I’m expecting my first child next month (a little girl!) and I’ve been evaluating daycare centers like crazy. There are some fantastic choices, but boy are they pricey: upwards of $12K per year! One thing I can’t get over is their lack of technology for enrollment. Each school gave me giant packets that I will have to complete, with questions I can’t possibly answer about my unborn child. (“Describe your child’s behavior?” Ummm… she kicks a lot?) Furthermore, I’ve learned that this is paperwork I’ll have to fill out once or twice a year! The same stuff! And I have to pay a deposit by check! Grumble.
Admittedly, I do work at an admissions and enrollment software company. I know that there are tools out there that these schools could implement that would make the enrollment process so much easier for me, and if I’m paying so much money, I expect it. But I don’t think my experience makes me biased. I think ALL parents expect more.
Here’s why all schools should be using online enrollment software:
Parents Want It
- Paper makes today’s students and parents grumpy. It’s not just me. We’re used to shopping, paying taxes, checking our bank statements, making friends, booking travel online. We expect that level of technology everywhere.
- Paper makes today’s students and parents procrastinate. I have one month left until delivery, I know the daycare center I’m choosing, yet I have not filled out the paperwork. I just never get around to it. It’s not just me. I talk with countless admissions and enrollment teams that literally have to hunt down parents to get all the necessary paperwork back.
- Paper re-enrollment makes today’s parents and students want to find another school. The idea that this school that is taking care of my child every day needs to collect the same information from me year after year makes me think they don’t know me. It makes me seriously question their ability to keep track of important information. It’s not just me.
It Will Help Your School
- Paper enrollment makes you less efficient. You’re printing out enrollment packets, stuffing envelopes, mailing them out, following up with procrastinating parents, making sure everything is returned prior to school starting, keying all of this information into your SIS or database, and updating last year’s information in your database. All this takes valuable time.
- Paper enrollment holds up your budget. Those procrastinating parents and students are withholding deposits and the financial tuition commitment you need to plan. I talk with so many schools that are delaying hiring decisions and critical projects because they’re still waiting on the revenue from enrollment.
- Online enrollment and re-enrollment can give your image a boost. Your customers are your BEST marketers and if they are DELIGHTED they will talk about you. When parents and students can eliminate hand writing and mail, they’ll be happy. When online re-enrollment paperwork is already pre-populated with last year’s information, they’ll be thrilled. And when they talk with friends who still have to do it the old fashioned way, you know they will rave about your wonderful school.
Posted by Elyn Roberts