“If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.” This is a quote from Alice in Wonderland, and while it wasn’t directed at independent schools, it certainly has meaning in thinking about independent school enrollment efforts.
Independent schools do not have the luxury of taking any road to meet admission and enrollment goals. Clarity, direction, and focus are essential in setting goals that will support a successful admission and enrollment management effort. And in order to have the school community contribute to enrollment success, it is important for them to understand the goals supporting the plan.
The Baker Group provides insights to the Head of School, key administrators, and the Admission Office team into effective enrollment management practices and the ways schools can move forward with an Enrollment Management Action Plan. The Baker Group helps schools shift community thinking around enrollment and underscores the critical role everyone plays in reaching enrollment goals, by integrating research, admissions practices, financial aid strategies, retention, and marketing. The result of The Baker Group’s services is development of a road map to guide school composition and sustainability decisions.
The Baker Group Edge
Through a comprehensive collection of data and collaborating with school leaders, we assess your school’s culture, priorities, and challenges, and synthesize our findings to bring clarity to the admission and enrollment issues at hand.
Our findings guide a school as it shifts the mindset from an operational admissions focus to a collaborative and strategic enrollment practice. While respecting a school’s uniqueness and good practices, we provide EM solutions and action steps to address areas needing attention.
Our work is delivered with candor, authenticity, and a deep appreciation of the value of an independent school education.
What you can expect:
Our projects begin with the collection of admission and enrollment data, marketing materials, the enrollment management budget, and office staffing. These materials are supplemented by a survey of the school’s internal community. We assess the school’s current admission operation, consider the relevant economic, demographic, and education trends, and determine the school’s current and potential new markets. Our electronic surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews provide an effective means to gather “directional” feedback from internal and external constituents.
We offer a satisfaction analysis that includes surveying current and past parents, students, alumni, and faculty. Analyzing attitudinal feedback plays a critical role not only in more fully understanding a school’s enrollment picture, but also in viewing an institution’s strengths and weaknesses through an enrollment management lens. The quantitative research allows school leaders to compare constituent satisfaction levels and the strength of a school’s programs, and can bring clarity not only to how the school is regarded by its own families, but also how the school is perceived in the broader market.
Our recommendations are designed to assist school leaders in framing how, by using the media and its improved understanding of their markets, it can plan effectively for the future. Given the market challenges for full-pay families and shifts in admission activity and enrollment, our research informs immediate tactical adjustments and long-term strategic direction.