Missing Your Enrollment Goal? Here’s What to Do Next

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Last week, we shared a simple and quick way to project whether your school will hit or miss your enrollment goals. We actually built a Google Sheet calculator to make this task even easier. You can get that free on our new Facebook page.

If you find that you will meet or exceed your goal, your main job is to continue to verify your assumptions about everything – the number of students leaving the final grade, the number of students entering the first grade you offer (e.g. Kindergarten), and the number of current students in-between who are going elsewhere for any reason.

If you discover you’re going to fall, the clear next step is:

Step #4: Determine what you are going to do.

This sounds obvious, and it is. Quite simply, you have to find a way to do one or more of the following:

  1. Generate more leads. (e.g. Word of Mouth, Website, Church, Guerrilla marketing, better financial aid marketing)
  2. Generate more leads that result in appointments. One way to achieve this is by de-emphasizing calls to action on your website that result in fewer appointments. Would you get more appointments if more of your leads were inbound calls versus some sort of web form/email? If so, focus on driving calls as the main call-to-action.
  3. Get more appointments from current leads. Sharpen your appointment-setting skills.
  4. Get more people to show up for scheduled appointments. Confirm the day before and “anchor” the necessity of coming in when the appointment is set.
  5. Convert more Educational Success Consultations (ESCs) to enrollments. Remember, ESCs are a strategic and effective way to conduct a parent’s first visit to your school. If you aren’t familiar with ESCs, substitute this with “visit.” There are a handful of typical problems that limit the number of ESCs that turn into enrollments. These are:
    • Didn’t get both spouses to ESC
    • Pitching rather than listening (selling vs. helping)
    • No Problem / Implication questions
    • No preliminary closes
    • Follow-up that is canned selling (Still interested? Questions?)
    • No institutional memory in follow-up
    • Should have used two steps vs one (ESC & shadow)
    • Some problem between application and enrollment (waiting too long for financial aid result, too little financial aid, business office clearance)

Key Idea

Work this list backward, from the end to the beginning. The lowest hanging fruit is found there. Often it’s easier to close more good leads than generate more new good leads.


If your current projections show you are short, don’t automatically assume that the answer is more leads. If you are not getting 40% or more of all leads (visited or not) to enroll, the reasons for this need to be explored. If you are a discipleship school, the math might be different because not all ESCs represent qualified families. 

In general, you should also be getting 60% of all leads into the building, typically (but not always) for an educational success consultation. If you are not getting 60% of all leads to visit, reasons for this need to be explored as well.

If you have thoroughly nitpicked your closing process and believe everything there is in order, then it is time to add additional lead-generating activities. 

Finally, I cannot emphasize enough how valuable last year’s (and previous year’s generally) totals are in making these determinations. Your lead and ESC projections should be validated by last year’s totals (leads, ESCs, enrollments).

Don’t be surprised this fall. Do this math now, and verify your assumptions once a month going forward.

Want to close more leads?

This Fall, GraceWorks is launching an in-depth training series to help Christian schools get more leads in the door and enrolled in your school. Join the wait list to be notified when more details are available!

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