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How to Increase Admissions in School in India: A Comprehensive Guide

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According to the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) report 2019-20, Indian schools taught 256 million students, 4.2 million more than the previous year.

At all the levels above primary, school enrollment increased which shows a positive sign when it comes to the ability of the system to retain students over time.

In such a scenario, it’s easy to assume all schools would do well. But in reality, that’s not the case.

While we see many private schools experiencing enrollment growth year after year, there are hundreds slipping into decline.

The truth is just starting a school isn’t going to bring the students/parents running for enrollment when there are thousands of reputed schools out there.

It’s time to revamp the admission strategy for schools in India and adopt proactive measures to deal with the ever-increasing number of school-going children.

How to Increase Student Enrollment at Your School?
There are many strategies to help enroll more students in school from putting up hoardings across the city to renovating the school to garner the attention of parents. Here are 6 best strategies your school can try out to increase enrollments:

(I) Let The Quality of Education Speak for Itself
One of the biggest factors that matter when parents are looking for schools for their child is the quality of education. Are they assured that their child will be able to learn the concepts and not cram them? Are they sure if their child will come out of that school having learned holistically?

Quality of Education

Here are some tips that will help schools answer positively to these questions:
1. A good student-teacher ratio
When it comes to higher education, India has a 24:1 student-teacher ratio which is far behind countries like Sweden (12:1) and Canada (9:1). A good student-teacher ratio assures the parents that the teacher can take care of everyone in a class and give equal attention. It is of the utmost importance when a child is just opening the doors of education and needs proper attention to ensure he learns and retains the knowledge. This retention of basic concepts also affects the state of the child’s learning as he moves towards higher education which is why a good student-teacher ratio is crucial when it comes to education.

2. Making use of the latest technology
There’s a rise in digital adoption when it comes to the education sector. The pandemic has even encouraged this shift when children started learning concepts like gravity, chemical reactions, and even difficult high-level concepts like kinematics through videos. While there’s an ever-increasing need for schools to have computers, the internet, and video conferencing, the sad reality is in India only 39% of schools have access to even computers.

3. Holistic development
The adage “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” holds true in this age. With increasing competition, good grades no longer cut it. A school that is successful in not only imparting high-level education but also developing the child in areas of sports, art, and culture is the need of the hour. For that, the school should conduct annual social functions, daily fitness sessions, weekly dance or art sessions.

4. Quality of teaching
Having great technology and a good student-teacher ratio is great. But will it matter if the quality of teaching is poor? Schools need to have a strict recruiting process that considers not just the teacher’s degree but also their teaching skills and participation in various research papers and publications. Schools can also organize an annual session where teachers are kept updated on the changes in the edtech sector, different ways of teaching, and so on.

5. Student counseling
Not all students learn in similar ways and not everyone’s growing environment is the same. It’s so important for schools to recognize this and provide psychological counseling that students can turn to when they feel too stressed or are undergoing a difficult situation. This could be tweaked to weekly sessions where the counselor can listen to students’ struggles and suggest approaches to deal with the same, followed by meditation, mindfulness practice, etc.

(II) Modernize The Infrastructure
Studies prove that the quality of school infrastructure has a significant effect on drop-out rates and school attendance. Think about it. Wouldn’t a parent be more likely to send their child to a school that is newly renovated, has Smart TVs for better learning and hygiene maintenance to ensure their child doesn’t get infected?

Modernize the Infrastructure

Here are some ways schools can modernize their infrastructure:

1. Have a well-equipped library
This doesn’t just include books. Today’s libraries should consist of various video faculties where students can learn different concepts through simulation. This encourages the students towards self-learning and exploration, which could be essential in their growing years when curiosity to learn things is at an all-time high. A well-equipped library can also be a great place for students to hold interactive sessions and exchange knowledge with their peers.

2. Sports facilities
With more and more diseases and illnesses on the rise, staying fit and healthy is the key. A school that doesn’t have an adequate playground where children can play, and access other sports activities like swimming, tennis, skating and basketball court can tarnish reputation easily. On the other hand, if a student does have adequate sports facilities, parents wouldn’t have to go through the hassle of enlisting their children in sports activities outside of the school.

3. Investing in Smart TVs
There are many informative videos, TV series, and documentaries that are being made today. Students would be better able to learn and understand concepts with the help of smart TVs in classrooms. And what’s more? It would act as a fun learning experience for them. And did you know? Children can learn a lot by just watching cartoons as well. They learn essential communication skills and develop confidence due to it. Replace these cartoons with informational videos and think about the benefits they could bring to children.

4. Science laboratories
Fully-equipped and well-designed laboratories can be a great way for students to carry out physics, biology, and chemistry experiments and learn by practice. These practicals could be conducted in conjunction with the theory lectures and increase the probability of children understanding difficult science concepts.

5. Comfortable seating and ventilated classrooms
Children spend most of their school hours in the classrooms, and thus, these classrooms should be well ventilated and have comfortable seating. Studies have shown that students perform better when fresh air was properly circulated in the classroom.

LEAD Teacher

(III) Leverage the digital channels
Strategically planned school marketing can boost the student admission rate.

Digital Channels

Here are four digital channels you can leverage for the same:

1. Create a great website experience
Just having a website isn’t enough. It should adhere to the design standards of today and have compelling content as well. For example, just a small content on introduction to your school won’t cut it. You need to showcase why your school is different from the others, the achievements you have managed to garner, the level of education you offer, and so on. You might need to redesign your entire website if it’s outdated or isn’t mobile-friendly. Wondering why? Because 52.2% of all website traffic is generated from mobile phones. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, visitors will bounce off to your competitors’ sites.

2. Start a blog
Did you know that businesses that blog get 55% more website visitors than businesses that don’t? Why is this the case? Because blogs are a great way to portray your expertise and get discovered by new audiences. For example, let’s say you have published an informative article on the topic “How to ensure your child retains 90% of what they learn at school”. Suppose 5 parents read this article and shared it with 5 others. These parents may again reshare it in their circle. Do you see a chain here? This gets more traffic on your blog and results in more enrollment to your school.

3. Have a well-developed search engine strategy
Every school’s search engine strategy should focus on these three aspects: SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Online Review Management, and Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC).

Why is this important, you may ask?

75% of Internet users never scroll past the first page of search results. This means that if you want your school’s website or advertisements to pop up frequently, you’ll need to focus on all the above to improve your search engine ranking.

  • Search Engine Optimization: This consists of a set of practices like keyword research and implementation, writing audience-friendly content, and so on to help a website or piece of content like your school’s blog post rank higher on Google.
  • Online review management: Why would parents put their trust in your school? Your recommendation may be biased. That’s why monitoring and managing online reviews of different parents is so important. It’s a source most of us deem to be reliable and trustworthy.
  • Pay Per Click Advertising: What if you don’t want to spend too much time to get your website on page 1 of Google? Advertisements are a powerful way to help generate more awareness and bring more traffic to your school’s website.

4. Have a presence on social media
If there’s something that all parents must be using today, it’s social media. Not to have a presence there would be missing a golden opportunity. Just a single viral social media post could help your school reach more parents and thus help increase admissions. Make sure to regularly update these accounts and stay connected with your audience.

Recommended Download: A Comprehensive Guide to School Marketing

(IV) Get the words going in your city/town
Just a digital marketing strategy wouldn’t be enough. You have to target parents who might not be making use of social media or aren’t accustomed to the different digital channels yet.

word of mouth

Here’s a list of several offline marketing steps you can inculcate for this group of people:

1. Hoardings/banners at relevant places
If there’s one form of advertisement that will never grow old, it’s this one. People stuck in traffic jams or walking through certain places are bound to take notice of these banners. The retention rate of these adverts is also often high which means that putting it up at places where parents are bound to read them can work wonders for your school. Some of these places can be road intersections, kindergartens, playhouses, and so on.

2. Ads in local newspapers
You can target a certain demographic with this offline marketing strategy. For example, if your school is in a certain area, it would make more sense to publish your advert in just the newspapers that are popular in that area/town. You can even choose to print these adverts in the local language and English both to cater to all kinds of audiences living in the said demographic.

3. Reporting of school activities to print media
Did someone from your school get selected in a national-level tournament? Did you host an annual function that was loved by the parents and all the guests? Did you host a defense workshop for all the children present in a certain grade? All of these activities could turn into promotions for your school if you publish them in print media. When your school’s name starts coming up in various newspapers and publications often in the form of the events organized and achievements garnered, awareness may grow and this brand recall will help motivate future enrollments.

4. Teaming up with coaching centers
Coaching centers are where most of the students go, next to schools. You could team up with them for your offline school marketing. You could ask them to put up your banners or distribute pamphlets to parents when they come in for admissions. In return, you could invite one of their faculties to take up a lecture or seminar in your school and subtly market their centers. This could be a win-win for both.

(V) Connect with parents of existing students

This can be a goldmine when it comes to marketing your school. By connecting with the parents of existing students and providing a good experience, you can trigger the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

How effective can it be?

A study says that 90% of people trust and believe in brand recommendations from friends, which is 20% more than those who believe in general consumer opinion.

Here are five ways a school can help build connections with parents:

1. Set the tone for the entire year
Have a parent-teacher meeting at the start of the year. Encourage the teacher to share information about themselves and what they have planned for the year. Allow the parents to voice their recommendations and suggestions. This sets the tone for an open exchange of ideas and discussions for the entire year which in turn helps build a better connection between the parents and the teacher.

2. Share school experiences
So many times, when the parent asks their child, “How was your day at school?”, the only response they receive is, “Fine!” When teachers go out of their way to tell parents the experiences their children are having at school, it bridges the missing gap for the parents and helps them stay updated. Teachers could do this by asking students to contribute to a weekly or monthly newspaper by sharing their experiences in the form of essays, poems, or even art.

3. Aim for personalization
Not every parent might have the same requirement. In such a scenario, you can ask the teacher to hold a personal session for every set of parents spanning over a month or two months. Here parents and teachers could talk about the child’s strengths and weaknesses, what type of support system the child has at home, what changes can be made in their daily routine, and so on. This helps build a strong connection with the parents and when parents are assured that the school is motivated to see to the child’s progress as much as they are, these experiences can trigger word-of-mouth easily.

4. Share positives as well
It’s common for parents to receive communication only when the child makes a mistake or to inform on daily updates such as homework assignments, upcoming activities and events, and so on. In such a scenario, parents start dreading that call home because they expect bad things only. By sharing positives as well, like calling or emailing the parents when their child is exceptionally helpful in class or does a great job at a particular subject, can do wonders for the teacher-parent relationship. The parents would also be more likely to pay attention to the teacher when an issue pops up.

5. Create shareable content for parents
The best way to boost word-of-mouth marketing is to create content that the parents would love to share with their family or on social media. For example, teachers could share updates about how children organized an event, a child winning a competition or small contest in class, a child posing as a volunteer to help others out, and so on. Parents would likely share this information and this praise would even go on to encourage children.

Partner with LEAD
LEAD powered schools across India have achieved great success be it in terms of getting high enrollments or delivering a deeply researched curriculum to students.

How can LEAD help boost the enrollment rate?

LEAD is India’s #1 end-to-end academic and marketing solutions provider that enables schools to not only market themselves but devise a rich curriculum that helps in the holistic development of a child.

Our team of experts works to put your school on the map. We leverage different marketing and branding strategies to improve your school’s visibility, enhance organic engagement, and generate leads of interested parents who are looking for a good school for their ward.

LEAD is trusted by 2,000+ schools in India. We consistently work with them to boost their student enrollment rate, unlocking them the growth opportunities to scale and emerge as a reputed institute for quality education.

Here are some of the solutions we offer:

  • LEAD: This solution gets your school access to international standard education and school marketing support, along with other benefits.
  • LEAD Altus: This is the exclusive academic and admissions marketing solution for premier schools.
  • Managed services: From an increase in quality of education to an increase in enrollments and revenue per student, we help you achieve success in every domain.

To know more about how LEAD can help you boost admissions and get a customized solution that generates never-thought-before results, get in touch with us here.

Final words
In today’s age where there are thousands of schools to choose from, you need to excel in all four areas: quality of education, modern infrastructure, right marketing strategies, and building a connection with parents.

With the right approach and testing of different strategies, you can not only boost admissions but create a model where you get more inbound leads and prospects rather than having to go look for them.

Put these tips in action and partner with LEAD to get ready for the upcoming admission year.

Increase student enrollment with LEAD experts by your side: Enquire Now

About the author

Ritu heads the Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing team at LEAD. She has a strong academic and professional background with a PGDM in Marketing and a super specialization in Brand Management from Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad (MICA) . She has extensive experience of working in various roles across many industries and organizations including large MNCs, public sector, leading startups and as an entrepreneur. She is an avid writer and sought-after public speaker on many topics of interest and a passionate trainer for all things marketing and business.

Ritu Jhajharia

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