School and auxiliary program directors are implementing software to give their students and parents the ability to register and pay online from their devices.
By making the switch, schools reduce paper and printing costs, prevent lost documents, simplify applicant tracking, gain insight into the registration process, and capture the many other benefits that we’ll discuss in this article.
Read on to learn the reasons why your school or educational program should consider offering an online registration process.
- Cuts the Costs of Paper and Printing
- Streamlines the Registration Process
- Makes It Possible to Accept Payments Online
- Simplifies the Process of Tracking Registrations
- Makes Information Accessible From Anywhere
- Eliminates the Risk of Losing Documents
- Provides Insights Into the Registration Process
Cuts the Costs of Paper and Printing
The average school spends far too much on paper.
According to the NYC government, their school district of 10,000 students spends at least $200,000 annually on paper, and that number doesn’t even account for the expensive printing costs.
So it makes sense to try to cut paper use where you can. One place to start is with registrations, which can easily be made paperless using registration software.
When you rely on software solutions to register your students, there are no expenses for paper, printing, ink, materials, and mailing.
Your employees’ time is also put to much better use than having to wade through mountains of paperwork at enrollment time.
When you choose online registration, you can send students a link to a digital registration form instead of mailing them a physical form that you had to print out.
These forms are easy to build in your dedicated registration tool’s drag-and-drop editor. Here’s what it looks like with our own solution, Regpack:
The funds that you save can then go toward making your school a better place for the students who do decide to enroll.
Or you can use them to develop strategies that help you further increase student enrollment.
As an added benefit of using online registration, you’ll also become a more sustainable school, something that millennial parents value in their providers.
A Nielsen poll reveals that as many as 75% of millennials are so mindful of environmental issues so much that they’ll actually alter their buying habits to favor eco-friendly products.
Your sustainability, therefore, not only bolsters your profits, but also your school’s public image, not to mention the health of good old planet Earth.
For more on going paperless, check out our article on paperless student enrollment, where we give you six ways it will help your school.
Streamlines the Registration Process
With online registration, students and parents can use their phones or computers to register from any location, provided they can access the internet.
And thanks to registration software, the process is simple and fast.
Online registration software guides them through the entire process, making it easy for students and parents to fill out a registration form with all the required information.
The software will prompt them to fill in certain details and alert them to possible errors or steps that they still need to complete.
Customers won’t be able to submit the form until the errors are fixed.
Usually, the software will do this by highlighting the relevant sections in red:
Source: Yellowstone Forever
This is much better than a paper form, which a student might fill out and send only to have it returned to them so they can make the necessary corrections, thus delaying the process.
With online forms, if the customer makes a mistake and leaves the @ out of their email address, the form will catch the error and tell them what they need to fix.
Many online registration software tools, such as Regpack, also offer conditional logic, which gives each customer a personalized experience when filling out their form.
Using if-then rules, conditional logic controls which form fields the customer sees, determining what to show them and what not to show them based on the customer’s previous answers.
For example, the form might ask the parent to select yes or no for the question: “Has your child attended this camp before?”
If the parent answers “yes”, the form gives them a sliding scale and asks them to rank the experience from 1-10. If the parent says “no”, the form moves on to the next question.
Therefore, fields that do not pertain to the customer are hidden, and this avoids confusion and saves them precious time.
Lastly, streamlining registration reduces your team’s workload as well. Instead of filling out forms for customers or mailing registration forms out to them, you can let it all happen automatically online and behind the scenes.
Makes It Possible to Accept Payments Online
Online registration software enables parents and children to pay online through a secure payment form with a variety of payment methods—credit, debit, ACH, etc.
This is important if you require students to pay a registration fee.
Using your software, you can create a custom payment form that’s mobile-adaptive, and then embed it directly on your school website or integrate it with your registration form.
This way, students or parents won’t be redirected to another website to pay, which can cause their stranger danger alarm to go off.
Be sure to use registration software that’s PCI-compliant, meaning they adhere to security best practices set out by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council.
This ensures that your customers’ financial data is protected from hackers and identity thieves.
Because people are paying online, this also makes payment collection a lot easier for you and your staff.
For example, you don’t have to call parents, write down their card information, and process the payment. It all occurs automatically through the software.
In sum, accepting payments online through registration software allows parents and students to sign up and pay through their computer or mobile device, hence making the entire process more convenient for them and your team.
Simplifies the Process of Tracking Registrations
Online registration software provides an overview of all registrations and makes it possible to track the real-time status of each student’s application.
With a few clicks, you can identify which stage an application is currently in, what actions the student or staff still needs to take to push it to the next stage, and other helpful information.
Software like Regpack (shown above) simplifies the registration tracking process, which can be difficult to accomplish when you have to do it manually.
Knowing how many applications you have in different stages of the process will help you better plan your workweek.
For example, if you use the software to filter for applications in the review stage, and you find that there are still 20 that have unread essays, you can schedule 4 essay reviews per day into your week’s calendar.
Registration tracking will also help you provide updates and time estimates to your customers when they ask for them.
For instance, if you were attending a school marketing event and a prospective student asked you if you’d received their application, you could quickly find the answer on your registration software platform.
Furthermore, tracking the data your students submit through the form will also be easy to manage.
Phone numbers, email addresses, and other details they put in the online form will go directly into your database for later use, like for running email marketing campaigns.
Some software will even allow you to set up trigger-based automations, such as emails, that happen when a student submits an online registration form, or in the case below, forgets to finish filling it out:
In sum, online registration software can help you track applicants, see where the students are in the process, and create automations that trigger certain actions when applicants reach a defined stage in the process.
Makes Information Accessible From Anywhere
Online registration software makes student and parent information accessible from any location, on any device with internet connection. It’s all stored in a secure, searchable, filterable database.
As a result, those responsible for managing student registrations can easily search for, find, and access the information they need.
Access to data has many use cases. One of the most powerful is how it allows you to prepare for your interactions with your customers.
For example, If you have an upcoming meeting with a parent to discuss their child’s application, you can easily pull up the family’s information to prepare for the discussion:
You’ll be able to review not only their application status and demographic information, but also any past transactions and email exchanges they’ve had with your school.
Knowing about their situation will help you personalize the conversation and help you more quickly get what they need.
You won’t have to ask them a bunch of familiar questions that they answered earlier in the relationship with your brand.
Another use-case of access to data is that you’ll be able to keep a finger on the pulse of the various processes, from registration to enrollment to student attendance.
By setting up a custom dashboard, which shows you the numbers and metrics you need to track daily, you’ll always be informed and capable of making data-driven decisions.
Additionally, you’ll be able to access this critical data from your phone. This comes in handy when you’re outside of the office.
Eliminates the Risk of Losing Documents
In terms of lost time and frustration, the cost of misplacing just one important document is large enough to warrant a shift to online, cloud-based document storage.
Hours that could’ve been put to critical tasks are instead spent searching for the document, forgiving the customer for the inconvenience, and creating and filling out a replacement document.
Online registration software prevents this event from happening.
Platforms automatically store all information in the cloud, where that information is backed up and can be immediately recovered if something happens.
In addition to removing the risk of lost documents, finding the documents you need to do your job effectively becomes easier as well.
When you need a specific document, all you have to do is search for it within the database and it’ll come up.
If you can’t remember its name, you can search for the student or parent to whom the document is attached and find it that way.
Also, since you can access the documents from your phone, you can pull up important ones on the go.
This is much more cost-effective than driving back to the office to retrieve the document from a filing cabinet.
As a final consideration, it’s nice to know that all your critical business and customer information is stored securely, out of harm’s reach, and that it’s not going to disappear because of some technical or human error.
Provides Insights Into the Registration Process
Industry intuition is powerful, but it’s not the only thing that should be driving your decision-making regarding your business. Data and technology are also valuable resources.
By using online registration software, for instance, you can generate reports using data stored within the database.
And the intel from these reports can help you evaluate your registration process, spot problem areas, and make informed decisions on how to improve it.
Reports also help you get accurate answers to difficult questions that are holding you back from making a decision.
Need to know the average percentage of students attending the class, for example? Run an attendance report:
For another example, let’s pretend a program manager at a school was trying to figure out which marketing channel was most effective at driving registrations,
If the registration forms ask “Where did you hear about us?”, the manager could run a report to figure out the most common answer—the most effective channel.
In this report, they might also find something they weren’t expecting, like that their TikTok marketing had led to zero new registrees over the last six months.
The manager can then use this intel to make better school marketing decisions about which channels to use and how to distribute the marketing budget.
Reports can also be used to discover the effectiveness of your online registration forms, which payment types fail most often, and other useful information that’ll help you enhance the process.
Online student registration offers schools and educational programs a wide array of benefits, including making it easier to evaluate your registration process, cutting costs associated with paper-based registration, and creating a more secure document storage system.
Making the switch will allow your team to spend more money and time on initiatives that attract students to your program and enhance their experience when there.