Plymouth Christian Academy

Plymouth Christian Academy
Canton, MI

A Conversation with Peggy Paulson, Communications

Describe your school’s enrollment and marketing situation before you hired Rick Newberry and Enrollment Catalyst:

The Advancement Team, consisting of two people, at Plymouth Christian Academy followed Rick Newberry, The Enrollment Catalyst, for several years prior to hiring him to work with PCA. We worked to institute some of his smaller recommendations with our social media and website. Despite all our efforts with marketing, website, social media, billboards, open houses, Walk-in Wednesday events, and more, our enrollment had been experiencing a steady decline for the past 15 years of approximately 3-4%/year. Only when another school in the area unfortunately closed did we experience a flat to slight growth in enrollment.

Why did you decide to partner with Rick Newberry and Enrollment Catalyst?

We decided to partner with Rick Newberry in the spring of 2018 because we were facing a tremendous decline in enrollment of close to 10-12%.  We realized that we needed to institute some of the much larger and more impactful suggestions that we knew Rick would make based on having watched many of his webinars. We also recognized that the boards and leadership of PCA would need those suggestions to come from Rick himself rather than our department.

What were the results of working with Enrollment Catalyst? What were your greatest accomplishments?

The greatest accomplish this year is our 11% enrollment growth from 471 to 521 students! In addition, the percentage of new students increased by 26%.

In addition, the greatest accomplishments of working with Rick were the following:

  1. Instituting Variable Tuition
  2. Restructuring of our Admission Team
  3. New brand and website
  4. More dollars allocated for marketing efforts and a clear definition of “marketing” for our school
  5. Refocusing by all members of the administration on enrollment

What did you like best about working with Rick Newberry?

We loved working with Rick because of his straight-forward nature of telling us what we need to do. He was quickly able to recognize the weak points in our structure and systems and was very direct in telling us how to deal with those. His clear analysis of our situation allowed our leadership and boards to take the advice and move forward with the recommendations.

What was the biggest surprise for your team when implementing recommendations from the Enrollment Catalyst Program?

The biggest surprise for us was the amazing growth in inquiries and enrollment numbers. Shortly after allocating more money toward website SEO, we began to see large increases in inquiries. The addition of the simple recommendation to add a “Question” form on our website even led to more contacts. Once our new Enrollment Coordinator was in place, the steady follow-up on all inquiries has led to large increases in conversions to admitted students.

Were there specific programs from the Enrollment Catalyst Program that generated the biggest impact for your marketing and enrollment efforts?

We believe that from a program perspective, Variable Tuition is the single biggest factor since almost every inquiry is interested in learning more about Variable Tuition.  We hope to institute a parent ambassador program in the near future.

What would you say to another school leader to recommend Rick Newberry to help them in their enrollment and marketing effort?

We strongly recommend hiring Rick Newberry for your enrollment and marketing needs. You will need to be able to hear and then implement his advice. Sometimes it’s difficult to hear about your weaknesses, but this is so necessary if growth is to occur. You must be willing to implement the recommendations.

Please provide any additional comments that you want to share:

It’s been such a pleasure to work with Rick! We are grateful that the Lord led us to follow him years ago. We are thrilled that he was available to work with us when we needed him in the spring of 2018.


How can we help?