Transform Your School’s Campus Visit from Routine to Remarkable

In a world where first impressions are crucial, the campus visit can be a deciding factor for prospective families considering your private school.

Have you ever considered your campus visit experience from beginning to end? I have experienced many routine campus tours where the conversation is lacking, the campus is uninviting, and the wow factor is missing.

Too often admissions staff members giving tours focus on regurgitating information about the school rather than connecting with the parent to guide them through the process of determining whether or not the school is the right fit.

While the fundamentals of a campus tour remain the same, there are innovative approaches to elevate this experience from routine to remarkable. Here’s how:

1—Personalize the Experience

Begin with a personalized visitor parking space and a welcome sign in the main office area. This personalization creates an outstanding first impression that will help your school stand apart from the rest. You can also use data collected during the scheduling process to tailor the visit to each family’s interests, whether it’s academics, athletics, or arts.

2—Everyone is Expecting the Family Approach

Make sure the front office staff, administrative leadership, and key faculty and staff are aware of the visiting families. This ensures that everyone on your school’s team is on high alert to welcome the family by name and to engage with them during the visit.

3—Get to Know the Family

A campus visit experience should begin with a personal meeting to get to know the parent and their child. Ask questions such as, “Why did you decide to visit our school?” and “Tell me about your children.” This will help you understand the parent and their needs, as well as help inform you about areas you should highlight on the tour.

4—Utilize “Story Stops” on your Tour

Ideally, when you go on the tour, you should have key story stops – these are key stopping points in which you will tell stories about your school. Everyone loves a good story and these stories help to reinforce your school benefits.

5—Plan Environmental Branding on your Campus

Environmental branding can provide the visual reinforcement you need to better convey the “magic” of your school. Consider displays that showcase the history, significant milestones, graduates, alumni achievements, values, key messages, and more. Your environmental branding will provide the opportunities for the “story stops” mentioned in number four.

6—Use QR Codes for Video Vignettes

What if the key areas of your school had QR codes posted where you could stop and watch a one-minute video? Imagine going into an empty gym on the tour but then your parent can view a one-minute video showcasing the fan spirit that fills the arena during a game. Imagine your fine arts auditorium and the one-minute video that showcases a musical, drama, or band performance. Think about showcasing all your school life on a tour, whenever the tour is given.

7—Utilize Student Classroom Greeters

Some of the most impressive tours I have gone on have been in schools in which I have gone into a classroom and have been greeted by students with a handshake and a description of what they are doing. This is so impressive, especially when elementary students have the poise and confidence to eagerly greet a guest.

8—Close the Sale

After the tour, it is critical to close the sale. Too often, the campus visit is focused on the tour and doesn’t offer any discussion of the next step. Your goal should be to discuss the next step for the family and to create urgency for them to move forward.

9—Send a Thank-You

Too often, we forget to send a thank-you card after the visit. This should be sent immediately in several formats: A handwritten card and a personal email. And, if you had the opportunity to take a picture of the student or family on the tour in front of your welcome sign, you can send this to the parent as a reminder of their visit. You could also use a personalized video platform, such as Bonjoro or BombBomb to send a video message to thank the parent for their visit and remind them of the next step.

By implementing these nine strategies (there are more than nine!), your school’s campus visit will become more than just a tour; it will be an experience that stands out in the memories of prospective families. Remember, the goal is not just to showcase your campus, but to create a connection that lasts well beyond the visit.

How will you take your campus visit experience from routine to remarkable?