14+ Ways Technology & Admissions Teams Can Partner for Success

Recently, Larry Kahn, Chief Technology Officer, and Alice Pritchett, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, from Trinity Valley School, TX, shared the secrets of their successful partnership with Susan Davis, Professional Development Director, ATLIS. The following post is a recap of their conversation. [10-minute read; 1-hour video]

blog banner campus with fall foliageFall is a time for pumpkin-strewn campuses, eager questions from potential parents, and gaggles of wide-eyed students wandering the halls to see what a new independent school can offer. Admissions events are essential to the growth and sustainability of any independent school, yet the COVID-19 pandemic has turned school admissions events for Fall 2020 upside-down.

In a recent interview, two members of the administrative team at Trinity Valley School, in Fort Worth, Texas, Larry Kahn, Chief Technology Officer, and Alice Prescott, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, shared how they built a successful partnership to produce virtual Admissions programming.

Tips from the Tech Director

  1. Pay attention to the school calendar and offer help way in advance.
  2. Consider how you can empower others as the go-to resources for tech.
  3. Make yourself available to listen in on Admissions event planning meetings. Listen for technology expectations and opportunities for clarification (for example, about wifi coverage).
  4. Anticipate and provide “just-in-time” training, for instance, about the difference between using a tool for meetings versus using it as a webinar, setting up polls, or figuring out the best way to hold breakout sessions.
  5. Make time to rehearse and work out the kinks.
  6. Help out however you can, for example, by providing screenshots to help with tracking attendance. 
  7. Partner early and often!

Tips from the Admissions Officer

  1. Share your “wish list” with your technology counterpart. 
  2. Brainstorm how you can translate the important facets of your in-person events to a virtual space (for instance, how to best show off your campus, catch kids at work). A
  3. Ask for technology guidance -- what is possible and what isn’t?
  4. Make sure you have a back-up plan for everything. (Remember, you won’t be together to troubleshoot.) This can include
    • A physical ethernet connection, just in case;
    • Possible substitute content for speakers who may have last-minute connection issues.
  5. Practice, practice, practice. (Providing online “rehearsal space” is a good way to do this.)
    • Practice your own speaking parts -- even if you have loads of experience saying the same thing you have always said in front of a live audience. Live video is different, and you’ll want to settle your nerves.
    • Practice on your own and with your guest speakers how to transition in and out of media (video or slides, for example). 
    • Use your practice sessions to offer constructive feedback about lighting, sound, and other ways to improve delivery on camera.
  6. Always have someone on hand who can handle the “back end” (waiting rooms, breakouts, chat, etc.).
  7. Be upfront with your audience about what they are in for… will it be fully live, live with video, interactive, or what? Was there a recent update in the video platform that they may need to get before starting.

Shared Reflections

  1. Meet your fears about last-minute requests and unexpected tech updates head-on by working together as a team with plenty of time to plan ahead.
  2. Accept that there may be things beyond your control…and embrace the opportunity to prep in advance and gain confidence as a result.
  3. Celebrate that you don’t have to clean up afterwards!
  4. Think of this partnership as just the start of a beautiful friendship! Build trust through your successes and explore ways to partner in the future, perhaps for hybrid events or to mine your data or automate more efficient processes.

Watch the complete video recording of this conversation held on Friday, October 9, 2020.

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