K-12 school enrollment is a chaotic time of year for everyone involved, resulting in administrators and parents scrambling to complete the process.
Sometimes parents save enrollment for the last minute, forms can be difficult to understand, and critical information is missing or not available.
While your school gears up for the beginning of the new year, it’s a great time to research tools to improve the enrollment process. An easy enrollment process is a game changer for parents and administrators alike.
Fortunately, there are five easy ways to make the process better and more efficient than ever, and the right software can help you tackle each one.
Use Paperless to Streamline Re-Enrollment
Paperless enrollment is becoming more and more prevalent in K-12 school systems. Not only is this a greener, more cost-effective option for your school, but it’s more convenient for everyone involved.
Paperless, online forms are turned in on time and submitted with fewer mistakes and inconsistencies because of their added convenience.
Make Your K-12 School Enrollment Forms Organized & Easy to Follow
We’ve all filled out school enrollment forms at some point that left us scratching our heads in confusion; you don’t want this to be the case for yours.
Double check that all of your forms are updated, organized and include clear instruction.
Is it easy to understand which sections of each form need to be completed? Are the questions clear and easy to understand, or do they have accidentally ambiguous wording?
A paperless enrollment system helps here. Parents receive the exact forms the school requires for enrollment. The system then guides them through the forms. If a parent leaves out any required information, the system alerts them so they are able to complete the enrollment process.
Create Enrollment Packets in Multiple Languages
While almost all schools operate with English as a first language in the United States, this doesn’t mean that English is everyone’s first language.
It’s estimated that as many as 9.5% of public school students are enrolled in English language learners in 2018. This means that there are plenty of parents who may not be fluent in English themselves.
Having enrollment forms available in multiple languages increases the accessibility of the process significantly, welcoming parents of all backgrounds.
Forms are more accurate when parents are able to understand exactly what you’re asking for, giving the students equal footing as they’re starting their new year.
Online registration software like Registration Gateway bridges this gap. You can purchase enrollment packages in different languages, and then have them available online during the registration process.
The landing page featuring the enrollment packets will have a drop-down menu allowing parents to view the forms in the language they speak.
Offer Online Payment Options
You don’t want parents to have to make a special trip into the school’s office with a check or (even worse) send it with their overeager-but-slightly-forgetful eight-year-old.
If your school or any of its programs require upfront fees or payment, make sure that there’s an online payment system available.
Online payment systems are fully secure, protecting your school and the financial information of the parents making the payments. Checks and cash are both at high-risk payment options – they’re both easy to misplace. Online payments are notably more secure than checks or cash.
An online system allows parents pay with credit card, which is much more convenient than digging out the checkbook or making a special trip to an ATM.
This convenience is particularly important when parents are looking at multiple fees at the start of the year; keeping up with payments for prepaid meals, the after school program, and the chorus field trip can be exhausting for anyone.
At Registration Gateway, we partner and offer full integration with payment processors like efunds to collect payments securely and conveniently for everyone involved.
Provide Information to Mitigate Expectations
It’s not uncommon for parents to submit enrollment forms and then immediately wonder “what’s next.”
Offer up next-steps so parents have clear expectations of the process (and staff avoids an onslaught of phone calls). If you have a wait list to get into your school, explain how the process works.
It’s essential to clearly outline each of the steps parents must take to complete the process. Let them know the following: If parents need to take any next steps to finalize their child’s enrollment,
- The steps parents must take finalize enrollment;
- How they complete those steps;
- And when those steps must be completed.
In addition, share information like the start date for the school year or a list of school supplies to purchase.
The school enrollment process isn’t exactly one that most people look forward to. But having an online enrollment system can make it as painless and efficient as possible for everyone involved.
You can make the enrollment more convenient while reducing the workload required from your team and cut back on incorrect information.
Going green and saving everyone a little bit of time to start the year on a good note: How can you say no to that?