Please note: This is part of the Next Practice Insights series of articles which will be available as a part of membership to SchoolAdvancement in the future.  It’s being published now to help as many schools as possible to plan for their enrollment for the coming 24-25 school year.

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew how many students were going to be in your school next year?

Some folks say “Yes,” while others say “No.”

If you chose “Yes,” chances are you’re a planner, are excited about leading a school, and look forward to the challenges with a positive outlook, knowing the good you’re doing is reflected in the students, and supported by the parent community as well as your board, finance council and pastor or board of pastors.

If you chose “No,” chances are you’re worried about the future of your school, especially if your school has experienced 5 successive years of declining enrollment.  If you’re expecting that there will be a miraculous turnaround, and enrollment will increase without any additional effort on your part, you’ve probably not done any “trending” exercises, and aren’t familiar with the Law of Diminishing Returns, which states “that in all productive processes, adding more of one factor of production, while holding all others constant will at some point yield lower per-unit returns.”  In other words, the more effort you put into doing the same thing over and over again, the lower your results will be.

If you’re trying to get a handle on increasing your school’s enrollment, there is a free tool for you to use to help you do that!  The “Enrollment” section of  this site provides access to the current components of BASIQS: Bringing Additional Children Into Quality Schools.  One of those components is The Enrollment Estimator (TM) which can be found at  Estimators for the 24-25 school year are now available!

How accurate is it?  There are test forms to see how close your estimation will be, then adjust accordingly.

What if you don’t like the estimate number, and wish it could be higher?  If that’s the case, then enter your desired enrollment in the green box on the form.  The number that will return in the red box is the number of students you need to enroll in your 19-20 “first year” class.  That is, if your school is a K-8, then your “first year” class is your school’s kindergarten class.  If it’s a high school serving grades 9-12, then 9th grade is your “first year” class.

Knowing that figure this early in the current school year will help you plan for it and attain it.

How?  It’s the power in having someone else set a goal for you.  Recent brain research points to the fact why so many goals that are set by us go unmet, such as those new year’s resolutions we seem to make and break every year.  Researchers have found that when we set our own goals, our mind tricks us to think we’ve already started to meet the goal since we’ve personally come up with it.  However, if someone else sets your goal, and you have the ability to meet it, you’re more than likely to do so.

Your school’s enrollment as determined by the Enrollment Estimator (TM) is based on your school’s own data as researched by Alspaugh in 1981.  If good data produced good results, then no matter how sobering the data is, you can make plans to succeed…but the longer you wait to determine your projected/necessary enrollment, the more difficult it will be to attain it.