OpenApply was excited to host our seventh conference in Asia and eleventh overall at the IGB International School in Kuala Lumpur on November 15-16. We were thrilled to welcome almost 90 participants representing 49 schools from 17 countries.

See the full list of participating schools and find the conference programme here.

Julia Love, Director of Admissions at International School of Kuala Lumpur, opened the conference with a presentation on how to get the entire school community involved in the admissions process to ensure every family has a great experience. Julia discussed the importance of getting buy in and providing training for current faculty, staff, students, and parents. This presentation set the tone and got participants to think deeply about the admissions experience at their school.

Next up, David Willows, Director of Advancement at The International School of Brussels, encouraged attendees to participate in an interactive presentation via their smartphones. Willows crowdsourced thoughts, experiences, and opinions from the audience to build a presentation as a group, discussing different ways to reimagine the admissions experience at international schools.

After the coffee break, Nishel Turpin, Director of Communications, Admissions, and Development at Harrow International School Hong Kong provided insight into how her school recently revamped their open mornings. Nishel shared how her team solicited feedback from multiple stakeholders including senior leadership, parents and even a mystery shopper to improve open day processes. Families now find the open days more streamlined and personalised, and attendance has increased significantly.

In the afternoon, members of the OpenApply team presented OpenApply workshops on a variety of topics: OpenApply demonstration, analytics for admissions and marketing and reviewing applicants. Pamela Wallace from OpenApply’s partner, Finalsite, and Bekah Mooney, Director of School Advancement at Oasis International School – Kuala Lumpur, presented on automated marketing in Finalsite and OpenApply.

The conference afternoon wrapped up with an unconference led by Renee Gian, Director of Admissions and Marketing at Western International School of Shanghai. Renee used an app to crowdsource discussion topics and then participants created small groups to discuss the topics of their choice. In the end, participants from each group were invited into a “fishbowl” conversation to share with the room and encourage further discussion.

The evening finished with a networking dinner and drinks at Signature by the Hill @ The Roof, featuring a lovely view of the city of Kuala Lumpur.

OpenApply Director MacKenzie Hovermale opened day two of the conference with a company update including recent Faria Education Group news, information on product updates, and a sneak peek at the product roadmap for the upcoming months.

Adam Morris, ICT Coordinator at IGB International School, then presented on OpenApply from an IT perspective, providing insight into how he has incorporated OpenApply into the systems framework at his school and used OpenApply’s APIs to pass data between systems. Adam’s presentation provided a different take from most others at the conference, and many participants planned to take his insights back to their own schools for consideration.

Next, Kat Ngkaion, Head of Admissions at Jakarta Intercultural School, and her colleague Antin Indahsari, got participants talking with several activities related to improving customer service during the admissions process. Kat encouraged participants to consider how they communicate with parents and listen to parent feedback to improve their admissions process. Over the past nine years, JIS has greatly improved their NPS score after listening to parents closely and acting on their feedback.

The morning wrapped up with a presentation from Claudine Hakim, Head of Advancement, Transitions, and Student Support, and Brit Beckers, Admissions Officer, from the International School of London group. Claudine and Brit discussed factors that affect enrolment growth and shared the story of how these factors have affected the group’s schools in Surrey, London, and Qatar. Participants were encouraged to consider which factors most affect their own schools’ enrolment numbers and how they can work within those constraints to manage enrolment.

After lunch and a quick school tour, the OpenApply team provided four OpenApply workshops throughout the afternoon: Agents in OpenApply, the Parent Journey, Admissions Events, and Family Friendly Re-Enrolment. Heidi Reid, CEO of OpenApply’s newest partner IDAT, also provided a workshop on finding the right students for the right schools.

MacKenzie Hovermale wrapped up the conference with a final closing session and activity that encouraged participants to think about concrete takeaways from the conference that they would like to implement in their schools. Participants then took advantage of some final networking time with snacks and fresh Malaysian drinks to say goodbye as the conference came to a close.

A big thank you from OpenApply to IGB International School and all the speakers and attendees who contributed to another successful event. More photos from the conference can be found HERE.

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