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Is Your Elementary Enrollment Form Converting?


an educator working on enrollment forms

Public school enrollment has declined in recent years and is projected to continue decreasing through 2030. While the COVID-19 pandemic certainly drove much of this trend, the projection suggests the reasons are more complex than people wanting to avoid disease or mask mandates.


One way to combat this decline is to make the enrollment process as easy as possible for families. Enrollment forms are only one piece of the process, but they are among the most important. They may be a family’s first real interaction with your school, and a positive experience will benefit everyone.


Fortunately, you have options for making your elementary enrollment forms convert, and data can help. Let’s dig into the problems and their solutions and outline how analytic tools can support your efforts.


Obstacles to Elementary School Registration


Today’s families are busy. Often, the obstacles to enrollment in elementary schools have nothing to do with enrollment forms, and school districts must accept the limits to their influence.


At the same time, a visible and simple online process is one thing you can control. Further, it’s something families now expect as digital consumers.


First, we’ll look at the external challenges you can’t control. Understanding these factors may inform what sort of data you look for when improving your enrollment process. Then we’ll move on to the specific internal ways you might be making enrollment harder.


External Obstacles to Enrollment


These challenges existed before COVID-19, but the pandemic certainly made them worse. Many can be traced back to a parental job loss:

  • Homelessness. Without a permanent residence, a student doesn’t technically have a school district. Getting enrolled probably isn’t the family’s top priority.

  • Moving to a more affordable area. Students who attended your school in previous years may have left the area, or even the state, for cheaper housing or to move in with extended family.

  • Broken habits. Disruptions to employment, income, schedules, housing, and overall routine make it more likely for something like an elementary enrollment form to fall through the cracks, even if a family plans to attend as usual.

  • Limited access to devices. Living in a car or shelter means limited or no internet access, thereby making it much harder for student families to access a form.

  • Dropping out of the system. After the trauma of income and possibly home loss, some families simply disappear from the school system altogether.

Internal Obstacles to Enrollment


As heartbreaking as the above reasons are, there is only so much you can do about them. However, awareness for your internal obstacles can make them more obvious, understandable, and addressable:

  • Hard-to-find website. If parents, especially those new to your area, can’t find your site, they’re less likely to enroll.

  • Poor site navigation. If the enrollment form, or any page related to the enrollment process, is buried within other sections of the site, families may give up on trying to find it.

  • Complex form-fill process. Could your elementary enrollment form easily be filled in on a mobile phone? Tedious fields, multiple pages, drop-down menus with limited options, and other complexities might lead to errors or someone stopping the process altogether.

  • Lack of responsiveness. Lots of parents use a mobile device as their primary computer. If they have to pinch or widen the screen to complete the form, they’re more likely to make errors or quit.

  • Language barriers. Not being able to read the form is a huge obstacle. If yours isn’t easily translatable into the various languages spoken by students’ families, they may not even realize what the enrollment form is or its importance.

  • Sensitive data requirements. No one likes to offer sensitive information without a clear, good reason, especially over the internet. Requiring health history, or other highly personal, important information may be a deterrent for some families.

  • Lack of awareness. Some parents might be unaware that they must complete an enrollment form annually, particularly if it’s for a school their child already attends.

RELATED: Using Data to Achieve Greater Academic Success in Schools

A visible and simple online process is one thing you can control. Further, it’s something families now expect as digital consumers.

an educator discussing enrollment forms with a student's family

Get a Completed Form — From Every Student, at Every Grade Level


Increasing enrollment in elementary schools starts before students and their families open the forms themselves. Taking the following steps makes it more likely that students will enroll and be in the classroom all year long.


As a bonus, these improvements can also reduce phone calls, questions, and incomplete forms coming into the district and school buildings, which streamlines work for administrative employees.


1. Analyze and Improve the Form Internally


Look at district and student data to know whom you’re trying to reach, and adjust your elementary enrollment form accordingly.

The form should:

  • Be obviously located on the website.

  • Be easy to navigate with clear labeling and instructions, left alignment, and responsiveness for all devices.

  • Auto-fill any repetitive information, such as addresses and phone numbers.

  • Assure users that their information is private and secure.

  • Provide guidance, such as why certain information is important and where to find it, as well as contact info for tech support.

  • Translate quickly into all languages known to be spoken in your district.

  • Allow easy attachment of relevant documents, such as proof of residency.

  • Be able to save, close, and continue later.

  • End with a clear statement of what families can expect next, including whom they’ll hear from and approximately when.

  • Include phone and email contact information, and links to any relevant pages.

As a bonus, these improvements can also reduce phone calls, questions, and incomplete forms coming into the district and school buildings, which streamlines work for administrative employees.

2. Get the Word Out About the Right Form


Use snail mail, email, video, social media, and event announcements to communicate the importance of completing the enrollment form. Emphasize how this form is distinguished from other ones and make the link and paper copies readily available.


If you’re concerned about your website being difficult to find, talk to your team about ramping up your search engine optimization (SEO) to increase visibility. You can also make sure your school site has a Google Business Profile.


3. Monitor Form Fills and Remind Families of Deadlines


As forms come in, watch for problems families may have encountered. Did they select proper options from drop-down menus? Were certain “optional” fields often left blank? Did they seem to misunderstand specific information requirements?


In the weeks before the enrollment deadline, continue using communication channels to remind families how important it is to complete their students’ forms.


4. Use Data Analysis to Understand and Improve


After the enrollment period, analyze the process using data from your own building, district, and state to compare your enrollment with peer data. You could also consider surveying families to discover what problems they encountered.


Eidex Can Help


Eidex designs our software to be flexible, allowing you to explore specific data with varying granularity. Whether you want to compare peer enrollment, schools of choice, or look at broader information on schools, we work to make the process simple, intuitive, and engaging.


RELATED: Take Control of Your School Budgeting Process With Data

Whether you want to compare peer enrollment, schools of choice, or look at broader information on schools, we work to make the process simple, intuitive, and engaging.

Eidex Shares Your Goals for Enrollment and Education


Eidex is a team of experienced educators who share your passion for reaching and teaching children. From completed enrollment forms to a successful school year, our software is designed to be accessible, collaborative, engaging, and flexible.


We offer a range of software services, including Eidex PRISM and Eidex FOCUS, to analyze data from the state level all the way down to individual students.


To learn more, you can fill in our contact form, request a demo or quote, or schedule a meeting.


References


National Center for Education Statistics. (2022, May). Public School Enrollment. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/cga/public-school-enrollment

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