…on a tour of your school!! Principals and other administrators usually provide the school tour to interested parents, since they want to be sure the parents receive a thorough exposure to the benefits of the school.

But what about student-conducted tours? If your school educates students through 8th grade, and definitely for high schools, consider training students to conduct parent tours. This action drives home the fact that the entire school community is responsible for marketing the school. After all, your school’s students will soon be alumni, and older children in the school must learn to accept responsibility.

Some elementary schools train their eighth-graders to be tour leaders, but consider allowing your seventh graders to be part of this contingent. Select them while they’re in sixth grade, and train them during the summer between sixth and seventh grade. As eighth graders, they’ll then have some experience in helping to train the new group of tour guides, while retaining their “senior” tour-guide status. They can be recognized as “School Ambassadors” at events in order to make them not only feel they are, but also function as, an integral part of your school’s success.

Be sure to let them know that they are going to make “the experience” of the school a memorable one. How can they do that? One simple way is to have students walk with guests to the rest room, rather point down the hall and say, “It’s down there around the corner.”

And speaking of “retaining,” as an added bonus, using 7th and 8th graders as tour guides may aid in retaining your students at the junior high level, rather than having someone who has reaped the benefits of your Catholic school  leave.

As for those schools that have a PK-5 configuration, and may not feel comfortable having a 5th grader lead parents on a tour, you need to have an enrollment/advancement/development person on your staff to handle parent tours, enrollment processes, marketing activities, and other activities that generate revenue for your school.  If you don’t have a person like this on staff, it’s like a business that doesn’t have a sales professional working for it.  I’m sure you may respond to that by saying, “Well, it’s different today.  You can go online and get what you need.”

If that’s true, then what is the parent of a prospective student’s experience when they visit your school’s Web site?  More importantly, see what it looks like on a mobile device first, since that’s where most parents today are accessing the Web.  If you don’t like what you see, perhaps a Web site re-design is your first step.

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2006-2021 (Original Publication Date: 20060717)