Wherever they are in the world, every international school admissions team knows how important the personal, family-centric approach is to the whole process. Not only does this proactively nurture prospective families, but it empowers both the school and the applicant to more efficiently manage and fast-track their journey from enquiry to enrolment. In today’s article, we look at how an online, paperless admissions process can support this approach, ultimately benefiting the child and their family as well as your admissions team.
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Reducing Manual Work
Completing work manually is time-consuming, as well as introducing substantially more scope for human error. By automating certain processes, you can free up your admissions team’s time to spend on the conversations that matter: building relationships with prospective families, colleagues and the wider school community.
The aim of OpenApply is to speed up and hone processes that have traditionally had to be done manually, saving valuable time. For example, completely eliminating the need to manually track document submission individually by sending checklist reminders to all applicants in bulk. This saves a huge amount of time compared to the traditional way of managing this process, namely chasing specific documents on a case-by-case basis. It lets teams focus on adding value and taking the time to know their applicants.
To give another example, when organising admissions events such as open days, it can be very confusing and complicated to juggle a large event list alongside logistics, but since the Events Calendar displays all events in one place, it allows you to easily view the families registered for each event. A quick and easy export via CSV, as well as letting you link it with external calendars such as iCal, Outlook and Google Calendar, prepares teams with the information they need to know. This saves considerable time, because your staff no longer need to add events to personal calendars manually.
For more context on how forward-thinking schools are saving time, money and hassle, check out our latest whitepaper:
Time-saving is by no means the only benefit of a paperless system. The right platform can help streamline your admissions to such a degree that the all-important process of nurturing prospective applicants and their families becomes something your team can do at scale, helping forge deeper relationships with more families. Parents can be much more proactive and have more agency in their admissions process with less hand-holding.
For example, admissions teams often lack the time to nurture all parents that come to the school individually. With Email Campaigns, however, school teams can create a list that will automatically subscribe parents based on particular criteria and send them scheduled emails. This means nurturing large numbers of parents becomes a quick and easy process, even for small admissions teams that are tight on time.
Similarly, the Bulk Messaging feature gives your team the ability to send email messages in bulk to all applicants and/or parents, drawing in the necessary information from the application form or other parts of the platform. This means you can retain the personal touch without having to write individual emails, saving huge amounts of time.
Of course, there are sometimes special case applicants who do need individual attention. For these, a simple tag allows you to have more visibility on a student and filter out those with these tags, to gain deeper insight at a moment’s notice. By tagging students automatically based on what parents have entered on their forms, school teams can have instant visibility over particular groups of applicants who may need extra care or special attention.
Tour and Interview Bookings can be challenging to manage with families needing to coordinate a time over busy schedules. Instead, admissions teams can book tours and interviews directly through the student profile or allow families to find and book into events of their choosing. Confirmation emails are then sent automatically – again saving time and the need to manually write individual emails – the admissions calendar then automatically populates with the booked event, saving internal communications time in the process.
Nurturing a good relationship with prospective applicants also means empowering parents to feel in control and informed about the admissions process. OpenApply’s Parent Dashboard facilitates this, featuring an application form that parents can complete online rather than having to download and complete a paper form. This simplifies the process, getting their application off to a smooth and professional start.
The Parent Dashboard then gives them visibility over the progress of their child’s application, as well as allowing them to receive messages, make admissions payments, request references from previous schools, submit required documents (including partially pre-populated, school-customised forms), and book and view events for all their children in a single place.
Parents are also automatically kept informed by email notifications when an applicant’s status changes. It is also possible to use other notifications that are based on customisable criteria during the admissions process.
Ultimately, by reducing the amount of unnecessary communication between school and family, time is freed up for your staff to spend on personalising other elements of the admissions process and building stronger school-parent relationships.
Reviewing and Reporting
When the time comes to review applications, schools no longer need to gather a committee, put an application file on the Head’s desk or send documents to each other. Schools can easily use the Application Review Mode to create a simple step-by-step review process that gives your teams the ability to restrict what information particular reviewers have access to and make decisions quickly. Applications can also be sent for review in bulk, saving time on doing this manually.
Customised review forms, differentiated by programme and campus, help gather responses in one place, with unskippable fields to make sure your team no longer needs to chase required information. You can even set a review sequence, ensuring an application is automatically sent to the next reviewer on completion by the previous one. No more applications sitting on desks for weeks or chasing the head for an answer every day!
Reporting is simplified, too, as extensive analytics allow staff to see key admissions metrics at a glance – so you will no longer need to generate reports manually. The ability to export information in bulk into Excel or CSV also saves time by eliminating manual work and gives schools flexibility, while the Enrolment Analytics feature allows instant visibility over available seats to ensure offers are made as close as possible to capacity.
A suite of further analytics gives your school instant access to filterable, real-time statistics on your conversion funnel across academic years, nationalities, languages and geographical locations of your applicants (especially useful for plotting bus routes and new campuses!), and any custom analytics that your board needs to see.
Finally, OpenApply also drastically simplifies your re-enrolment process for returning students, with its powerful automation saving an average of ten or more hours compared to manual re-enrolment. Take a look at our post on An Easier and More Efficient Re-Enrolment Process to learn more.
Our Case Studies also show how schools have made their processes more professional.
How Does Your Process Currently Compare?
Find out where your school’s admissions process ranks compared to industry benchmarks, with our free Admissions Benchmarking Tool: