#1: Continue to Offer Virtual Tours
First and foremost, whether your school is returning to in-person learning, online, or hybrid, don’t stop offering virtual tours! There are still several parents who feel safer utilizing a virtual option to tour your school, and it is crucial to respect these parents’ preferences. You can choose to do pre-recorded tours, live streams, or implement both to give parents various options. Your online school tours should receive the same attention you would give to your in-person ones, and make sure they are updated as protocols change. Additionally, offering both in-person and virtual tours to meet the needs of all families demonstrates a level of inclusivity at your school—a differentiating factor for many prospective families.
#2: Anticipate Parents’ Questions
Following the unprecedented year of distance learning, school leaders can anticipate more questions than ever from parents. What actions are in place to ensure student health and safety? How did your school handle distance learning last year? How did you ensure student success? How is technology incorporated in the classroom? These questions skim the surface of what might be running through parents’ heads as they prepare to enroll their child in a new school. They will likely have other questions regarding the education, student support, the community, and facilities. Before conducting school tours, generate a list of the most pressing questions parents may have when entering your school. Anticipating what questions they may have prevents you from being caught off guard during the tour, ensuring you answer the most pertinent ones. It brings parents greater peace of mind.
#3: Tailor Your Tour
Each school tour should be slightly different because each student is unique. Whether or not the student is joining the parents, learn more about the student’s interests, needs, personality, and hesitations. By doing so, you can tailor the tour to showcase what is most important to the student. For example, if they are interested in drama, you don’t need to spend 10 minutes talking about and touring your state-of-the-art STEM lab. Instead, spend your time talking about the clubs and classes you have for the arts and showcase the theater where your school performs annual shows. You can still visit all the facilities, but it is wise to plan where you’ll spend your time. There are impactful moments for the student and their family and will create a lasting impression of your school.
#4: Inform and Align Faculty
To ensure a seamless tour, inform all staff of ongoing and upcoming school tours. When faculty is well aligned, it positively reflects the school community to prospective families. Families should be welcomed by the front office to feel prioritized and embraced from the start. Teachers must also be aware of when school tours are going on, especially when there are intentions of shadowing a classroom during certain activities. You don’t want to throw teachers off their game by introducing a prospective family in their class without warning. If families feel comfortable doing so and there is allotted time, introduce the family to a potential teacher for their child’s grade or some other students. Help the family start making connections within the school to immediately establish a sense of community.
#5: Be Confident and Friendly
This might seem to go without saying, but showing confidence is key! Lacking confidence when showing your school to a prospective family sends off the wrong message. If you don’t seem comfortable giving the school tour, why would prospective families assume their child would be comfortable there? Demonstrating friendliness and confidence without sounding arrogant shows parents that your school is a welcoming and enjoyable environment to be a part of. You are in charge of setting the tone for the entire tour, so it is crucial to make sure that tone exudes hospitality.
#6: Leave No Room for Ambiguity
Before you end a tour, make sure the family knows exactly what the next steps are in the enrollment process. Leave no room for ambiguity. This is also the time to create a sense of urgency, so parents have a reason to be called to action. Make sure to follow up the tour with an email or text thanking them and inviting them to complete the next steps. After the tours have gone off without a hitch, the follow-up is pivotal in helping you convert those prospective families into fully enrolled students!
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