School administration tools

5 time-saving tools for private high school administrators

Do you remember the friendly face behind the front desk of the school you attended each day as a teen? Odds are, you do — or you at least remember how they made you feel.

That’s what makes the role that school administrators play so important. Besides being in charge of lots of detail-oriented tasks such as scheduling and attendance, they’re often the first and best ambassadors of your school to students, families, and the entire community.

And while all high school administrators tend to wear many hats, the role can be especially varied at smaller private schools. It’s for just that reason that software tools can be so helpful to them. The right software tools take care of some of their repetitive and time-consuming duties so they can focus on creating a better overall experience for teachers, students, and parents.

Below are just a few of the areas where software can help save them a lot of time and potential headaches. As you read through your options, think about which ones could benefit your private school’s administrative staff the most.

Admissions & Enrollment Software

The process of enrolling students can be especially complicated for private schools, which have a different admissions process than their public counterparts. It’s a huge and time-consuming job that many companies have built programs specifically to manage.

A Few Features to Look For:

Online Applications – Although there are plenty of free web-based programs that will let users create forms online, the more professional programs have features worth paying for. These features include branding, additional security, the inclusion of legal forms and signatures, and the integration of student responses directly into the rest of the admissions software.

Candidate Management – Software with user-friendly interfaces can make it easy for administrators to assess, compare and even score candidates, and to see where they are in the enrollment process. Admissions software should also easily generate helpful reports on enrollment, from overall numbers to applicant characteristics.

Fee Tracking and Financial Aid Management – Some admissions software specifically addresses the problematic task of tracking financial aid rewards, scholarships, and application fees.

Waitlist and Lottery Management – This sensitive area is one where a software solution is especially beneficial. Using software makes the process of managing waitlists and lotteries tamper-proof and establishes a sense of trust for everyone involved, taking lots of pressure off the shoulders of your administrator.

Marketing and Recruiting – Tracking prospective students and guiding them through the admissions process is another big part of many administrators’ jobs. Some software has tools built specifically for this process, even helping schools manage their communication with potential students and their families from their initial interest to their official enrollment.

Class Scheduling Software

Trying to schedule high school classes manually is no simple task. Using a software program that was designed specifically for the job saves hours and hours. With these programs, administrators can easily enroll students in preferred classes and then publish their schedules.

A Few Features to Look For:

Customizable Class Details – Most school administration software allows users to assign data such as time slots, teachers, and students and classrooms to each class. Make sure that whatever software you choose can accommodate your school’s unique needs.

Attendance Tracker – Some school administration software has the ability for teachers to log in from their classrooms and track attendance and tardiness in real time. This gives office staff access to the attendance data quickly and easily.

School administration tools

Advanced Scheduling Options – Some scheduling software programs have options for scheduling in block time, rotating blocks and weekend schedules.

Student Requests – This kind of software may make it easy for students to log in and request which classes they want to take, then allot class slots accordingly as they’re available.

Ready to evaluate a few different programs? Learn what to look for in our bonus download: 6 Qualities of Great School Software

Student Information Software

Anyone who runs a school knows that keeping track of student details is a monumental task. The term “student information system” is considered a product in and of itself, specializing in helping school officials keep track of all the data they need to know for each enrolled student.

A Few Features to Look For:

Student Information & Documents – Schools may want to track any number of custom fields on each student, including health notes like allergies and immunization records, discipline records, and emergency contacts. Information should be easy to find when admins need it, but secure enough to stay out of the hands of everyone else.

Communication History – Some programs can let administrators and teachers contact parents directly through the software and keep a record of each interaction.

Grade Management – Various programs may allow teachers to log in and use the software to track test scores, grades, and other progress reports.

Emergency Alerts – Incorporated into many of these programs is the ability to quickly alert groups of parents by text or phone call in the case of an emergency or an unexpected closing.

Transcript Software

Transcripts are an important document for any student, but especially those who plan to go on to another educational institution. Besides informing those other programs of the student’s coursework and grades, transcripts are also a branding tool. Professional, polished transcripts reflect well on both the student and the school itself, which is why preparing transcripts can be such a time-consuming task for administrators.

A Few Features to Look For:

Professional Designs – Most administrators don’t have a graphic design background, and it’s not quite fair to expect them to micromanage how transcripts look. Giving them a tool that lets them choose from among plenty of professional options can save time and energy.

Brandability – Administrators should be able to upload and insert branding elements like the school logo easily into the transcript template.

Scalability and Storage – If your school wants to keep a record of transcripts that have already been issued, some solutions allow schools to keep them stored securely in the cloud, where administrators can search for them and export them as necessary.

When you’re ready to start comparing software options, get started with our bonus download: 6 Qualities of Great School Software

Financial Software

The financial aspect of running a school can be especially complicated, but some software programs are trying to make it simpler by letting school officials manage the financial issues that are unique to schools.

A Few Features to Look For:

Parent Portal – Various programs let parents check their financial accounts online and even use apps to pay via their mobile phones.

Tuition Assistance – Some software has integrated forms and programs that allow administrators to more easily assess and track how they’ll distribute financial aid to their students.

Managing Donations and Fundraising – If you need a tool to track fundraising campaigns, lists of contributors, and recurring pledges, there are programs for that. Some of them even help send out contribution requests and then “thank you” letters afterwards.

The work of school administrator touches the entire staff, the student body, and the school community. Click To Tweet

After reviewing these features, a few may have stood out as having the potential to cut hours or even days of work for your administrator. Remember that if you can improve their processes, you don’t just save the initial time they would have spent. You also prevent costly and time-consuming errors, and free your administrator up to work on big-picture issues and relationships.

The work of the school administrator touches the entire staff, the student body, and the school community. That makes giving them the tools they need to get their jobs done as easily and efficiently as possible a big win for the entire school.

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Software developer, homeschool graduate, entrepreneur, and founder of Transcript Maker, the high school transcript app.

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