Public Relations Today
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By Eli Jameson • February 23, 2016

How Are You Boosting Enrollment at Your Independent School?

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I’m packing my bags and heading to San Francisco.

It’s not the Golden Gate Bridge, the redwoods, or even the Full House house* for which I’m flying across the country. I’m going to attend the National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference. I’ll be spending three days with independent school leaders from across the country, sharing stories and ideas about pushing independent schools further.

Naturally, this has me thinking about independent schools, which make up a core chunk of Chalkup Pro users. (Turns out that Chalkup is a match for the indy crowd. Makes sense. I like it.)

Enrollment stands out to me as a challenge for independent schools. Thinking about this as I gear up for NAIS 2016 inspired me to write a quick something something for our indy school readers.

I’d love to start a conversation and learn more about how you stand out from the crowd. I want to talk about how you drive enrollment and separate yourself from peer institutions. 

Below are three of my biggest takeaways from working with independent schools on pushing enrollment and standing out. Add yours in the comments. Shoot us a note on social. Stop by and talk to us about it at NAIS 2016 (booth 141). Hope to see you there.

Marketing Your Community

I’ve read all the marketing strategies for getting a school’s name out there - I have. You build a solid website, employ targeted advertisements, hold open houses, craft press releases about what’s happening at school, etc.

It’s all good. It’s all important. But I must wonder: are you marketing your community?

Each school I’ve worked with has had their own voice - their own flare and flavor. Are you showing potential enrollees that your school is a connected community?

Have you illustrated that you’re stronger together? You stay in touch after class to keep working, learning, and growing. You’re a team. I’m always curious to get a sense of school community because I think it’s an under-discussed and highly marketable element of any indy school.

Instruction

I obviously need to talk about teachers as a huge factor in setting an independent school apart.

Great teachers are paramount to seeing your school rise to the top. This isn’t news. This is something that comes up every time I chat enrollment with independent schools. You want innovative, forward-thinking educators. Students want great teachers to push them. Parents want to feel like their children are getting first-rate instruction.

How are you empowering your teachers to be inventive in their instruction? What tools are you giving them to get ahead?

Perhaps I can put a new spin on this. How are you empowering your teachers to be inventive in their instruction? What tools are you giving them to get ahead? And can these innovative tools and solutions be differentiators for your school?

Innovation

Point blank: what, overall, are you doing that’s different? That’s special? How are you looking forward and embracing learning in way that your peer institutions are not? To drive enrollments, it’s crucial to think through the items that really set your school ahead.

I’m a tech guy, so I go straight to the tools an institution is using. If you’re logging on to school systems with outdated interfaces, clunky workflows, or unimaginative daily uses, that’s something I’d revisit as a selling point.

As I head to California to meet more independent schools - and connect with some of our indy Chalkup users - I’ll be curious to learn about other strategies institutions are turning to for enrollment-boosting.

At the end of the day, learning matters. Great tools matter. Looking forward matters. Empowering teachers matters.  I’m new to the Chalkup team and I’m thrilled to be here because I get to work with a tool that supports all of this. Hope to see some of you in San Fran.

* I'll probably visit the Full House home anyway. I'm only human.

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