An Admissions Strategy to Reach Out to Feeder Schools

One of the strategies that private school admissions directors often consider is how to effectively reach out to feeder schools. 

The question I hear private school admissions directors and marketing committees ask: “How can we provide awareness at our key feeders to attract their families to our school?”

Most often the strategies are centered on the director or administrator of the feeder school. The thought is that if you can get the leader connected with your school then they will influence their families’ decision to consider your school. Some strategies include meeting with the director, inviting them to an event, tour, or professional development workshop on your campus, and trying to find a way to motivate the director to expose parents to your school. 

Sometimes this strategy works and sometimes it doesn’t. It all depends on the director. For the feeder school director, it is important to understand what’s in it for them. Most often, it’s a one-sided attempt to gain exposure for your school and recruit their students.

While this can and should be a strategy worth implementing by reaching out to the feeder school director, I believe the best strategy is to focus on more of a grass-roots effort with parents. 

Let me explain how this can work.

Your new parents are the best way you can connect with feeder schools. Since they just recently made the transition to your school, they have the experience and relationships with other parents at their former school. They know who to call and who might be a good fit at your school. New parents are also passionate about their decision and want to share their experience with others (as long as it is going well for them!). After all, that is what word of mouth is all about. 

The following are some steps you could implement to reach out feeder schools:

1. Identify new parents at your school that enrolled this year from your feeder schools. 

2. Reach out to these new families through personal contact in a phone call or email, or invite them to a meeting to discuss ways to connect with the parents at the feeder school.

3. Use the personal connection with these families to discuss the following:

  • What do they believe to be the best way to reach families at their former school?
  • Who are the families at their former school that would be good candidates for your school?
  • How can we best reach these families? In what ways could they personally help to reach out these families?

4. Based on this conversation, lead your current parent to become an ambassador to reach out to these families. Perhaps your parent ambassador could invite these families to visit an open house or some other school event? Perhaps they would be willing to invite these parents to attend a dessert event in their home? You could provide a focused conversation on why your school is a great option for them.

As you know, it is important to develop the pipeline of parents coming to your school from your feeder schools. While directors and administrators can help promote your school, your current parents are your best ambassadors and word of mouth talkers to reach these new families since they have the relationship and the experience with them.

What strategies are you using to reach out to your feeder schools?