The Nigerian school sector is highly saturated and as such, it is becoming increasingly difficult for school owners to grow student enrollment consistently.
Parents, guardians and decision makers are becoming more sophisticated and selective as they look to settle down to select which school caters to the immediate educational needs of their wards and most importantly sets them on the right path to a successful career and future.
Every school struggle to continue increasing student enrollment, simply due to the number of education choices available. Focusing on increasing enrollment requires a fully coordinated effort and often new approaches to programs offered at the school.
What makes your school unique?
Why are staff proud to work at your school?
Do you have programs that help struggling learners?
What special extracurricular activities do you offer?
Why are some schools gaining enrollment while others are losing?
Every school is unique. It could be the sports teams, special programs, faith-based, or unique approach to classroom learning. This is the “brand” of your school and the reason parents recognize it as a place to send their children.
The brand may not be what you automatically assume. Start by asking staff, students, and parents what they like about the school. Asking parents will give you a good idea about why they sent their child to the school in the first place. Pro tip: you can use their quotes later in promotional messages.
Here’s the deal: In order to survive, you need to evolve with the times and become a storyteller.
Tips To Boost Enrollment.
It’s time to get the word out and start attracting students. You will need to get involved in some marketing activities to communicate the educational benefits of attending your school. Here are some activities to get started:
1. Own Your Brand; Your brand is the essence of who you are. It is your school’s story. It is your promise and the delivery of that promise is essential.
2. Build a User-friendly Informative Website; Your school’s website is one of the most important marketing and communication tool at your disposal. Parents looks to research on every school online before settling on their final choice. Your schools website must reflect your unique approach to learning, guidance for students at all stages, an easy to navigate website must be populated with all relevant information regarding the school for parent to decide, your website should communicate your brand effectively, display school programs, show parents testimonials and present enrollment information.
3. Word of Mouth; Make no mistake, word of mouth is going to be the most effective way of letting the community know of your new programs. Take advantage of the community directly connected to the school: staff, students, and parents. Use your school parent mailing list to announce the details of the new programs with links to more information on your website. And don’t be shy when asking for referrals! Ask them to share this information with their friends and extended family.
4. Enter Notable Competitions; Get noticed in every possible news by entering competitions related to the notable programs at your school. Whether it’s a robotics competition, a math league, sports game, or otherwise, having students compete. This is a great way for getting your school’s name into a lot of houses and to a lot of parents. Keep in mind that this is a long-term strategy since you will need to have the programs in place first.
5. Social Media; If you’re not doing this already, you’re behind the times. Get your schools Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media accounts. Post exciting events, student accomplishments, announcements, and anything else to build the brand of your school. Encourage students, staff and parents to get involved and share their excitement. It also spreads the word of the great things that are happening throughout the school year.
6. Keep your finger on your market’s pulse; Besides the obvious benefit of telling your story across digital platforms (getting information to your market), you can watch in real-time as your audience interacts with your story. Their behavior will let you know what’s working and what isn’t. Your story shapes your brand. Your brand increases enrollment.
7. Create and Communicate a Strong Brand; In order to establish your school in your community and successfully market it far and wide, it is important to create a remarkable brand so much more than just a catchy logo and great graphics, your school’s brand is that defining factor that differentiates you from the crowd. It describes your story, your unique advantage and communicates why your school is the top choice amongst the rest. To craft a strong brand that sets your school apart from the other schools in Nigeria, find out what it is that makes your school special; what influenced parents in selecting your school as final choice for their wards.
8. Keep Enrollment Consistent; Recruitment and enrollment efforts don’t end when school begins. Building and maintaining enrollment numbers is an annual endeavor. One of the biggest mistakes any school can make is the failure. You might think that you don’t have the budget for a year-round campaign but, you spend less when you have goals for each month of the year. Share those educational videos, post articles on parents’ blogs to help the undecideds come to you.
Generating enrollment and consistently growing is arguably one of the most daunting tasks faced by the school administrator, adopting the right strategies and implementing them in a timely and effective manner is the difference between a constantly struggling school and a highly sort after top performing school.
Feel free to try out the strategies listed in this article and leave a comment on your progress to firstname.lastname@example.org.