There are several things you need to prepare for before an Open Enrollment period. Having hosted Open Enrollment in a Preschool and After School Center several times, I have learned that following a list is the best way to make sure you have completed all the items. Today, I am going to walk you through my list. Although, all centers operate differently, I am confident that your center will benefit from this process.
Depending on how you run your center there are two different ways to update your classes and schedules:
School Year Programs: If your center follows a school year structure (September- June) and you enroll new students into classes yearly than the first thing to do when preparing for open enrollment period is to create new classes. To create a new class, just head over to the Settings tab in Sandbox and down to the Class section. Here you can easily add in new classes for the next school year. I recommend when creating your classes that you label them with the school year. For example “Early Preschool 2019-2020” this way while you are managing the current years enrollment and enrolling for the following year you won’t have any confusion.
Once you have added your classes you will have the chance to add in any new schedules and updated pricing. This is very important because if your center is like mine, you raise tuition yearly. This will give you a chance to update your schedules and pricing and will not impact your current classes at all.
Ongoing Programs: If your center runs throughout the year and you aren’t making significant changes to your classes then keeping the same classes from year to year makes sense for your center. What you will want to do, however, is go into your classes and make sure that the schedules and tuition prices you have listed are still current. If needed you can easily adjust the tuition rates and or add new schedules at this time.
If you continue to use the same classes from year to year, make sure that when you add new enrollments that you add an end date. This would either be when that child ages out of that class or when the school year comes to an end. You can always adjust this date if they move classes or withdrawal early. By adding an end date this will allow you to more easily project future enrollments.
Once you have your classes and schedules are up to date, you will be able to add children into these classes. As your open enrollment period moves along you may want to pull reports to help you project your numbers for any of these future enrollments. When viewing the reports make sure to forward date to the start date of your class, the reports all have a date option you can easily adjust. By forward dating on your reports, you can easily project enrollment and track where you are at for the year ahead.
The next item to adjust in your Sandbox account is to update any fees or discounts that may have changed since the last open enrollment. Often centers will add or increase fees and/or discounts each school year. To update your fees go to the Settings tab and down to the Fees section. Here you can add in new fees or adjust old ones. I often list the school year on my fee names as well, for example “Registration Fee 2019-2020”. At this point you will have the option to update the price as well.
If you have anything outside of your normal enrollment pricing make sure that it is listed under the fee’s section in Sandbox. This will save you a ton of time and make it easy to add to a batch or individual invoice when the time comes. You will also have the option to run reports based on these fee’s, which is helpful on the back end.
Once you have all of your classes created and pricing set, the next step is to have your online registration built out or updated. To do this, just simply send us your enrollment application and we will build your online enrollment form within three days. This is included with your set up fee!
Once your form is built you will have access to the link under your settings tab. At the center I led we placed a hyperlink to this on our website with a big blue box that said “Click here to Enroll”. The nice thing about doing it this way is that you bring a lot of traction to your center’s website in the process of enrolling. We all know that the more people we get to our websites the better.
NOW YOUR READY TO ACCEPT ENROLLMENTS!
After someone submits the online enrollment form, you will see a number next to registration requests on the home screen of your Sandbox account. Here you will have the option to click the number, review the file and accept or reject the enrollment. Once an enrollment is accepted you are not adding them into a class per say, but rather adding their file into your families section.
Once you have accepted the online registration request, you will then go into the individual child file and add their enrollment. At this point in the process I normally email the family an invoice and let them know that they have secured the spot.
Once you have added your classes, updated your fees and built out your online enrollment forms your center will be ready for Open Enrollment. Now all the hard work is complete, you can sit back and manage your enrollments that are coming in.