Is your school spending too much money on paper? Do you find that parents want more payment flexibility and a faster registration process?
These are just some of the signs that it may be time for your school to make the switch from manual registration to online student registration, a much more cost-effective approach.
In this article, we’ll help you determine if and how much this transition to online registration will help your school attract new students, manage enrollment, and save some serious dough.
- You Are Wasting Too Much Money on Paper
- Your Registration Process Is Ineffective
- Parents Are Asking You for Flexible Payments
- Your Documents Are Getting Misplaced or Lost
- You Have No Insight Into the Registration Process
You Are Wasting Too Much Money on Paper
Eliminating the risk of a paper airplane scratching your eyeball isn’t the only reason to reduce the amount of paper your school is using.
A paperless approach to doing business is also more cost-effective than a paper-based one, which involves payments for paper, printing, ink, and labor hours involved in printing, mailing, and organizing paper documents.
According to Helios Ed, a school district with 1,000 employees can save around $280,000 by going paperless:
Source: Helios Ed
If your school is spending too much on paper, an easy way to fix that issue is to switch to online student registration.
This way, students and parents can register using their laptops and mobile devices through an online registration form, which you can easily create with an online form builder that is part of your registration software:
There’s no paper involved, and your customers will appreciate the convenience of the registration process.
When a customer submits the form, the information will go automatically into your school registration software’s database, where you’ll be able to quickly search for applicant details as needed, so no more digging through file cabinets for that student’s application.
Speaking of file cabinets, with all your registration documents stored online, you’ll have fewer of those, and more open space in your office and classroom, which you can fill with whatever you’d like.
Finally, by saving money on paper and the labor involved in managing these paper documents and processes, you’ll have more money to put towards impactful ventures.
Even just 100 dollars per month saved can go a long way.
You can use it to improve the student experience with a new piece of e-learning technology, or boost your school’s marketing efforts to increase enrollment.
Your Registration Process Is Ineffective
Your school’s registration process is not as fast as it could be if parents are still required to fill out registration forms on school grounds or send registration forms through the postal service after filling them out at home.
Not only is it an inconvenience for the parents and students, but it’s also likely to generate more work for your staff.
For instance, there will be times when parents incorrectly fill out a registration form by leaving a necessary field blank or using handwriting that is illegible to anyone except themselves.
In those cases, someone on your school’s staff has to reach out to the parent and get the correct information.
Toss in games of phone tag and missed email messages, and this supposedly simple task can turn quickly into a thankless and frustrating quest.
To avoid this, consider using online registration software, like Regpack, which enables parents or older students to fill out online forms from the comfort of their homes.
Source: Yellowstone Forever
These forms alert parents when they’ve made a mistake, and don’t let them submit it until they’ve fixed the issue.
For example, if two passwords don’t match, the form will call this out for the user and ask them to correct it:
Source: New York School of the Arts
To make things even easier on the applicant, a form wizard guides them through the registration process, making sure they know how to properly perform each step, and telling them which fields are required and which can be skipped.
Some of these online registration tools, like Regpack for instance, also offer conditional logic forms, which adapt to fit the needs of the person filling out the form.
Conditional logic runs on an “if, then” algorithm, showing parents certain form fields only if it pertains to them. This personalizes the experience.
For example, if a parent clicked “no” on the question about whether they needed after-school care, the form won’t show them all the questions related to it. It’ll only show those fields to people who answer “yes”.
In sum, a manual and in-person registration process is cumbersome and error-prone compared to a quick and automated online registration approach facilitated by registration software.
Parents Are Asking You for Flexible Payments
If parents are asking for more ways to pay, but that’s too complex for your school to manage manually, then it’s probably time to switch to online registration.
Online registration software makes it possible for your school to accept and automatically process payments online in a variety of ways, from credit cards and debit cards to ACH bank transfers.
Further, the software enables you to create different payment schedules to offer to the parents.
For example, in the image below, the school’s registration form provides parents with a menu of three different payment schedules to choose from:
Parents can pay in full, in two payments, or in equal monthly installments, which is helpful to parents who need to spread out the cost of your school program to make payment more manageable.
Without software, managing different payment schedules for different parents might be too time-consuming.
It’s hard to manually rack who signed up for what schedule and when each parent’s next payment is due.
Plus, when some parents pay in monthly installments, it’d be time-consuming for your staff to manually collect the funds from them each month.
That’s why registration tools like Regpack offer recurring billing. The system will automatically charge parents at recurring intervals based on their specific payment schedule.
Through the system, you can also set up automated invoices that go out to parents after they’ve been charged.
When you use registration software to offer multiple payment methods and payment schedules, and to automatically collect those payments, you’ll gain time back in your day.
Additionally, your customers will be better able to pay for your service, meaning you’ll increase student enrollment.
Your Documents Are Getting Misplaced or Lost
If your school is spending too much time looking for misplaced documents or dealing with the implications of a lost document, then it’s time to consider online student registration.
Online registration software stores all of your registration documents in a centralized and searchable cloud-based online system, which you can access from any device.
As soon as a customer submits an online registration form, the document is immediately saved in your system. And you can find it with a quick search of the student’s name.
If you need to reference that social media marketing plan your team wrote 2 years ago, you can find that too:
Even those administrators of Hogwarts wizarding school, who simply call a student’s name and have the document fly from the filing cabinet into their hands, would be impressed.
Another beauty of using online databases is that you can access the documents you need while you’re on the go or working from home.
Instead of taking a thirty-minute trip back to the school to grab the student application you need to do your work, you can simply pull it up on your phone or laptop.
Even better, you’ll be able to find that critical document during an interaction with a higher-up, big donor, parent, colleague, or even a prospective student.
For example, if a parent comes into your office, asking if you received their child’s application, you can quickly find the answer.
This makes you, and your school, look competent and organized, two qualities a parent is likely to want the institution educating their child to have.
Lastly, by eliminating the risk of misplaced documents, you’ll also spend less time searching for hard-to-find paperwork.
This is a serious time sink for many workers, considering that, in a study, 53% of surveyed office workers said they devote more time to looking for documents and files they need than answering emails and messages.
If you receive an email from a colleague or a parent, and crafting a good response requires an important document or piece of information, it’s a relief to know that you can find it in seconds inside your cloud-based system.
You Have No Insight Into the Registration Process
Tracking and analyzing your student registration process is a key element of proper enrollment management.
Regular analysis helps you uncover problem areas in your registration process, and identify data-driven strategies to fix those issues.
This helps you improve process efficiency and reduce costs, which is considered the most important reason for conducting a process analysis:
If your school cannot quickly get accurate insights into the process, then that’s a sign that it’s time to switch to online registration software that will collect data and use it to generate reports.
With a proper tool, you can run pre-built reports that help you get answers to tricky questions like, “Which payment methods are failing most often?” or, “What percentage of people who fill out our registration form are actually attending the school event?”
Running a report on these platforms is simple, and can be done at the click of a button.
The tool uses the data you’ve collected in the system to reveal the statistics and metrics you ask it to produce.
For example, if a school wanted to know the source of most of their applicants, they could run a report that’ll produce a pie chart or graph displaying how many applicants come from each marketing channel.
These visualizations help make the data more digestible.
With registration software, you can also create a custom dashboard that tracks important metrics and KPIs that you need to monitor on a daily basis.
There are five indicators that it’s time to switch to online student registration: high paper costs, an inefficient registration process, parents asking for more flexible payment options, misplaced documents, and a lack of insight into your registration process.
An online registration software will help you deal with all these issues, and provide you and your customers with a more streamlined registration experience.
In turn, this boost in customer satisfaction and workplace efficiency will help you reduce costs and increase student enrollment.
For more on managing your school’s enrollment process, check out these 5 powerful student enrollment strategies that will help you attract and retain more students.