When it comes to choosing the best school management software for your language school, there are a lot of different factors to consider. So what are the essential needs of your language school?
You don't need the top language school management software, you need the one that is best for you. So let's dive into some of these questions. This way, you can find the school management system that is the right fit for your school.
At Demiks, we lean more towards online or cloud-based school management software for language centres - why? because it's our specialty! In all seriousness, you can find school management software downloads (open-sourced and licensed) as well as school management apps to download, and those may be best suited to your specific needs, but we tend to feel cloud-based is the way to go. Keeping your school management system online means no records are lost if your laptop suddenly quits on you. It means you can access your administrative system wherever you are, so if you find yourself suddenly working from home, you don't have to lug home your desktop. As well, for many of us, this year has meant a shift to online learning, so if your classes are online, why not your office management!
This is the most important question, so let's break it down a bit.
When it comes to choosing school management software for your language school, you will quickly notice that not all school management software was built with you in mind.
A lot of the school management systems you will find, both cloud-based and open-source, are designed for large public and private institutions like elementary and high schools. That's why we're taking a closer look at what makes specific school management software the best for language schools.
As you well know, language schools have their own particular needs and priorities. Many of the best language learning centres are much smaller than your typical high school - both in terms of registered students and in terms of number of employees.
When you are trying to choose the classroom management system that is right for you, you want to be sure that you are finding something tailored to your size. Some school management software charges a fee per registered student or a different price for a different amount of linked teacher accounts. This isn't always as expensive as it sounds (many charge between $0.10 and $2 per student), but is certainly something to think about when you are choosing your school management software.
What is your maximum enrolment? Has your enrolment changed since you made the move to online learning?
Your language school is also a business and taking steps like switching to a school management system should help you to grow your business, as well as organize your life! So take the time to consider not only your current number of registered language learners, but also your maximum capacity.
Who is in charge of enrolment and where do your students come from? Your school management software should help you to attract and register new students. Think about where your leads are typically coming from - your school's website, online ads, word of mouth cold calling? How are you currently tracking and managing your leads? Maybe school management software that functions like a CRM (Client Relations Management Software) could be a helpful fit for you.
When it comes to student records, different institutions have different priorities for their school information management. Many language schools rely on different evaluation systems than typical, generalized educational institutions. Your adult learners will be assessed throughout their course by their teacher in order to ensure progress, but you don't necessarily maintain records of letter grades or percentage grades for completed courses. Many language schools function on a pass fail system to establish if a language learner is ready to move to the next level. Perhaps you don't need school management software that is designed to save and organize report cards.
As well, language learners will sometimes start and stop their courses at different times of the year, rather than following a four-year program typical to a university, for example. Many language learners will choose periods when courses are best suited to their schedule or their needs. For example, maybe you have an increase in private lessons around winter and spring exam periods. Maybe you have language students who sign up for intensive summer programs, or a burst in January New Year's resolution enrolments!
The best school management software for your school is one that will allow you the flexibility to start and stop classes and registration at your rhythm.
It will allow you to keep student records that are relevant to your school. If a student completes Intermediate Conversational English for the Workplace in January and then wants to return for Advanced English lessons the following January, you want to be able to easily find their records and all of the information you need to re-enroll them.
Similarly, if you add a new class called Advanced Conversational English for the Workplace, you want to be able to easily find the records of all of your students who finished the previous program so you can reach out and let them know there is a new course they might like. Again, your language school management system should provide some of the best CRM tools for you as well.
Attendance is also a different issue for language schools because in some cases this will have a direct correlation with your invoicing and billing. Your school likely has a specific cancellation policy for private lessons (for example, the student pays 50% if they cancel within 48 hours and can't reschedule). Your school management system should allow you to clearly access your attendance records, your invoicing, and your platform for communicating with your students within a few clicks.
Because many schools are currently virtual and focusing on online learning, you can't rely on your teacher to bring a piece of paper with check boxes to your head office at the end of the day. You want attendance tracking to be as efficient as possible for your teachers who already have a lot of adapting to do as they make the switch to teaching online. Look for a school management software system which allows students to fill out attendance directly in the platform without having to send a separate e-mail at the end of class.
When it comes to scheduling, as mentioned above, you probably don't have a typical "school day" schedule like a high school.
Maybe you have evening classes as well as mornings and weekends. Maybe you have teachers who work on part-time schedules, and maybe your class start dates are contingent upon achieving certain registration goals.
Your language school management software should allow you to easily access and compare:
This way, you can easily see where you have openings, overlaps, and potential in your schedule. Importantly, you want all scheduling information to not only be easily accessible to you and the administration team, but also to your teachers. Make sure the school management software you choose allows you to share calendars, schedule changes, and updates with your teaching staff.
If your school has recently moved online, you may be facing the sometimes confusing process of organizing all of the online classes. Who is using which username? How many licenses or what kind of license do you need for the videoconferencing platform you have chosen?
Which students need to receive which links? How do you make sure your virtual classrooms are secure? All of this can be a lot to manage.
Given the popularity of online learning, a lot of school management software now comes with integrated videoconferencing platforms. If scheduling this aspect of your online courses has become a headache for your administration, you want a language school management system that will help you to book classes into the right conference calls and to make sure students and teachers are receiving the right links, without your administrative team having to spend hours each day copy and pasting Zoom codes and passwords into emails.
Last but certainly not least, invoicing and keeping records of payment are essential to a successful language school. Given the variety of course offerings, the variety of start dates, and the private lessons often offered by language schools, you may find that invoicing involves a lot more that two tuition periods.
Private language lessons in particular can be the source of a lot of extra work for your administration if students are maybe only registering for one or two months at a time. Or maybe a student starts by enrolling in one lesson a week, but wants to switch to twice a week in preparation for a job interview or exam. Or maybe your student started taking lessons that were paid for by their employer, but they want to continue out of their own pocket.
Whatever the situations may be, you always need to be on top of your invoicing.
Your language school management software should be your best friend when it comes to issuing invoices, keeping track of payments (both completed and outstanding payments), following up on outstanding payments, calculating sales tax and special discounts, and even processing payments online.
Whether your payment periods are the same for all of your students or varied, your school management system should help keep you organized - not just now, but down the line. When it comes to filing or paying your taxes, whether you are sending materials to an external accountant or doing it yourself, you want to be sure that your records are always available, and always organized! (This is another reason we love online / cloud-based school management software for language schools!)
At Demiks, we have created school management software specifically designed for language schools. If your school is an online school or in-person, or a hybrid of the two, we have solutions suited to your needs. Most importantly, we work closely with language schools to be constantly evolving our system to suit the needs of their language learning centres. Even if you are using our free school management software for your language school, you can always share your feedback with us to let us know how we can grow.
Our free management system for language schools is not a free trial, it's free software. So you don't have to worry about us calling you up to ask for a credit card after 30 days. Of course, we do have different school management software options (and some are paid plans), but it's entirely up to you to choose and use what works best for you.
We are focused on creating a great system to help bring the best to language schools. Sign up here for our free school management software. If you have questions and want to talk to a person about the specific school information and administrative management needs of your language school, we're just a phone call or an email away!
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