VirginiaLynne is mother of five who loves a bargain. She extensively researches the products she reviews to help other families.
Do you dread school registration each year with the headache of long lines, misplaced cash, and frustrated parents attempting to fill out forms while keeping their kids in check? Have you wished your school registration process could be simpler and easier for the school and the parents? You might want to consider switching to Online School Registration.
How Online is Different
Multiple Uses for both Forms and Payments: Online registration for schools can be used by your school not only for registration but also for making payments, accessing school records and updating information.
Multiple Languages: Information is available for your parents in multiple languages, so you can be assured that your parents who don't have English as their first language understand what they are filling out.Your school won't have to worry about translators or multiple-language forms.
Standard and Customizable Forms and Reports: Your school can use online standard forms and reports or you can create customized ones. Both types of forms can be pre-populated with student and emergency information making it quicker and easier for your parents to complete.
Up-to-Date information: Your parents can easily update information and when they do, schools have immediate access to the updates. Similarly, your parents can have updated student records easily and quickly.
5 Benefits for Schools and Families
- Online School Registration Costs Less in Time and Money: If your school is average, you spend $10 each year for paper-based registration. Online registration for schools can reduce this cost to as little as $3 per student. In addition, your school will save hundreds of hours of time spent by staff to enter and update records, as well as saving parents time in completing forms.
- Easier for Parents: Parents do not have to wait in line and fill out redundant forms. Updating information is easier and so are payments for school supplies, yearbooks, and other school related expenses.
- Financial Security: Your school doesn't have to worry about handling cash and entering information. Parents can use credit cards for payments. Generally, Online Registration systems use standard secure access (SSL, Username, and Password).
- Financial Accountability: With online payments, financial transactions are more transparent and auditing is easier. Your school personnel and your parents will have access to records of payments more easily
- Information Stored Centrally and Shared More Easily: Your school can keep all information in a central location with seamless integrating and updating with other private schools, independent schools, school districts and charter schools who use the Student Information Systems (SIS).
Parents Register from Home
- Parents who don't have Internet Access: Perhaps the biggest disadvantage is that not all of the parents at your school may have access to the Internet easily. Although most public libraries offer Internet services for free, those can't be used for payments securely and parents who don't have The internet may not easily have transportation to get to the library either. One solution to this possible problem is to have time set aside at the school for parents who need to use school computers to do their registration process. Most probably, that will be a small number of parents.
- Initial Set-up: As with any new computer system, there will be a period of set-up and training for staff. Most of the time, there are also glitches that occur in any new program which can sometimes take staff time and energy to solve.
- Computer Outages: Any problem with your computer network can potentially cause problems in the online school registration too. That might happen if there are many people trying to register at the same time. Of course, if the staff has to enter all of the information that is written down in long hand by parents in the regular registration process, that is also affected by computer glitches.
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One administrator's experience
What to Consider in Choosing
Whether you are a parent or administrator, you might want to investigate online school registration services for your school. Whether your school is private, independent, public or a charter school, these services might help your registration and payment process go much smoother and more easily. Better yet, in the long run, it will cost less than paper systems.
Generally, online school registration can be easier, and more efficient at keeping track of records and payments. Moreover, the parents at your school can provide more up-to-date information from any computer, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
As a parent, I've experienced both regular and online registration at our school. While I sometimes think that the new online system asks me to put in the same information too many times (we have 9 forms to fill out for every child who is playing sports!), I think that overall the Online system is easier and more convenient. The frustration I have is probably due to glitches in the system which can be fixed.
What I like best is that the data is saved in the system and I don't have to enter everything every year. It is also easier for the school to make changes of addresses or phone numbers and make sure that it gets changed on every campus and every form. Overall, I prefer online and don't miss the long lines!
Questions & Answers
Question: What are the advantages and disadvantages of postal registration?
Answer: I think an advantage of doing postal registration is that someone does not need to have access to the internet. Moreover, most people are much more familiar with filling out forms with paper. As we all know, computer forms have glitches which can be annoying and irritating. Have you ever had a question on a form that you couldn't answer and the form would not let you skip it? In our school district, all registration is now online, but the district always has computers set up to allow parents to register at the school with help if they need it. A strong disadvantage of postal registration is that someone must then enter the information into the computer system (which most schools use to keep track of records) and that takes a lot of personal time. With online registration, parents can update their address and other information, and it will appear on the records right away.
Question: What are the weaknesses of the online registration system?
Answer: Since I originally wrote this article, I've personally had to operate a variety of online school registration systems with my five children. I think that the weakness of an online system is that it tends to be very cumbersome to fill out, and often the software systems have flaws that cause the submission process of the forms to work incorrectly, causing the parent to have to fill everything out again. I've also been annoyed by the fact that I have to fill out the same information so many times for each child. Of course, I used to have to do the same thing when I did a paper and pencil registration, but it seems to me it should be less repetitive with an online system. For my children to participate in sports, I had to fill out nine separate online papers correctly and have them go through the system entirely. That just about drove me crazy when I had three children in sports one year. Why couldn't that have all been done on one page? I think that my overall comment is that most of the systems I have used could be better, more efficient and more user-friendly.
Question: What are the disadvantages and advantages of a central application office for school registration?
Answer: Disadvantages of a central application office, as opposed to online school registration, would be that people need to appear in person to register and that can be time-consuming and inconvenient if people have trouble getting there or have to work. Additionally, when people fill out paper forms, then someone needs to enter those forms into a computer or else file them, so a central application office requires more personal time. Advantages of the system are that people do not need computer access and it can be easier for a person to ask questions in person.