How to Create a School Prospectus That Draws Parents In

To some schools, a prospectus is nothing but another document they need to get out of the way. To schools which attract high numbers of parents and students, a prospectus is one of the most powerful marketing tools available. A great prospectus will have parents flocking to open days and calling non-stop to book visits. Given that student enrolment targets are crucial to the success of many schools, it's imperative that you give the prospectus the attention it deserves. Here are 3 tips to focus on when creating your prospectus. 

Centre on Your Values & Message

Almost every school will talk about achievements, grades, and other facts in their prospectus. While these things are undoubtedly essential factors in attracting prospective students, they're not the only thing you should talk about. In a sea of schools whose students are sporting stars and moving on to university and top careers, achievements won't make you stand up as much as you'd like. What will really endear parents to you are your school's values. Your values are what set you apart, and that's why it's so important to make sure they're they centre of your prospectus.

What message do you focus on in your school? If it's teamwork and collaborative effort, make sure to highlight your clubs and group projects. If respect and altruism are at the forefront of your school's daily life, show parents how your students apply their learning in each subject to volunteer work in the wider community. Weaving your values through every section of your prospectus is the best way to convey how serious you are about your message, ensuring that you attract the right type of students to your school.

Use the Essay Technique You Teach Your Students

If you've popped into your school's English department before, you've probably seen students being taught the PEE technique (sometimes called PEEL or PEA). P-E-E stands for Point, Evidence, and Explanation, and it's used to craft arguments and essay paragraphs. There's a reason students are taught this method—because it works, and not just in essays. Using the PEE method in your prospectus is another great way to truly set yourself apart from other schools because it convinces parents that what you say is true and not just the usual 'hype'.

Unsurprisingly, the first step is to make your 'Point'. A point is any information you want to use in your prospectus to show off your school. As an example, one point may be that your school is big on using technology to enhance learning. This point could attract forward-thinking parents, but where's the proof? That's where your 'Evidence' comes in. Evidence can come in many forms: facts, stats, photographs, testimonials, and snippets from reports. Evidence for your technological learning could be a photo of the computers or tablets in a typical classroom in your school. Finally, you need to 'Explain' the point and evidence you'd given—in this case, your explanation might involve writing a photo caption about how many devices are in each classroom and how they're used every day.

This method works for any point. If you want to say your students are academically able, use grade percentages to show that many students excel. If you'd like to show that the parents of your students are very happy with your school, use reviews along with parent photos to prove it. Tangible evidence is always far more compelling than a statement—would you rather send your student to a school that says it's good or a school that you can see is good by your own judgement?

Focus on Design and Layout

The content of your prospectus is nothing without a great design. First and foremost, an eye-catching cover is integral to your prospectus' success. Most parents consider more than one school for their children. Your school's brochure needs to grab a parent's attention more than any of the others lying with it on the coffee table. Given how crucial first impressions are, the cover can make or break your prospectus. Alongside great cover design, you'll also need to use the right colours and typography to complement your school brand. You may think a rainbow palette and fun font will make your prospectus attractive to kids, but they'll make parents struggle to take your establishment seriously.

If you want a prospectus design that complements the content inside, accurately represents your school community, and presents you in the best light, your best bet is to use a graphic design service. Sending a prospectus with a poor design to your printer is even worse than having no prospectus at all, and it could harm your school's reputation. A professional designer will know exactly how to come up with a style that works for you and gets parents excited about your school.