July 20th, 2021

Creating an Inviting Enrollment Experience

When new students enroll in a school, online portals commonly request demographic information — everything from their name and gender to their health records and citizenship status. For many, disclosing this type of personal information can be anxiety-producing or uncomfortable.

Setting the Tone

It’s important to account for users’ emotional experiences, and it’s especially critical to get it right during an onboarding process — this is the time that sets the tone for the rest of their user journey. Critical or judgmental language — “You submitted your documentation incorrectly.” — or impersonal, hard-to-execute commands — “Print and mail this form,” or “Scan and submit digitally or by fax.” — can compound discomfort, which creates shame and a sense of failure. 

By anticipating potential moments of tension during the enrollment process - and creating positive, affirmative communications at every touchpoint - you can establish your school as a  welcoming, stress-free place. Turn user shame into institutional pride. 

Create an Experience that Works for Your School

Every school has its own set of needs and exists within a diverse community — these needs should be reflected in each school’s outreach. Below is one approach we’ve used to help schools improve inclusivity through design. 

Next Generation Men & Women

Next Generation Men & Women support students in underprivileged schools around Atlanta by providing the extra resources they need to achieve their goals — from college visits to mentorship opportunities.  Next Gen needed their enrollment technology to work for them and their students — and to remove the barriers of entry that kept students from signing up for these valuable opportunities. 

Working with the team at Next Gen, we helped build out interactive text messaging forms that (literally) met students where they are: In 30 seconds, prospective students could click a registration pop-up on Next Gen’s website and complete their enrollment over SMS texts. With sensitive, colloquial language and easy-to-follow steps for getting the process started, Next Gen helped students take action quickly while feeling comfortable disclosing sensitive information to the school — and saw a dramatic increase in responsiveness. 

Read the Case Study

Interested in Improving Your School’s Digital Communications? 

The first step to improving inclusivity is to listen to your community!  Engage in dialogue and activities that give you insight into your student body and their anxieties: Ride the bus, walk to school, volunteer in a classroom, attend a PTA meeting... the list goes on. By participating in the community and understanding their lived experience, you can refine your inclusive design strategy in ways that really matter. 

If you want to chat with an expert to learn more about creating an inclusive digital strategy for your school, get in touch! We'd love to help.