing, requests for school tours increase, and the application pile begins to grow.  While this is good for the school, this presents a challenge for the current administrative team whose plates are already quite full. Yet someone has to manage this increased workload.  But who?

To ensure the long term success of your efforts and to help maintain the sanity and well-being of your current team, at some point it will become necessary to grow your staff.  And an admissions director would be a logical addition to the team. But how do you know if your school is ready to add a staff member? How do you know if you can afford it? And how can hiring an admissions director benefit your current team?  Let’s take a closer look at each of these questions.

How do you know if you’re ready to add an admissions director to your team?

Here are several surefire signs that it’s time to hire a full-time admissions director:

  • Your administrative team is constantly being pulled away from their regular duties to address phone calls from prospective parents wanting to learn more about your school, schedule a tour, or have questions about the application process.
  • Your staff is regularly pulled from their duties to give tours of your campus.
  • Application paperwork is piling up, details are slipping through the cracks, and prospects are not moving through the admissions process in a timely, efficient way.
  • Your staff is quite overwhelmed and feels like they are being swept into a gigantic tsunami that’s about to crash.  Ready or not, a wave of new students is coming!

small private school budget

How do you know if you can afford to hire an admissions director?

While you may feel the need to add to your staff, can you afford to do so?  The answer to this question depends on your level of confidence in your projection of increased enrollment.

For example, is your latest wave of students simply the consequence of the closing of the competing Christian school across town or the result your genuine and sustainable marketing efforts?

If your projection of increased enrollment is solid, the sooner you can commit to hiring an admissions director, the better. While it may be a stretch to create a salary package at the start, the ROI is significant when you consider that the person in this role will be 100% focused on revenue creation for the school.

Read that again: the admissions director is 100% focused on revenue creation for the school. If you’ve never had someone in this role before, this is a critical strategy to ensure the sustainability of your school for years to come.

Arguments have been made that the development director is the owner of generating revenue for the school. However, the healthiest stream of revenue is the result of student enrollment.

What benefit does this bring to the team?

Once a head of school has done their due diligence to hire the right person for the role of admissions director, he or she can create clear divisions of labor among the administrative team. Assuming the admissions director is now absorbing a role that had once been managed by several people, they should be empowered to carry out their position with full authority.

The admissions director will report to the head of school and provide valuable data to the school board. Clear expectations will allow them to focus on establishing systems to accommodate the increase in prospect and applicant activity and pave the way for continued growth of the school.

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Topics: Enrollment Growth, Admissions