Quality Schools International (QSI) was founded in Yemen in 1971. Fifty years later, and now headquartered in Malta, it has 37 schools in 31 countries on five continents, educating children from pre-school to secondary.
With over 6,500 students representing over 125 nationalities, QSI handles thousands of applications and re-enrolments every year. With schools varying in size, and some of the smaller ones lacking a dedicated admissions team, the group was looking for a way to standardise the admissions process across the whole group.
Donn Maier, Director at QSI International School of Montenegro, remembers: “Even as a small school, we were getting buried by the application process – we had no real system in place to effectively take care of our customers.” With the re-registration process coming up, they chose to roll out OpenApply to replace their existing pen and paper system.
The Faria Ecosystem
Beyond professionalising and streamlining admissions and re-enrolments with OpenApply, QSI tapped into the Faria ecosystem to unify platforms, enhancing their School-to-Home management with SchoolsBuddy, offering a superior parent experience.
John Olson, Technology Coordinator at QSI International School of Malta, points out that “by adopting the SchoolsBuddy platform at all 37 schools in the Quality Schools International organization, teachers and administrators have been able to dramatically increase their communications to the parent community, parents and students have been able to easily and efficiently sign up for after school activities, and thanks to standardizing on a single platform, the small headquarters IT support team is able to provide direct support to all of our schools, freeing up valuable time for local IT support teams.”
Implementation across 37 schools was simplified by starting with one location, Kyiv International School. “We set everything up with Kyiv – all the forms, checklists and everything were standardised as much as we could for all the schools,” recalls Scott Carpenter, former Library/Online Resource Coordinator at Kyiv International School. “Then the OpenApply team duplicated that across all our 37 schools. That made it easy.”
“Being new to it, it’s been pretty easy to learn,” adds Cheri Carpenter, Director at QSI International School of Belize. “But it’s also about being aware that I don’t have to do it all in one jump – I can add as I go.” A more gradual rollout meant that QSI could enable their staff to get used to a limited range of functions before adding more. “We had just the OpenApply button, now we’ve added an enquiry button, and we’ll have a tour button at some point,” Cheri explains. “It’s nice to be able to add that in when we’re ready – I don’t feel like I’m being forced to do something by the programme. It’s been a good rollout for that.”
Once rolled out, QSI have appreciated the level of support available to them from the OpenApply team. “The support within OpenApply is really, really good,” says Scott. “I get a response from support staff within a day, and they’ve always been spot on at answering questions. The help within OpenApply is excellent – and you can’t say that for every vendor. The help and the way they step you through everything, with tutorials, is excellent.”
Importantly, Scott adds, the fact that the admin interface is very easy to use makes a particular difference in smaller schools, which may lack dedicated admissions teams and the technical expertise that goes with them.
John concludes, “Without the excellent support of the team at Faria Education Group, Quality Schools International would not have been able to successfully adopt the OpenApply and SchoolsBuddy platforms and onboard and train all 37 of our schools. It has been a wonderful experience working with all the sales and account managers at OpenApply and SchoolsBuddy. A great team supporting great platforms.”
The End Result
OpenApply has transformed the way QSI handles admissions and re-enrolments and has helped to standardise admissions across the whole group. “I’m very glad that we have this system – we’re pushing it pretty hard right now, and I’m excited to hit the ‘re-enrol’ button,” says Cheri.
“Re-enrolment was our first affirmation that we made a good call,” agrees Donn. “The work we put in was absolutely worth it, both for us and for our current families (new families don’t know any different)! It made everything so much more efficient and professional.”
The move from pen and paper to online has given QSI the ability to adapt to meet the needs of different schools, as well as preventing data losses. “Being able to send a link to prospective parents and get the information very quickly and fully has been very nice to be able to do,” says Cheri.
“I like the ease of being able to see all the information in one place,” she adds. “We don’t lose things in OpenApply – it’s all right there, and it’s easy to find it. And I really love the note feature – being able to send a note to the parents, or just add it into the file, so that everyone’s on the same page. I can’t imagine how many sticky notes I lost when I was trying to do this by paper and pencil!”
“I would recommend OpenApply to other schools for two main reasons,” summarises Donn. “First because of the time saved for your admissions department – the time saved contacting people, gathering data, keeping data up to date – all that is put in a nice little shelf and easy to access. Secondly, the professionalism of the whole product.”
“As I learn more about it, I like it more and more,” Cheri concludes. “It’s a good, professional platform that’s easy to use and helps my life, instead of causing me more angst.”