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Registrar – An Important Role in a School

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The role of Registrar is arguably the second most important role in a school after the Principal!

A potentially controversial statement on the surface, however, when exploring the role in detail, the success of your school’s Registrar can directly influence both the academic and financial success of your school. The Registrar is generally the first school representative with contact to a potential new family. The Registrar should present as welcoming, positive, organised, professional and knowledgeable of all aspects of the school. Failure to impress the family at the first meeting is rarely recoverable, as it is not possible to have a second go at making that first impression. The added impact of not signing a new enrolment is that a competitor school will gain your lost enrolment. Your school doesn’t have a Registrar? Your school needs to immediately rethink its Strategy.

What is the Role of the Registrar?

Each school will view the role differently to suit its own needs. Often the role will be combined with the position of the Enrolment Officer or may have Marketing responsibilities, but the essential Registrar roles must be covered by a relevant position in the school. The basis of the Registrar role is to:

  • Develop and implement student recruitment and retention strategies that maximise and maintain enrolments.
  • Promote the school to the wider community and assist families in their decision to select your school as their school of choice.
  • Maintain and enhance enrolment procedures and processes.
  • Develop and maintain an innovative and current marketing strategy for local, international, refugee and boarding students (as applicable).
  • Meet with the parents of prospective students to ensure that the school meets the needs of the student and the student is suitable for your school.
  • Maintain contact with potential new families.

What is the Registrar responsible for?

The Registrar should be organising Principal Tours, and where families cannot attend those tours take individual or small groups of families on tours of the school grounds and facilities. The Registrar should be responsible for maintaining and developing marketing strategies and programs that stimulate interest and understanding of what your school has to offer. The Registrar should also initiate and maintain web based Application & Enrolment Forms and Enrolment Packs, with information flowing through to your school software packages. If your school has a waiting list then the Registrar should be the person maintaining this list, contacting potential new families when vacancies arise and keep waiting families informed. To assist the school’s Executive, the Registrar should be providing monthly enrolment data and identifying and reporting on enrolment trends and patterns of withdrawals. Another key responsibility of the Registrar is to manage and maintain the student administration system within the school’s database.

The Registrar’s Influence on Academic and Financial Success

How can you school’s Registrar directly influence both the academic and financial success of your school? As we know, enrolment numbers drive all of the key financials within a school in relation to recurrent funding, tuition fees and the level of teacher’s wages and salaries. Grounds, buildings and cash in the bank do not alone make for longevity, only enrolments do. Enrolments must be maintained to achieve long term growth. Therefore, the first enrolment level to be achieved is the replacement of enrolments for the previous year’s graduates and those who left to pursue apprenticeships and other job opportunities. The second level is to create an increase of enrolment numbers over the previous year. The Registrar will deliver these outcomes on the basis that they have strategies and the skills and traits to deliver these strategies.

Success breeds success. Where a Registrar is achieving the enrolment targets on an on-going basis, the school’s Executive and Board have the confidence in making longer term decisions and implementing their master plans. The school gains confidence in recruiting staff on permanent basis rather than part time, casual or contract basis. Parent’s confidence in your school rises when they sense stability, have confidence in the teaching staff and consistent growth of your school in relation to capital projects. The community then gains confidence in your school, based upon what parents are talking about. The success of your Registrar will bring enrolments which brings money and jobs into the school. More enrolments allow for a broader curriculum and more resources supporting students which can lead to better academic results.

The Questions to your School in relation to your Registrar

Can you answer the following questions in relation to your Registrar:

  • Do you know how your Registrar interacts with potential new families?
    • What are the turnaround times between contact from the family and information being sent to the family by the Registrar?
    • Does the Registrar meet with new families?
    • At the meeting do they “close the deal” or let an interested family leave without an enrolment commitment?
    • Does your Registrar send out Enrolment Packs to every family making an enrolment enquiry?
    • Does your Registrar follow up new families?
  • Does your Registrar have a role and tasks similar to that outlined in this article?
  • Does your Registrar embrace social and electronic media as part of your marketing strategy?
  • Does your Registrar require any training in ‘closing an enrolment’ or any other aspects of their role and responsibilities?

Conclusion

Competition for enrolments has been increasing and schools must position themselves in the market as the school of choice, for as many families as possible. The Registrar is employed for this reason. They must have the support of the schools Executive and have the strategies required to meet their targets and the skills to carry out their role. Schools must be fully committed to this role and to the person employed to be successful in this role.