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Our Assistant Director of Admission, Jane Griffin, returns with a piece about UCDS’s outreach efforts in the Seattle Metro area. -Ed.

“Word of mouth” from former or current families is UCDS’ #1 marketing tool. However, the goal of admissions is to try to create a diverse population of students. If we want to reach a diverse population, we must go beyond the community of connected families and reach families who are new to the independent school world. There are a number of outreach methods and tools the UCDS Admission Office utilizes.

School fairs are an effective venue to reach people who are not familiar with independent schools. UCDS participates in three school fairs organized by Puget Sound Independent Schools (PSIS). These fairs are strategically located in different locations – one in South Seattle, North Seattle, and on the Eastside. In addition to the PSIS hosted fairs, we also participate in a school fair hosted by Jack and Jill of Seattle and one hosted by Parent Map, which is held in a city just north of Seattle. Seattle is the 5th fastest growing city in the US. The population growth in Seattle has caused many people to move to neighboring towns, while still commuting to Seattle for work. Thus, we have begun to target those neighboring towns where we don’t already have families attending UCDS. We reach these families through direct mailings. We visit preschools each summer to share information about our school so that they can make informed recommendations to their current families, and in addition, we also send informative postcards to over 150 preschools.

Due to Seattle’s tremendous growth, I believe that our outreach efforts must evolve from within the city. In September, I will be attending the Enrollment Management Association Annual Conference, and I am very interested to learn about creative ways to improve outreach. On my agenda are workshops called “Hack Your Marketing Strategy to Maximize Return”; “Brand It and They Will Come”;  Increasing Best-fit Inquiries with Integrated and Intentional Messaging”; “Eight Enrollment Management Strategies that Work”; and, “What Makes You Different?”.  Perhaps a follow-up post to this one is in order.