6 Tips for Building a Better Online Admission Application

May 28, 2014 Peter Baron

The admission season’s wrapping up, you’re thinking about next year, and pulling together your list of to do items for the summer.

There’s a pretty good chance that a revision of your admission application made the list. Before you dive in, though, we’ve pulled together a set of tips to help you build an even better admission application for the upcoming school year.

While some of the ideas were shared with onBoard schools in mind, the majority of tips are perfectly relevant to any private school considering an application refresh. You’ll find ideas from how to streamline the process for your families to punching up your app with visuals.

1. Consider thinning out the application

Take a hard look at your forms, and consider what you really need. Can you provide a justification for every question that you ask? As you audit each question, ask yourself this: is this question asking for information that’s relevant and necessary to the admission process?

onBoard Online Admission Application Builder

2. Think like a parent

Don’t be afraid to put your parent hat on when reviewing your app. Ask yourself how will families respond to your application? Are your questions a window into your community? Are you turning people off with your questions?


3. Think like a student

Just like with parents, make sure to wear your student hat. Consider the questions that provoke the most insightful responses from your applicants? Are there good questions you’ve been using in interviews that could be incorporated into the application?

Photo credit: Proctor Academy via Creative Commons

4. Streamline the process of completing the application

Are you pre-populating your forms with applicant data? Think about all of the information you collect in the build up to the application. Do you want your parents to have to rekey all of that information? Streamlining the process for families = good customer service.

Pre-populate Application Data!

Looking for more ideas on how to up your customer service game? Check out our interview with Chuck English. He shares a number of tips on how to provide a more personalized admission experience for your families.

5. Use visuals to keep the family’s interest

Are you including visuals in your online application as a way of keeping their interest and at the same time showing the value of your school? People are far more likely to process & retain what they see vs what they read (source).

Use Visuals to Create a Better Admission Application!

6.  Think ahead

It’s never too early to think about future candidates or your next development opportunity. Your online application’s a great pace to start collecting that data. Consider gathering information on relatives such as siblings or grandparents to use for future outreach. You never want to miss your next enrollment or advancement opportunity.

What application strategies have worked for you? Do let us know by leaving a comment. We’d love to hear and share your ideas.

About the Author

Peter Baron

As senior product marketing manager, Peter Baron is focused on illustrating how Blackbaud K-12’s software builds deeper connections among key school community stakeholders, including parents, teachers and students. Peter regularly contributes to various online communities and education conferences like NAIS, CASE/NAIS & SSATB to explain the importance of providing modern, user-friendly experiences for school constituents. Peter hosts Blackbaud K-12's Get Connected Podcast and is the founder of edSocialMedia, a community-driven site dedicated to exploring the role of social media in education. Peter also serves as a trustee for Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School and is an Executive Committee member of TABS’ North American Boarding School Initiative.

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