School Registration Management Software: 2022 Buyer’s Guide
Have you ever considered how the registration process is different for each of your students?
For example, Elementary School Student A needs to enroll in an English as a Second Language (ESL) class, an advanced math program, and your after school program. Elementary School Student B, on the other hand, needs to register for a before-school orchestra class and a remedial reading program. Then, Elementary School Student C has a set of completely different needs, and so on. With such a wide variety of educational needs—as well as attendance, student fees, communication, fundraising, and more—to stay on top of, managing your school’s registration process can easily become a major source of stress, whether you’re a new education professional or have decades of experience.
Luckily, there are easy-to-use tools available that can make the registration management experience easy, such as school registration management software. At CommunityPass, we’re school software experts, and we’ve created this buyer’s guide to help you find the best solution possible for your school. In it, we’ll cover:
- What Is School Registration Management Software?
- 4 Tips for Choosing the Best Solution for Your School
- 5 School Registration Management Software Features to Look For
With the information and tips in this guide, you’ll be fully equipped to choose a solution that streamlines your school’s registration management and allows you to get back to what matters most—working hard to help all of your students learn and grow, no matter their individual needs.
Are you ready to find your solution? Let’s dive in!
What Is School Registration Management Software?
School registration management software is a digital tool that helps administrators, teachers, and other school leaders with scheduling and class enrollment, before and after school program management, payment processing, attendance tracking, fundraising, marketing, communication, and reporting. In other words, a school registration management solution can help you keep every part of a student’s school experience organized, from when they first enroll to their last time in your after school program.
With the right solution, your school will experience a number of benefits, including:
- More time for teachers and administrative staff to spend working with students and larger school goals instead of tedious administrative tasks
- The ability to customize your school’s registration process
- Less stress and disorganization
- Easier and more secure payment processing for all student fees and other payments
- Fewer filing cabinets overflowing with paper forms
- Reduced IT support costs
It’s also helpful to know the difference between school registration management software and a student information system (SIS). An SIS is where you store and organize individual student data related to grades, attendance, and more. Your school likely already has an SIS. School registration management software, on the other hand, is a platform that allows you to streamline registration and other administrative tasks that fall outside the purview of individual teachers’ classrooms. Ideally, your registration management solution will be able to easily integrate with your SIS!
4 Tips for Choosing the Best Solution for Your School
Before choosing your school registration management software, you’ll likely want to thoroughly vet each of your options to find the one that best meets your school’s needs. In this section, we’ll give you some actionable tips for doing just that to help you feel prepared to make a smart investment in a tool that can truly help streamline your registration process:
1. Identify your school’s specific needs.
Just as every student is different, so is every school. Your school’s location, specific demographics, and student age range can all affect your school’s registration management needs. For example, your school may not have the resources to offer a before or after school care program, or you may have special after school sports programs that other schools don’t. These unique characteristics will affect how you shop for a school registration management solution.
This is why it’s important to work with your fellow administrators, teachers, and parent leaders at your school to identify your needs. For example, you might decide you need a solution that offers secure payment processing for all types of payments or provides tools for fundraising events. These needs will make up your “shopping list” for your software solution and will give you a clear idea of what features to look for as you consider individual providers. It may also be helpful to identify which needs are critical and what might be nice to have but won’t make or break your shopping decisions.
2. Consider your budget.
The reality of working in education is that you have limited amounts of funding to invest in software. You’ll need to consider your budget while shopping for your solution. You’ll likely need to involve your district office and school board to determine the amount of money you have to work with. It may even be appropriate to collaborate with your PTA or PTO to fundraise so you can get the solution you need.
Note that some solutions will require a flat fee upfront, while others charge your school on a monthly or annual subscription basis. In addition, some features may be optional or cost extra to set up.
3. Look for a solution that is user-friendly.
Registration management software should make your job easier. As you consider individual solutions, we recommend doing the following:
- Read reviews to understand how user-friendly each platform is
- Learn what support and training, if any, your chosen provider offers (some providers charge extra for these services)
- Look into how your new solution integrates with your school’s current tools (such as your SIS)
The last thing you want is to pay for a registration management solution that you don’t know how to use and end up wasting your time and school’s money. Do your due diligence to learn how the platform works and what support is provided before signing a contract!
4. Examine all of a solution’s features.
Not every feature a software provider offers will be relevant or useful for your school’s purposes. Get to know your chosen platform’s features, and work with your fellow administrators and teachers to decide whether those features will truly help fulfill your school’s needs and better serve your student body. In the next section, we’ll take a closer look at the features you should watch for as you shop.
5 School Registration Management Software Features to Look For
As mentioned, some school registration management software features will be absolutely critical to streamlining your school’s internal processes and cutting down the time spent on administrative tasks. Other features might be great bonuses that you can leverage to fundraise or better communicate with school families, while some might not be helpful at all.
Let’s walk through five essential features your chosen provider should have:
- Registration document upload capabilities: Some solutions only offer digital registration, restricting families’ abilities to fill out paper forms in-person during registration week. An ideal solution will allow users to easily upload documents so that you can accommodate everyone’s needs.
- Student upload service (SIS Integration): Your solution should seamlessly integrate with your school’s SIS, allowing you to automate student uploads and update your new student database on a regular basis. Some solutions will even allow you to create welcome letters for new students to help create a great first impression as they begin their educational journey at your school.
- Flexible and secure payments: Your school may require fees for class trips, clubs, laptop insurance, athletics, and arts and family and consumer sciences courses. To accept and track these fee payments, you’ll need to be able to securely process multiple payment types, including credit card, ACH, e-check, and cash. Your registration management software should also allow you to manage PTA/PTO membership dues, fundraisers, and event tickets and merchandise sales.
- Digital attendance tracking: Ensuring students are attending class and that they’re safe on your campus is a top priority. With the right solution, you’ll be able to record attendance, facilitate parent check-in and check-out, authorize pick-ups, and have quick and easy access to emergency contact information.
- Before and after care tools: Before and after school care programs are essential services for families in your school’s community that enrich a child’s educational experience and provide parents with peace of mind while they work hard to provide for their children. Look for software with features that allow you to enroll students in your before and after care programs, handle billing, adapt to schedule changes, and keep students safe by tracking their locations and digitally checking them in and out of your programs.
As you look for these features in each solution you consider, pay attention to how easy it is to fully leverage each feature. Having these essential features won’t do you any good if you’re unable to tap into their potential.
CommunityPass: The Best School Registration Management Solution
CommunityPass is a school registration management solution that is comprehensive, cloud-based, and easy-to-use. Designed for public schools, private schools, charter schools, adult education programs, community schools, parent teacher organizations, and before and after care programs, CommunityPass offers all of the features highlighted above and more, like:
- Instructor websites
- Fundraising and donation tools
- Marketing and communication tools
- Comprehensive reporting tools
In addition to all of these features and an easy-to-use interface, CommunityPass also offers setup services, and over-the-phone and online support and training (including webinars and videos). When you partner with us, you’ll never be left in the dark when it comes to having questions about our tools. We also provide additional fee-based services that you can leverage to meet your individual school’s needs. These include data migration, customization, and more.
Want to learn more about CommunityPass’s school registration management features? Explore our features page to see all we have to offer to schools!
Managing all the moving parts of your school’s registration processes is no small feat. Each student has different needs that have to be addressed, and ensuring that everything runs smoothly can be taxing, even for the most experienced administrators.
By investing in school registration management software, you’re investing in your school’s future, enabling you to move forward with more efficient and effective processes. Leveraging the right tools can help you quickly get back to what matters most—providing the students in your community with a world-class education that can prepare them to succeed in life.