Independent School Enrollment Strategies

Enrollment. The one thing that every independent school seems to need help with. Up until year one of the pandemic enrollment was top priority for most private schools here in the USA.

independent school enrollment strategies

But, thanks to the public school system dropping the ball on handling COIVD-19, most private schools have a waitlist for the first time ever. If you want to learn how to make the most of these good times enroll in our Private School Boom email series.

But, not all schools across the globe are experiencing this boom so, enrollment is still priority number one.

We’ve confirmed this with members of the Yellow Car Community, a global group of private and independent school leaders and staff.

Today, we’re talking about the independent school enrollment strategies that will work in 2022 and beyond.

independent school marketing

Key Alumni as Ambassadors

enrollment strategies for private schools

Businesses use influencers for marketing every single day, so why shouldn’t schools? This is one of our favorite strategies because schools aren’t doing it yet. We think schools can use ambassadors as a way to get in front of their audience with some of the strongest marketing there is, word of mouth. 

The idea is to tap key alumni to advocate for the school. You could use their advocacy in multiple ways. Here are a few. 

  • As a video or graphic ad on social media
  • As a speaker at your open house 
  • As a positive voice in the case of negative press 
  • As an active member of your private group (more on this later) 


Ambassadors allow your school to communicate its message through a trusted 3rd party. Sure, telling prospective families why your school is the right choice is effective. But, there’s only so far self-promotion will move the needle in their minds. Ambassadors break down that barrier. In other words, people trust people more than they trust your self-promotion. 

Digital Marketing for Independent Schools

Direct Mail Marketing for Private Schools

enrollment strategies for private schools

Direct mail, not junk mail. There is a difference between the two. One is helpful, and the other is annoying. We recommend the former. Remember direct mail is only a platform. How effective it is depends more on the message of your mail rather than on the platform itself. We like to recommend sending helpful and valuable information in your direct mail campaigns. That way, people feel like they’re getting something out of it. The more valuable, the better.

But, what types of things should you mail? What would be considered valuable? Here are a few that you might want to consider

  • A state of the union from the principal talking about his/her unique points of view on education and the school
  • Helpful information about parenting for parents (possibly a mailpiece promoting your school’s blog that shares that sort of information) 
  • News/research that shows why private schools (or your school) are better than public or the other schools in the area 

If you can swing it, bulky mail is usually the best way to go. Bulky mail is something thick (like a small packet). These types of mail pieces will get opened and read at much higher rates than a postcard will. Keep in mind that bulky mail will cost a bit more to send and produce than a traditional postcard will for obvious reasons. We produce, distribute and manage bulk mail campaigns for our clients. Schedule your free call to discuss which direction your school should go with a direct mail campaign.

Review Generation for Independent Schools

Okay, I’ll admit it. Reviews are not a quick way to increase your student enrollment. You’re not going to get a few new 5-star reviews and then get a few new students the next day. It’s a long-term play, and that’s a good thing. The long-term stuff is the stuff that schools (and businesses) tend to pass on because it’s not as rewarding. So, there are always areas of opportunity in the long term stuff.

enrollment strategies for private schools

Reviews are important for obvious reasons. You don’t need me to tell you that 90% of people read online reviews before visiting a business. Or that 88% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Even though we know these things, schools still don’t ask for reviews on a regular basis. Why? Maybe it’s a time thing. Maybe it’s too awkward. Maybe it’s not simple enough. All of those reasons can be solved with a review generation program

With the program, all you need to do is upload a list of contact information. Bonus points if you only upload your most engaged parents and students. You’ll need 

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email
  • Phone number (optional) 

Once done, the program will automatically send out email and or SMS text requests to your contacts asking them to leave a review. Once someone leaves a review, they’re taken out of the campaign. All of the messaging, branding, and cadence is fully customizable. Users can leave reviews on over one hundred different websites but you’ll likely request they leave one on your Google Business Profile, Niche, Great Schools, or Yelp pages.

But, what if we send an email to someone that wants to leave a negative review?! We get this question often and it’s really a nonissue. The program will redirect anyone who clicks 3 stars or below to an internal feedback form rather than redirecting them to leave a public-facing review. So, you get that information in private. 

Of course, if the person was motivated enough they could find your school on any of those platforms and leave a bad review. We’re not blocking them from doing that (nothing can. Freedom of speech, remember)? But, by proactively requesting reviews from the people that are likely to leave you positive reviews you are protecting yourself by bolstering your reputation. That means if a negative review comes in, it doesn’t affect your average so severely. The best defense is a strong offense. You can get your free trial of our review generation program here.

The Power of Groups

It’s no secret that groups are good for business. The rotary club, the chamber of commerce, in-person parenting groups, and Facebook groups are all great ways to connect and work with people that are in similar seasons of life or in similar industries as you. 

In the same vein, groups also top the list of great independent school enrollment strategies. If your school does not have a private group (on Facebook, discord, or another platform) then this is your sign to create one ASAP. 


An engaged group is an invaluable resource to you. It can be used as a think tank for getting new ideas or as a test group for running new ideas by. 


It’s also a great way to build school ambassadors. The more engaged someone is with the school the more likely that person is to feel passionate enough to make referrals and advocate. Groups are one of the best ways to build that engagement level. 


Another idea would be to create a public group that anyone can join. Maybe your school has a great soccer team. If you were to build a public group for soccer parents, that discusses all things soccer, then you would get the credit for bringing all of that intangible value together in one place. If some of your members are looking to get their kids into a school that has a great soccer program, which school do you think will be on the top of their list? I’m willing to bet it’s going to be yours. You can apply this idea to any program your school offers and get a similar result.

Let’s Recap

Let’s face it, there are probably a dozen independent school enrollment strategies. Our goal with this post is to give you some of the not-so-obvious ones. Taking some time to figure out how any of these strategies could be used in your school will be a good use of your time. If you’d like our help with implementing any of these we can talk about it over a meeting. Click here to get some time with our team. Let us know in the comments if this was helpful for you. Also, follow us on social media to get more content like this in your feed. Our links are in the footer of any webpage!

Until next time, 


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