Transitions into and out of a school are a fact of life for the families who attend international schools, but they can be a challenging time for students, parents and schools alike. Naturally, the upheaval of moving schools places enormous demands on the child; but it also poses difficulties for schools, even before reaching the point of needing to support the student in integrating into their new school community. In today’s post, we look at what these challenges are and how OpenApply can help to address them.
The Admissions Challenges of Transitions
The school admissions process marks the first point at which a transition starts bringing challenges to a school. Perhaps most obviously, there is the challenge of bridging different education systems, countries and languages. If a child moves from the UK to the USA, for example, they move from a ‘year’ system to a ‘grade’ system, and the age to year may differ. So which year group should they enter in their new school?
Furthermore, different education systems clearly entail different curricula, and in some cases different assessment methods. In many cases the student may be moving from one IB school to another, or have other internationally recognised academic achievements, making it more straightforward to transition – but this may not always be the case.
Language barriers can be an issue, too, particularly when it comes to communicating with parents during the admissions process. As we discussed in our post on Values and Ethos in Admissions, a warm and friendly tone in both written and verbal communication with parents is a vital way of demonstrating a ‘warm and welcoming’ ethos – and part of engendering a feeling of inclusivity is ensuring you can be clearly understood. That might even mean hiring translators to facilitate good lines of communication with the parents of prospective transitioning students.
Clear communication with families and staff is, of course, also essential during the admissions process, both in terms of offering them the right support during their transition from another school, as well as in getting the right information for administration purposes. Given the aforementioned challenges, reaching out to students and their parents is not always straightforward.
Streamlining Transitions with OpenApply
These challenges are made significantly easier to overcome with the features contained in OpenApply’s admissions management suite, which helps you handle transitions from a number of different angles. These include:
- Access to information – the OpenApply admissions process gives you an easy way to gather information on the student’s profile, including their specific support needs and anything else you need to know in preparation for a smooth first or last day at a school. This in turn allows you to offer the right support, which makes transition easier for both students and staff.
- Reference from previous school – you can receive this via the questionnaire on OpenApply as part of its comprehensive checklist.
- Booking tours or open days – OpenApply makes it simple for students and parents to book in for guided tours or open days, and for you to arrange orientation events. This helps you ensure that the student joining you (and their family) are ‘the right fit’ for your school and align with your values, making a smooth transition more likely.
- Multilingual forms – OpenApply’s forms are available in numerous different languages, which makes them more inclusive and meets your accessibility goals.
- Customer Relationship Management – to help students and their families adjust to their new school, OpenApply’s CRM module makes sure the right people get the right information – such as newsletters tailored to their interests (e.g. a particular sport) or values.
- Better communications with alumni – the transition to their next educational endeavour is equally important. Keep in touch with your alumni and make them aware of what is happening in their old community.
If you would like to learn more about making the transition process easier for your students, parents and admissions staff, attend our upcoming webinar on August 10, 9:00 GMT+1.