One of the most effective ways to boost enrollment is to host school tours in the spring for the upcoming school year. If the parents can see what makes your daycare, preschool, or private school so special, they will surely want to enroll their kids. If only it were that simple. As much as you’d like to just throw open the doors and have parents rush to sign their children up, that isn’t how it typically happens.
Check out this scenario from Bright Minds Marketing:
- School A has 100 families tour the school and manages to enroll 60 new students. They have a “closure rate” of 60%.
- School B has 100 families tour and enrolls 70. They have a closure rate of 70%.
“The ten incremental students that school B enrolled equates to about $65,000 in additional state funding or tuition (1 student = $6,500). That is enough to hire an additional teacher! Taken over the entire time these students are at the school (assuming these 10 were kindergarteners), this is an additional $585,000 more for the school!”
You want your school tours to lead to more enrollments. To boost your closure rate, you need to have a plan to make school tours a success.
Market School Tours
Utilize the power of the internet to market school tours. Find ways to make sure all potential families know when school tours occur and how to participate. Advertise school tours prominently on your school website. Announce it on your social media sites. Send out email invites. Encourage current school families to invite other families.
Make Sign Up Easy
Most millennial parents are not going to call to sign up for school tours, which is why you need to make it easy to sign up online. On your website, post an online form for easy sign-ups. On Facebook, allow potential visitors to RSVP.
Make a Great First Impression
Most of us understand that it is important to make a great first impression, but you need to take it a step further. Beyond welcoming parents with friendly smiles, you need to consider all the things parents will see as soon as they approach the school. Here are a few things to consider:
- Assign special parking for prospective families that is easy to locate.
- Provide school security officers and administrative staff with the family name so they can be greeted by name when they arrive.
- Schedule school tours at the appropriate day and time. For example, you don’t want to schedule school tours during the busiest times of the school day, such as drop-off or class changes.
- Keep your reception area clean and inviting for prospective families.
Start School Tours by Focusing on the Student
Essentially, during school tours, you are selling your school or daycare to prospective parents. As such, it can be easy to launch right into your talking points about the school. Don’t start there. Instead, you want to start by focusing on the potential student. Ask the parents about their child. What are her strengths and interests? What extracurriculars is he involved in? Getting a better understanding of the potential student will help you shape what you share about the school.
Note – This does not mean you mislead parents in hopes of appealing to their child’s unique interests. Instead, it means pointing out how your school is already designed to meet their child’s needs and help him or her excel.
Know What to Share
Before you host school tours, you need to review what things need to be shared with those leading the tours. In general, there are some things all prospective parents want to hear and see during school visits. Here are some things to cover:
- Academic success stories
- Special classes
- Sports and athletics
- Teacher quality
In addition to covering these basics, make sure your guides take time to talk about what makes your school or daycare different from the other options in the area. This needs to be made explicitly clear during school tours. For example, if you are unique because of your arts program, have students participate in a showcase for potential families.
[Related Read: What Parents Look for When Choosing a School or Daycare]
Show Students and Teachers in Action
Parents will feel more reassured about sending their children to your school if they can see it in action. So, take them around and let them visit classrooms. On days when you are hosting school tours, let teachers know you may stop in, so it isn’t viewed as a random disruption.
Don’t make the mistake of ending school visits by showing them the door and waving goodbye. Instead, ask them if they have any questions. After questions, tell them what happens next, such as filling out an online application or taking a placement test. Don’t stop there. Send them a follow-up email the next week.
Additional Tips for Virtual School Tours
We understand that because of health and safety regulations, some schools and daycares are not able to host traditional school tours. Here are some general tips for virtual school tours:
- Keep it as similar to regular tours as possible.
- Create a professional virtual tour video.
- Include interactive video when possible, such as Zoom discussions or Facebook live streams.
- Film testimonials from students, parents, and teachers.
- Record a special message to potential parents from the head of school.
If you manage a tuition-based educational facility or daycare, it is critical that you provide prospective families with tuition information (tuition schedule, fees, and financial aid) during school tours. This is also a great time to explain TUIO’s easy billing and payment system.