Virtual Admissions: Tips for Bringing Your In-Person Process Online

April 6, 2020 Emily Cretella

Independent schools are rushing to transform their admissions process to fit the new “normal” of COVID-19 social distancing. But how can you bring such a complex experience online, without losing the personal, personalized connection?  

It’s simple. Start by asking yourself, “So What?” 

The “So What?” Test is a process I often take my independent school clients through to help them understand the true purpose of their storytelling and marketing tactics and ensure their efforts connect to an audience need or interest.

“So what does this mean for the audience? Why would they care about this? What’s in it for them? What outcome does this provide for their children or family? So what?”

[Download a free “So What?” Worksheet to help you through this process.]

One of my schools recently did this for each stage of their traditional admissions process. “So what does each stage actually achieve? What is the outcome we want our dream families to experience at each moment in time?”  

Once you know the “So What?” behind your admissions process, you are better equipped to select the best tactics to achieve those outcomes online. 

So far my clients have been pretty resourceful, connecting with their current and prospective families through: 

  • A video introduction from the Director of Admissions in her home office, bringing a more human element to the online process.

  • A virtual tour of campus, provided via Zoom video conferencing so that it can be personalized to the families’ needs and interests.

  • A pop-up chat tool (for example, LiveChat or Olark) that allows prospective families to immediately connect with the school.

  • Live chats, webinars, Facebook Live events, and Q&A sessions -- with the admissions team, current students, faculty, etc. -- provided at flexible times to meet families’ needs.

  • Free resources, like blog posts, ebooks and videos, designed to address families’ pressing challenges during this time.  

The key is to select tactics that bring your school story to life and meet the needs of your dream families throughout their decision-making process. 

Have additional ideas for bringing your admissions process online? Tweet us @enrollmentorg and @emilycretella

About the Author

Emily Cretella

Emily Cretella is an EMA featured expert, strategic storyteller, content marketer, and school marketer’s best business friend. The owner of Cursive Content, Emily helps school marketers tell powerful stories that attract dream families, increase inquiries and enrollment, strengthen communities, and grow school influence.

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