For 60 years, the International School of Paris (ISP) has been developing internationally-minded learners who think independently, engage meaningfully and act collectively. As the first three-programme IB World School in France, ISP offers an academically challenging, socially engaged and culturally rich education.
A key reason for the school in choosing OpenApply was that it was built for, and designed by, admissions professionals. Advancement and Engagement Director Courtney Knight points out, “In 2023, your admissions department needs to offer prospective families not only an adapted digital platform for enrolment requests, but also needs to provide a supportive structure that can fully accompany the enquiry, application, review and communication cycle for your school.” The emphasis goes beyond technology, highlighting the necessity of a personalised and empathetic approach, addressing queries promptly, providing clarifications, and facilitating transparent communication. By combining OpenApply’s user-friendly digital interface with compassionate human interaction, ISP is able to create a seamless, positive, and trust-building experience.
Courtney continues, “It is for this reason that we began our journey with OpenApply in 2018, because of the solution-oriented, personalised nature of OpenApply professionals that know admissions and an agile platform that can adapt to the realities of the individual context for our international school and the processes that align with our vision and mission.”
Another key reason for ISP to partner with OpenApply was to streamline an already very high-touch admissions process, offering a more user-friendly digital platform whilst taking into account the required EU GDPR legislation.
Courtney recalls that the implementation experience was smooth, and gave her team an opportunity to rigorously test and fine-tune their processes. She points out that the technical and client support has been the best they have experienced across a large range of educational platforms, with responses to queries being delivered within a day.
“Each year we bring new ideas to the OpenApply team, and them to us, and we find the open, constructive nature of such conversations incredibly valuable in sharing expertise, adding new features and co-creating our future wish list”, Courtney adds. Somewhat spoiled by the support, ISP will very often first seek feedback from OpenApply in order to better target a solution and timeline before engaging with their other data integration partners.
Damian Kerr, Secondary School Principal, found that there were no negatives to moving to a digital process thanks to OpenApply, stating that everything works well, is straightforward and clear, which is of utmost importance for a school leader who must review upwards of 200 files per year. Meanwhile, Jason Taylor, Primary School Principal, remarks how clear and straightforward he found the platform, in allowing him to review students quickly, as well as share files with other specialist team members without needing to download and delete everything.
“We cannot imagine our daily lives without the added flexibility of the review mode and tags, which allow us to embed, from the beginning, a vision consistent with student transition support and a high-touch admissions process”, recalls Courtney. The team is able to follow up easily with reviewers and loop in all the relevant stakeholders to gather all the information they need. Admissions can follow up with a reviewer at any time, which is especially valuable in the heart of the busy season, and reviewers can easily set up an email rule which allows them to see which files are outstanding. Meanwhile, tagging applicants is really valuable in terms of time saved in finding applicants, and assisting in the student transition processes with ISP’s wellbeing, student support and learning support departments.
Additionally, ISP uses OpenApply to gather all the customised parent information that they can then easily adapt themselves. They don’t need to be programmers. All the relevant documents and forms can be collected efficiently and conveniently, whereas previously it was difficult to manage and keep track of the volume of paper and email attachments, not to mention the risk of misplacing a physical file.
The End Result
Since moving forward with OpenApply, the ISP team found it really beneficial to have their internal, vetted processes and forms modelled into the OpenApply platform and then enhanced and modernised on an annual basis, as part of a thorough review process. Courtney praises the flexibility of the system coupled with the high level of support as being indispensable in this regard.
She concludes that schools exploring solutions for their admissions, marketing and advancement processes should definitely use an admissions-specific platform such as OpenApply. This has offered a significantly better experience for ISP’s families as well as saving their team considerable time, enabling them to focus on the ever-important user journey.