Improve Retention with New Student Welcome Packets

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strong-martial-arts-community

Why did the new student cross the road?

Because he had no idea where he was going.

Okay, that’s a poor attempt at humor, but it’s a serious problem you’ve seen time and time again. When new students don’t get a good start, they’re far more likely to give up on martial arts or try a different school. Many times when this happens, it’s not because you don’t care. But rather, because you’re extremely busy. You can’t be everywhere at the same time.

That’s where welcome packets come in. Welcome packets will help your new students transition into your school community, quickly and easily. Welcome packets answer those ever so common questions and show your students you care about their success.

To help you create your welcome packet, we’ve outlined the main things to include below. But don’t let our list be an exhaustive one. Let your imagination and knowledge of what your students need make your welcome packet the best it can be.

Main Sections:

1. About Us, Mission & Vision

Tell your students about your philosophies, school lineage and instructors. You can also write a welcome letter and include it here.

united-studios-of-self-defense-history

2. School Expectations and Rules

Explain your expectations, including details on uniforms and necessary equipment. It’s also helpful to mention your testing policy and the frequency to which you test students.

3. Student Agreements

Although most students will have signed an agreement before they receive their welcome packet, it’s still a good idea to list your cancellation policy and an overview of the terms of your agreements. Students will appreciate having that information handy when they have questions going forward.

4. Upcoming Events Calendar

We recommend planning the dates for your major events several months out, so include those that are upcoming in this section.

5. Software Cheat Sheet

Give your students the information they need to use your student management software and check-in kiosk.martial artist checkin in for class

6. Referral Program

As you know, you won’t get as many referrals if you don’t ask for them. Even if your referral program is still being built, say a few words about your desire and appreciation for referrals. As a bonus, include a few guest passes for your students to share with their friends.

7. Retail Sales Overview

If you sell branded shirts, nutritional products or gis, explain why you choose these products. If you’d like to incentivize sales, include a discount code too.

martial-arts-branded-retail

8. Confirmation of Receipt

Some school owners print a page for students to sign and return as a way to acknowledge they received their packet. This is an extra step, but signed confirmations often come in handy if when there’s a debate about your policies or students agreements.

Presentation:

There are a few different ways to pull your packet together.

Paperless: Create a single document with headings and individual sections one after the other. Microsoft Word has a professional manual template that will make the layout easy to manage. You can then email the document to your students. This version is most cost effective, but when you need to a single page, the whole document will need a little reformatting.

3 Ring Binder: If you choose this route, you will need tabbed dividers for each section. From there, you can edit and print sections individually. If one section needs to be edited, it won’t cause you to have to reformat the whole document. The downside to using a binder is the cost of supplies.

Big Envelope: This choice is a hybrid of the two above. You can use a single document to detail the sections that change less frequently, like the first two sections we listed. Then use several individual pages for your frequently changing sections, like your event calendar. Print all pages and present them to your students in a big envelope.

Much like introductions and extra direction, welcome packets should be a vital step in guiding your students to success.


Looking for additional ways to better retain your students? Get your copy of our free guide, Four Essential Strategies for Student Retention.

martial arts student retention guide

Shilo Lucyk

Shilo Lucyk

In her spare time Shilo enjoys teaching yoga classes, doing CrossFit® and reading anything she can get her hands on.

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