Surveying Declining Families

As I mentioned in my previous post, there are several post-season surveys to attend to. First up: surveying families whom you admitted but the family did not enroll. In other words: declining families.

I'm often asked about the purpose of such surveys. By looking at patterns about who you chose but didn't choose you, you can begin to develop theories about places your program, messaging, or positioning may need attention. By directly asking these families why they chose a different school, or what you might have done differently in the process, you are gathering vital data about how you can improve, your position in the marketplace, and specifics about impressions you are making in the community. There is no substitute for this information. Armed with data from real people, you are uniquely positioned to affect change.

The bad news? This can be a time consuming and sometimes awkward activity for admission staff. The good news? You have some time - I recommend doing this survey anytime between your enrollment date and the end of June. This is a survey that schools often do using SurveyMonkey or Google Forms, while others survey by phone or in person. It can be useful to use a third party in some cases. One admission director recently shared with me that she feels that she is the best person for the job since she has developed such trust throughout the process, yet also fears she is not getting the "full story".

Regardless of how you approach declining family surveys, rest assured that your effort is well-worth it. Families feel heard when they are asked for feedback, and you are likely to glean important information.Feel free to reach out here on the blog, by email, or by phone if I can be of any help talking through your declined survey efforts.