Member Minute: Benchmark Data

Welcome to EMA’s Member Minute where I’ll be teaching you an actionable strategy, tip, trick, or hack to help you meet your enrollment goals and all that in about a minute.

You’re sharing inquiry and app data with your head of school and board on a regular basis and you’re also comparing where you are this year to last year. But if 2020 has taught us anything it’s that comparisons to the past are… hard.

That’s why my colleague Jinghua Liu, EMA’s Chief Testing & Research Officer, recently released two reports - let’s dig in!

First up we have a survey of our members from October regarding inquiries. 86% of boarding schools and 48% of day schools experienced a drop in inquiries compared to last year. But there is some good news. Schools that saw an increase reported families were switching from public schools or moving into the school’s area. These new families might need new outreach: consider creating a virtual reception for real estate agents, or a page on your website demystifying the switch from public to private, or what about a mailer to targeted addresses? That might also be a good way to find these new families.

Next, we have a look at monthly applications through our Standard Application Online tool known as the SAO. This report finds that overall applications are down compared to last year but they are less down today compared to the beginning of the fall. You can also see that international applications are driving much of this decrease. This will likely mean that the admission season is going to be longer as families catch up with the process. So keep up those virtual events and communicate your rolling admissions plans. We’ll keep you posted on these trends with an update to this deck every month.

A special thank you to the hundreds of schools who participated in our surveys - the more schools that join in the better informed we all are - so keep on sharing! If you’re interested in reading either of these reports and downloading the slides you can find them in the Resource section of EMA’s Member Community.

About the Author

Hans Mundahl

Hans Mundahl is the Director of Professional Development at EMA. He has been an educator since 1995 when he first stepped into the classroom as a Fulbright exchange teacher in the former East Germany. Since then Hans has done just about every job possible at an independent school from teacher to administrator. Most recently Hans was the head of school at a K-8 day school in central New Hampshire. Hans’s spare time is usually spent with his family but he is also passionate about the outdoors and protecting the environment.

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