Blanca at The Circle School has been using Regpack since 2013 and is a true Regpack pro!
The Circle School has 9 weeks of summer camp courses they offer to their community each year.
Below is my conversation with Blanca about the history of The Circle School and how Regpack makes managing their registration easy!
Tell me about the Circle School and your role there.
The Circle School has been around since 1965. We are a small, family co-op school that we run year round. During the summer, we offer summer programs to our Circle School families and families outside of the school.
When I started at the school in the late 1990’s, we only had 35 students during the school year. For our summer programs, we just had 4 different theater camps.
What was is that had you moving your process from paper to an online registration solution?
Around 10 years after I had been with the Circle School, the school had grown by a lot. At that point, we redesigned our summer programs. This was before emails and websites were popular, and everything was on paper! I remember making the first directory with email addresses on it and some families didn’t have them, so that was fun!
I had a little ledger for summer, with information on who paid, who canceled, refunds, calling the next person on the waitlist, or classes that went unfilled. There just wasn’t enough time to just go and easily move students around or give refunds, or anything.
I can’t remember what we used before Regpack, but I do remember it was very complicated. I always had to have a super tech savvy person set it up for me and rely on that person to help me out. After Regpack was set up, it took me a while to learn how to use it but now I feel like I can get all the benefits out of it.
What was it about Regpack that sold you? What features were you looking for in a registration software?
I was specifically looking for online payments. We have a lot of offerings during the summer. Our program runs for 9 weeks, but each week I usually have 6 offerings of things that parents can sign up for. So our program is complicated.
I like having the ability to give our parents diverse options, and having them be able to have a flexible schedule so they can sign up for just a morning or afternoon class, or sign up for extended care.
I was looking for something that could accommodate the amount of offerings we have. And so many products couldn’t. So I looked at summer camp software, I tried all these different things but they just weren’t able to handle the complexity of what i was wanting to offer our parents.
So we wanted something to handle our complex offerings and that could also handle online payments were the biggest factors.
Every year, Regpack has surprised me with something new that they offer. Last year it was the waitlist feature, which was really helpful giving parents the option to sign up for a waitlist and if a space came open, being able to contact other families to fill that space so I wasn’t losing any income.
Recently we were able to do partial payments and payment plans, and that helps my clientele a lot so that they aren’t paying all up front for a summer program and can make payments for it. And I don’t’ have to go micromanage that. I set it up at the beginning of the year and I don’t have to go back and manage it, the payments just show up.
I also love that we had a dedicated Regpack contact during our build process. Edgar was the first person I talked to at Regpack and he was awesome right away. He was patient with me as I was trying to figure everything out.
Then I got a dedicated person committed to my project, making sure it was ready to go before it went public. And after that, the customer support has always been great.
How are the email templates that you have set up in Regpack helpful for you in managing your programs and registration?
It’s really great when a camp instructor or teacher says, for example, I forgot to tell all the parents that they need to bring a white T-shirt on the first day of class.
Using filters and targeting just the parents of that class is amazing.
You have your system setup to have parents pay the credit card processing fees. Was this ability important for you when looking for a system?
It was one of the first things I asked when we started – Are we able to pass the fees along to our parents?
Parents still have the option and give me cash or a check so they can avoid those fees, but for the most part parents just want to make sure they get their kids in the class, and they want to pay immediately so they don’t have to worry about it.
Parents are willing to pay the fee, and for us we appreciate that we don’t have to worry about that expense and that we have full classes faster.
Would you recommend Regpack, and if so why?
Regpack is very adaptable to however you want to design your program.
Enrollment is greatly affected by having an online option for families. That is what they are looking for. If you give them anything else or make it more complicated, they will go to another program. Having an online option that immediately closes your classes is invaluable.
Finally, I really do appreciate the customer support that I get from Regpack.