Late admissions are a real bonus for any independent school. They can be an attractive source of additional revenue, and from both an academic and financial perspective, they open up the horizons for your school and allow further resources to become available for your students and parents. Here’s our simple guide to attracting late admissions.
1. Understand your market
Late admissions come about for several different reasons and it’s important to understand who you’re trying to attract:
- Families who registered with you earlier in the year but didn’t commit further, who may change their minds at the last minute given the right prompt
- Families who attended an Open Day up to two years previously making last-minute choices through fresh personal circumstances
- Families in distress, whose son or daughter has had a difficult or poor experience at their current school and are seeking a safe haven
2. Make your Late Admissions policy clear
It’s no good attracting late admissions if you don’t have the space or the policy to be able to do so. Create a policy, have it approved by your senior team and governors and be clear about who you can accept (Reception, Year Three, Year 7, Year 9, Year 12 or across the board) and how late in the year for the next academic year, or how late into a new term, you can accept late arrivals.
3. Publicise your Late Admissions policy with your parents and staff
Make your most committed stakeholders, your parents and your teaching and other staff aware of your policy. Publish it on your website and do an annual reminder to these groups that this is your policy, not because you have spaces to fill, but because you’re a school that supports and educates the local community. Using parents and staff as your word of mouth promoters is free and helps them talk about one of their favourite things: your school where their children attend or their place of work.
4. Know the key dates and pressure points for parents
To actively seek late admissions, it’s essential to be aware of some key dates during the academic year. The beginning of March is National Offer Day for state secondary school places and the beginning of April for state primary places. This can be the beginning of the search for an alternative when parents are not keen or committed to the first-choice school they have been offered. Parents can stay on their preferred state school’s waiting list right until the beginning of the autumn term. These dates are critical for you to target uncertain or disgruntled parents to consider you as a viable alternative.
5. Create a marketing strategy that uses both digital and traditional marketing channels to reach your Late Admission parents as part of your wider campaigns
Your campaign needs to have key times, key targets and fast routes to market. Radio, online and social media advertising are your fastest advertising channels, while your social media platforms, regular e-shots, website and local press should be your regular PR channels where you can drip-feed the information about your school, its key messages, USPs and the helpful information that you do accept late admissions.
6. Walk the talk: Be open, be friendly and be available.
It’s no good creating a friendly, informative campaign with a strong call to action that encourages parents seeking late admission for their child only to have it fail at the final hurdle. Make sure your admissions officer is aware of their responsibilities and your office and administrative staff, your bursar and so on, are all aware of your policy, your campaign and welcome your late admission enquirers with open arms.
7. Make transition trouble-free
Make sure their child’s transition into your school is as smooth as possible. Build positive, if short-lived, relationships with any previous school, and let your late admission parents become your most ardent advocates as they sing your praises for welcoming their son or daughter and making their new school days a huge success.
Looking to attract late admissions for September? Find our how bespoke market insights from MTM Consulting can help. Call us today for an informal chat.