Automating the School Enrollment Process – in the Name of Efficiency
With budgets under scrutiny more than ever, schools must work hard to minimize costs while still delivering the highest-quality education possible. The digital revolution is moving — quickly in some industries and slowly in others — in an effort to reduce costs and improve productivity. Our K-12 school system is one area of relatively slow growth in this digital revolution, due in large part to the massive number of students and the even larger number of files, forms, and documents that these students need. Most student-related documentation has traditionally been done with paper and pen, meaning that an enormous number of forms and documents need to be tracked and maintained during and after the enrollment process.
The process of school admissions and enrollment — including application, lotteries and assignments, and registration — is one of the most costly and time-consuming tasks that a school needs to conduct. Also, the admissions process is the first touchpoint a family has with the school they are applying to, and it’s important for schools to make a good first impression. For all of these reasons, school admissions and enrollment are great candidates for a transition to online management.
Managing the School Admissions Process Online
Poor planning by a school can lead to over- or under-enrolling, which leads to an eventual loss for the district. Last year, the Boston public school district overestimated the number of students who would be enrolling by almost 2,000, opening up dozens of new classrooms that won’t be needed or used. This mistake is projected to cost the district over $10 million, and adds to a number of similar mistakes in the past few years.
An online enrollment and management tool, such as SchoolMint, provides an efficient way to organize and manage school enrollment, saving time and money and enabling better planning. By conducting school registration online, the enrollment numbers can be tracked in real time, and compared against trends in numbers from previous years, or nearby schools, ensuring accurate projections of demand.
Benefits of Online Enrollment Management Systems
An online enrollment system can collect all the information into a central hub, making it easy to access and modify. Registration information is instantly added to the database without the need to enter the information into a registry by hand. This dramatically speeds up the registration process, frees up employees to do more useful tasks, and increases accuracy by cutting down on the number of data entry errors. Errors that could cause problems faced by the Boston school district — such as false addresses and students who have relocated — can be caught and immediately corrected.
Many charter and choice schools use a lottery and waitlist in their enrollment process, and with a paper-based system, this process is error-prone and high risk. A single error could mean that a student might not get into the school that would have significantly improved his or her life. An online lottery and waitlist management system can solve these problems using clear rules and priorities set to ensure that registration is fair. Comprehensive audits can be performed to check the process and understand the details.
By incorporating several months’ or years’ worth of data, a predictive tool can produce actionable insights that a district can use to plan out its enrollment goals and resource allocation. These data include reports on the number of applications submitted, inactive applications, and demographic information.
With streamlined and digitized school admissions, parents can become more involved and better understand the registration process. Helping parents understand this perspective will encourage parent-school communications even after students start attending school, keeping them involved in their children’s education. Parent-school communication is one of the most important benefits of such a system, because the more involved the parents are, the better students perform in school. Schools can quickly and easily send families an email or text message, allowing them to respond immediately. For those hard-to-reach or inactive families, a list can be generated that would allow officials to personally reach out for formal communications, fostering an engaging communication process for all.
INTERESTED TO LEARN MORE? Contact us or visit our webinars here. Our platform can assist schools with mobile and online enrollment, student registration, managing lotteries, managing waitlists, communications, and more. Enrollment data can be conveniently integrated with your Student Information System. In addition, SchoolMint is a powerful communications tool that helps schools and parents stay in touch beyond enrollment, and highlights the relevance and usefulness of using an online registration platform within the school setting.