Admissions events are “run” in the same way other events are. Admissions events are a well planned and well-timed symphony of faculty, staff, students, and parents coming together to show the heart of your school. Here are some points to plan around for your next event.
Information and Communication
Make sure everyone knows when you have any admissions events. First, maybe your co-workers or enrolled families know someone who is interested in visiting the school! We always want to make sure we are providing ample opportunities to encourage visitors. Second, allow teachers to prepare. Perhaps they want to lend a hand at the next event. Maybe they want to make sure the great assignment they have been working on is on display. Third, we want to be respectful of everyone’s space. If a teacher likes to stay late to prepare once a week, or wrap up grading, make sure they know they might see some new faces on a tour. It is always polite to send a reminder email the day before an event so faculty and staff have the chance to tidy up their shelves and keep your best foot forward.
The Tour Route
Before the event, make sure your tour givers are up to date on key spots to hit. Of course there are standard rooms that highlight your school, but it’s a great idea to have a knowledge of current projects that are on display that you might not know otherwise. Plan a tour that ends in a convenient location where families can have a snack and speak to your head of school and any other community representatives. Perhaps it is a parent ambassador, a teacher or coach, or an alumn of the school. Additionally, having a route mapped out ensures no pauses, overlapping areas, or overlapping tours. It is especially helpful for your student ambassadors.
Highlight Your Community
It’s always a great idea to have your Head of School present to answer questions and greet guests personally. I also love to include a few other members of the school community to offer differing views. Involve current parents, perhaps you have a group of parent ambassadors or perhaps a member of the PTA, to speak about the school. Ask a few teachers and coaches to be available. If possible, target your audience. If you have a pre-registration that indicates multiple Middle School applicants, ask Middle School faculty to attend, as well as an Upper School faculty member as a preview of what’s to come.
The End Game
Parents are always wow-ed at the end of a tour. On private tours you can sit individually with families in your office and discuss the specifics of the application process. In a group tour setting that one-on-one time might suffer, but we have a unique opportunity to encourage them to apply while they mingle and enjoy refreshments. Have iPads at the ready for instant applications. Consider waiving the application fee to make families who were on the fence apply right then and there. And of course, follow-up with your visitors the next day.