Admissions Decisions: How to Boost Offer Acceptance Rates
You’ve collected all the records and documentation, held interviews, and hosted open houses, spent a significant amount of time evaluating applicants, and reached your conclusions. The admissions decisions are made. Now, there’s just one final phase in the admissions process before the work transitions to enrollment: sending acceptance notifications.
But this step isn’t a small one — it’s the culmination of all the hard work you and your team have invested over the past several months. It’s one of your final opportunities to leave a positive impression of your school. Additionally, it gives you one more chance to illustrate the value your institution will bring to accepted students’ lives.
That’s why it’s essential your admissions decisions are sent with care and attention. In fact, admissions offers should receive the same level of care as every preceding step of your process.
Here are several tips and ideas you can use to increase acceptance of your admissions offers and boost enrollment:
How to Inform Students of their Acceptance
There are two ways most private K-12 schools inform students and their families of their acceptance: a mailed letter or an email. For many years, institutions sent all admissions decisions via standard mail. The pervading opinion was that email was too informal and impersonal, and a letter was more powerful.
But times have changed.
Today, parents of K-12 students are mostly older Millennials and younger Gen-Xers who grew up in a digital world. Much of their professional communications happen via email and text messages, and they’ve grown accustomed to receiving important information via digital channels. In fact, on average, professionals check their email as much as 15 times per day, according to Forbes.
That said, it’s still a good idea to send both a physical and email version of an admissions decision to cover your bases and ensure the offer isn’t missed.
And regardless of the format, it’s essential you include the following:
1. A celebratory, congratulatory statement
Readers will be scanning the message first to look for good news, so it’s helpful to start the offer with a statement like, “Congratulations!” or “It’s with great pleasure that we inform you…”
2. When and how to submit offer acceptance
It’s crucial to send acceptance notifications as soon as possible after making your decision. Remember: candidates and their families are likely considering other schools too. So the sooner you send your letter, the easier you’ll make their decision process.
3. Important upcoming dates
In addition to clearly stating the deadline for offer acceptance, it’s also an excellent time to let recipients know about orientation and information about other relevant events.
4. Who to contact with questions
As candidates transition from the admissions phase to the enrollment process, parents may be confused about who to reach out to with questions or concerns. Be sure to add contact information and instructions for accessing resources online.
3 Ways to Make Your Offer Stand Out
In most cases, candidates have applied to multiple schools and are comparing several admissions offers.
Here are a few ways you can ensure your offer stands out:
1. Get creative
A school acceptance is a cause for celebration, so feel free to make the experience fun and memorable.
Place letters in colorful packaging with confetti. Surprise students with hand-written, hand-delivered offers from admissions personnel, a school mascot, student ambassadors, or even the school president. Or, create videos from staff and fellow students welcoming newly admitted candidates. You can even send postcards from student affinity groups, like a sports group, fine arts club, or key faculty member. This will show your school cares and will go above and beyond to support families.
In addition, it’s also a good idea to pick up the phone to deliver the good news. Doing so can help increase word-of-mouth awareness. It also helps families get excited and form a meaningful connection.
2. Use personalization
Make use of all the data within your CRM to tailor messages specifically to each student. Call out specifics from previous conversations to show students and parents you remember them.
For example, if a student is particularly interested in your school’s soccer team, use this opportunity to let them know how excited the coach is to meet them.
3. Make offer acceptance easy
Busy parents are looking for simplicity — especially after a rigorous season of school applications and interviews. By using robust online admissions and enrollment software, you can provide a streamlined, straightforward process they can easily complete anywhere at any time.
(A good software solution will also help you quickly generate personalized acceptance letters to make your life easier, too.)
Example Decision Letter
To inspire your next round of acceptance notifications, here is an example of a decision letter:
Dear Martinez Family,
On behalf of everyone at XYZ Academy, we’re thrilled to congratulate Maria on her acceptance to attend our institution beginning in the 2020/2021 school year!
As you know, XYZ is a highly competitive institution, and, since our foundation in 1927, we’ve remained the proud alma mater for thousands of graduates — many of whom continued their education at some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the country.
We’re highly impressed with Maria’s skill set, her stellar mathematics abilities, and dedication to making a difference in our local community through her volunteer work. We’re honored to welcome such a brilliant and promising student to our school. We look forward to helping her further cultivate her knowledge and skills in our exclusive college preparatory program.
To secure Maria’s enrollment for the coming school year, please visit LinkToOnlineEnrollmentAcceptance.com. Please complete your offer acceptance no later than May 1, 2020.
Please also mark your calendar for the new student orientation, which will take place on August 1, 2020, at 10 a.m. We’ll be sharing more details about this event soon.
Additionally, we know Maria was eager to learn more about our Mathletes team. We would love to invite her to meet with one of our student ambassadors and team captain, Jennifer, in the coming weeks. Please reach out to Adam Johnson, Mathletes faculty advisor, at a.johnson@XYZ.k12 to set up a time that’s convenient for you and Maria.
If you should have any questions regarding the enrollment process or next steps, please feel free to reach out to Enrollment Director Judy Brown at j.brown@XYZ.k12 or call her directly at 512-555-1234 Ext. 5678. You can also access enrollment checklists and various other resources via the online portal.
We hope you’re as excited as we are for Maria to join our student body, and look forward to your response.
Director of Admissions and Financial Aid
While sending admissions decisions is one of the final steps in the admissions evaluation process, it’s also one of the most important. By implementing these tips, you can help boost offer acceptances and consistently meet your school’s enrollment goals.
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