A Data-Driven Enrollment Analysis for Private Schools

It’s back to school time. 

It’s also the day of reckoning for those in school leadership, admissions and enrollment positions.

So how does your enrollment look this year?

Did you reach your goals? 

As you celebrate your school’s enrollment, whether you met your goals or not, it is a great time to reflect on and assess your enrollment and marketing strategies and results for the year.

What worked?  

What didn’t work?

I am huge proponent of using data as your friend to better understand your enrollment results. Without data, you will be left in the dark and guessing on your upcoming strategies for this year. With data, you can understand what worked and didn’t work, and then you can adjust your strategies for next year. 

The following are several important data sets that you should analyze:

1.  Admission Funnel – Your admissions funnel is a key indicator of what happened with your new student enrollment this year. It is important to examine your inquiries, campus visits, applicants, admits, deposits and new student enrollees for every grade level. You will also want to compare these numbers, as well as your yield, to the previous years.

  • How does your admissions numbers compare to last year?
  • How does your yield percentages compare to last year?

2.  Lead and New Student Generation Results – This is where you understand the effectiveness of your marketing effort by examining the sources of your inquiries, applicants and new students. How effective was your marketing effort? You will want to take a close look at your word-of-mouth and inbound marketing sources.

  • What are your sources for leads and new students?
  • How much did your leads and new students cost to generate?
  • What strategies worked?
  • What strategies didn’t work?

3.  Retention – Retention is a key indicator of the overall parent satisfaction at your school. You will want to analyze your overall retention and grade level retention rates. You will especially want to examine your key transition grades to determine how effective you are at retaining students from one division to the next.

  • What is your overall retention rate and how does this compare to the last few years?
  • What is your retention rate by grade level and how does this compare to the last few years?
  • What are the reasons for student attrition?

4.  Enrollment Data Mapping – This summer I attended a workshop at the AISAP Summer Institute presented by Geordie Mitchell, Director of Enrollment Management at Buckingham Browne & Nichols. He demonstrated how he has used Microsoft’s program, MapPoint, to map his school’s enrollment as well as their inquiries and applicants. This is a great tool to visually see where your families live. In addition, the program will also provide census data for your area so that you can overlay this with your enrollment data.

  • Where are your prospects and current families located?
  • Do you see any trends? Do you see any pockets of opportunity?

5.  Financial Aid – The use of financial aid is a key to maximizing your school’s enrollment. You will want to examine the number of full-pay families versus financial aid families and the effectiveness of your award strategy to generate enrollment.

  • How does your full-pay and financial aid families compare to last year?
  • What is the average aid award per family and per grade level? How does this compare to last year?
  • What is your assessment of your use of financial aid to maximize enrollment?

As you analyze your enrollment data, you will want to consider how your enrollment and marketing strategies should be adjusted this year. The key is that you will have data you need to guide in your data-driven enrollment management effort.

So how does this year’s enrollment compare to last year? 

What did you learn from your analysis of your enrollment data?