In many schools, re-enrollment letters and contracts will soon be distributed to current families. Families re-enrolling in your school should receive the same attention as prospective families.  

Re-enrollment is a critical business transaction, but that doesn’t mean it has to be all business. The reality of today’s independent school market is that parents are shopping even when their children are happy.

Injecting a hefty dose of heartfelt school pride into the re-enrollment process to remind current families of why they love your school – and to show them a little love – is smart, strategic and worth the effort.

Tee up the Re-enrollment Letter.

Send an email to current parents a week before the re-enrollment letters are to be emailed (or mailed) with a message from your Head of School that is all heart. Explain that they will receive their re-enrollment letter shortly and how thrilled the Head is to have them as part of your school community.

This letter could include:

  • A video of school highlights this year. Schools send yield videos to accepted students. Create a re-enrollment video!
  • A link to a  gallery of photos from the fall, recent sports and arts accomplishments, etc. Try a photo-sharing site that allows for easy downloading, like Smugmug.
  • Or any of the testimonial content listed above. A pre-re-enrollment letter is all about sharing the great news of your school.

Re-think the Re-enrollment Letter.

Always lead with a thank-you to current parents for sharing their child with your school, not with a tuition increase or the re-enrollment process. Take a moment to revel in community. 

Pull out the school pride. What about a Top Ten list of student accomplishments from the year, or, if the Head of School is signing it, the Head’s Top Ten favorite moments of the school year? Or, include a few quotes from students and parents about what they love about your school. You could also ask your longest-tenured faculty member to pen 4-5 sentences about why they come back to teach every year and include that as the letter’s opener.

If you have had recent fundraising success, share it briefly as well. Parents love to know that they are sending their child to a school that is in a good place fiscally.

Keep the letter short.  If there are complicated instructions or business details to explain, link them to a separate page. Create a more detailed “How to Re-enroll” landing page on your website that includes clearly marked deadlines, a to-do list or FAQs and an email and phone number for the re-enrollment trouble-shooter.  

Explain in the letter that you will provide the re-enrollment link in every divisional weekly email for the next month. And make it prominent in those weekly emails from division heads to parents.

Follow-up is Key!

Once you ask families to re-enroll, keep the link of how to do it prominently featured in weekly emails. Ask your division heads to mention re-enrollment as well in their weekly newsletter greetings, sharing what they love about their division.

Send an email to current families from a 12th grader who has been a lifer at your school. Include a photo of the student and his/her accomplishments at your school. Be transparent about the reason for the email: “This is the first time in my 14 years at XYZ School that my parents didn’t receive their re-enrollment letter. I graduate this May, and while I am happy to be going to XYZ College, here is what I have loved about being a student here…”

This is the time of year to have your Head of School and senior administrators out in the carpool lines greeting families. If your school experiences snow and ice, bundle up your leadership team in school-branded hats and mittens and get them in front of parents.

Coordinate with your Communications and Marketing team to ramp up posts and news about student accomplishments. Families, current and prospective, will be visiting your website frequently and should see updated news items that focus on student success. Re-purpose earlier content into a “Top Five Student Fall Kudos” or “Recap of our Champions This Year” that showcases any fall and winter sports achievements.

Coordinate with Development, too, to make sure your re-enrollment campaign does not overlap with fundraising appeals to parents.

If you have the time and resources, consider swag in the letter or the pre-letter. It’s not an option for every school and especially those for whom the Admissions Office is coordinating re-enrollment and processing new applications, but a car magnet sent to families can be a wonderful reminder of how much they love the school.

Families “jumping a division” typically see a jump in tuition.  A note from the new division head can go a long way. It can be sent after the re-enrollment letter to welcome them to the next division and share news (photos and videos) about the great things that are happening.

Don’t forget to say thank you. Even if it is an automated email reply, make sure that families receive a heartfelt thanks when they send the deposit.

Woo-ing your current families by rethinking your re-enrollment process and communications with a focus on community building and appreciation goes well beyond the bottom line. You will be helping families engage further with your school, deepening their pride and inspiring them to share it with others.

Need a fresh look at your admissions and enrollment management procedures? Kalix’s team of experts can help! Contact us to start a conversation today. 

Alison Greer is Kalix’s Admissions and Enrollment Management Strategist.

Found value out of this post? Read Alison’s take on managing your expectations for your admissions events:

How to Manage Expectations for a Great Admissions Event