If you’ve recently decided to manage your school’s student registration, you might be thinking, “It can’t be that hard, right?”.
Managing student registration on your own takes a lot more work than you may believe. It’s a time consuming job and often takes just as much time as having a secondary, part-time job. This can be taxing if you already wear a few hats, and we’re sure you do!
If you don't have any experience with an online student registration system, it can be overwhelming. What information is required? How will that information get where it needs to go? Is the information secure? Can the parents keep it up to date? These are all questions to ask yourself if you're considering managing student registration.
At FinalForms, we often meet administrators who are curious about why they should purchase an online student registration system. We deeply understand that a good registration system can simplify your life, in fact, that’s why our CEO and Co-Founder, Clay Burnett, started this business! Here’s a list of the pitfalls that “Coach Clay” was experiencing when he was managing paper-based registration for his team:
- Extended Work Hours (especially during peak registration)
- Difficult Communication
- Missing Information
- Data Security
- The Stress of Non-Compliance
1. Extended Work Hours
When you choose to manage student registration, you’re committing to additional hours, and likely a lot of headaches. This means you’ll be spending time calling parents, reading handwritten notes, and chasing students down the halls. Unfortunately, no matter how difficult, the work only ends when every form is complete and signed.
If you don't have an assistant or secretary who is willing to help (and work overtime), these issues can snowball into bigger problems… like disqualifications, misappropriations, and defensive communication. Sound harsh? Well, it is reality. Every year we read about a football player’s missing paperwork resulting in a tournament forfeit and even worse, a school missing out on funding due to incorrect student counts. Those issues turn into public relations and legal nightmares, costing you sleep and your district money.
2. Difficult Communication
Managing your school's student information can be difficult as you have multiple stakeholders and various requirements. While it is possible to call, email, or send letters to parents, students, staff, and coaches it can quickly eat up hours. Most times students, or even staff, will pick up paper forms and bury them in their bag, never to be seen again. Not only do you have to reprint and send out more forms, but you cannot guarantee they’ll find their way back the second time.
Finally, imagine you have to contact parents of the JV football team, or all of the senior girls, or all participants in extracurricular activities with an announcement about a requirement. Can you quickly identify that group, contact appropriate parties, and ensure the requirement is met? Miscommunications make parents mad, create work for coaches, and keep you at work ‘til well after dark.
3. Missing Information
Another downside of managing your own registration system is handling medical information for your students. You'll need to make sure you have these forms up to date and in the right hands at the right time. And, since diagnoses occur throughout the year, you’ll be tasked with ensuring a scribbled note from mom gets to the nurse, the athletic trainer, and the coach. It’s not likely that you’ll be able to complete that loop, especially if something out of the ordinary pops up and takes your attention… and if you fail, a student could suffer the consequences.
Why not leave it up to a trusted system to ensure that correct protocols and procedures are followed? For example, if an athlete on the soccer team has not passed proper concussion protocol and attempts to return to play, every stakeholder knows they haven’t been cleared.
4. Data Security
Using paper forms may seem like a safe and secure way to collect and store data. You might think it's fine locked away in a filing cabinet where only you and your staff have access to it.
However, what happens when a form or information is misplaced and someone now has access to personal information? When that happens, privacy is violated, applicable laws may be broken, and penalties or legal battles may ensue.
To avoid that, try going digital. The best online platforms allow your administrators to properly authorize and notify users, protecting personal information and providing peace of mind to all of your stakeholders.
5. The Stress of Non-Compliance
If your district still runs on paper or a “first generation” registration system, reaching 100% compliance (forms being complete and signed) can be an impossible job. Tasking your staff to work long hours sifting files, sorting spreadsheets, and making copies can be a drain on morale.
As an Administrator, we’re pretty sure you didn’t set out to be a parent-calling, paper-copying, form-duplicating, late-night-working, ball of stress. If this sounds like your life, ditch paper forms and invest in a premier online registration system that can save you time, money, and headaches… and might even elevate your status to being a champion of change in your school!
A few final thoughts...
These are just a fews concerns to consider when deciding if managing registration processes on paper or “as you’ve always done it”. If you’re almost convinced, then take it from Athletic Director and NIAAA Board Member Mike Mossburcker, “Don’t be afraid of change. This will make your life much better”.
If this article has you considering what your other student registration options are, check out our blog When Is It Time to Switch Online Student Registration Software?
Are you wondering how much an online school management costs? We can help you with that too! Check out 11 Cost-Saving Benefits of an Online School Management System to gain more insight.