Traditionally, the student enrollment process has frustrated parents—particularly if they have several kids.
Parents must fill out a seemingly never-ending pile of forms and jump through hoops just to enroll their kids in school, ensure they’re eligible to play sports, and give them permission to leave school grounds on field trips, among other things.
Some of these forms are time-sensitive which presents another challenge. Fingers crossed that the parent knows that the relevant form is required and turns it in on time, otherwise their child might not be eligible to participate in a certain program or—even worse for the district—the child goes on a school trip and the parents have no idea where their child is.
Activities that require payments can be especially tricky. Parents often have to trust their kids to keep track of paper checks and hand them in to the appropriate school administrator, which can be a tall order.
The good news is that, by updating your district’s form distribution and collection policies and investing in modern enrollment technology, it’s possible to optimize the student enrollment process considerably. As a result, you can create better experiences for parents while making it that much easier to achieve 100 percent form compliance.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at seven ways your district can enhance the student enrollment process:
1. Communicate Early and Often
There’s no rule that says your district needs to wait until the school year starts—or until a sports season starts—to begin the process of getting forms signed.
To accelerate form collection, communicate with parents early and often, letting them know what to expect during the upcoming year and encouraging them to get forms out of the way as soon as possible. When it’s getting close to crunch time, remind the parents that still need to take action, but don’t bother those that already have!
2. Use a Digital System for Forms
In the age of mobile devices, Facebook, and Amazon, parents are increasingly comfortable doing things online. If your district is still relying on paper forms, it may be time to upgrade to a modern platform that lets you bring the form distribution and collection process online.
By doing so, you’ll give parents the convenience they’ve grown to expect in other areas of their lives—such as banking, bill paying, and shopping—to the student enrollment process.
3. Ensure Parents Have Access to Real-Time Data
With the right digital solution in place, it’s possible to provide parents with real-time data that eliminates duplicated work and removes second-guessing from the equation. A quick glance at the system can give parents the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the appropriate forms are in.
4. Set Up Automatic Reminders
If you begin the enrollment process during the summer, some parents will get their forms in early, but others will see that they have plenty of time and opt to procrastinate.
Make sure they don’t forget by using automatic email reminders to gently nudge them at regular intervals until their forms are in. With modern tools in place, you won’t have to do any heavy lifting to send out these reminders—the technology takes care of it for you.
5. Automate Fee Collection Online
A modern enrollment system enables you to take fee collection online, giving parents the tools they need to make payments the same way they would on any other platform.
As a result, checks don’t get misplaced and the district doesn’t have to make trips to the bank to cash them. Plus, it gives your district a whole new cash flow overnight!
6. Account for Families with Several Kids
One of the biggest sources of frustration with enrollment can be found in families that have several kids. In many cases, parents need to fill out form after form, copying the same information over and over again. Leading online enrollment systems address this by enabling parents to copy information from file to file so they don’t have to fill out several forms.
7. Train Parents and Students on Your New System
A bit of a learning curve comes with new technologies—even the most intuitive systems.
As you move to a modern enrollment system, consider hosting training sessions and make sure that ample support resources are available so that parents, students, and staff alike can become immediately productive on the new platform.
Is It Time to Upgrade Your Student Enrollment Process?
If your district has been enrolling students the same way for years, it’s time to take a hard look at your student enrollment process to see how you can improve it and bring it into the 21st century.
With the right tools in place, you can bring more convenience, efficiency, and security to the educational experience, delighting parents and students while reducing district liability and ensuring compliance. At the same time, a new system can also help administrators reclaim time that they can then invest in other areas of operations, improving the educational experience even more.
Schedule a demo today to see how your district can use FinalForms to improve the enrollment process for parents, delivering more value to taxpayers along the way.