We are fortunate the Mid-Atlantic has an abundance of outstanding independent schools that are focused on educating today’s students to become vibrant participants in a 21st century economy. In today’s highly competitive educational marketplace, families and students have an abundance of choices when it comes to selecting an independent school.

As a parent of two independent school students (one a recent graduate, the other a freshman in High School) and the spouse of a faculty member, I have a deep appreciation and understanding of the admissions challenges that Independent Schools face. Having been personally involved with a Maryland independent school for over 20 years I’ve come to value the role that a progressive education can have in a student’s life.

As Patrick F. Bassett, the National Association of Independent Schools President recently wrote, “Outstanding schools thrive because they evolve to challenge, inspire, and prepare students for an open-ended future. Independent education sits at the center of a strong, sustainable future for our country because of our schools’ adaptability to changing circumstances and environments.”

When it comes to admissions marketing it is precisely those “changing circumstances and environments” that have forced Independent Schools to struggle with successful and measureable ways to distinguish their school from the competition.

That process must begin with a firm understanding of the local demographic landscape in terms of the families who live around your community. Your school needs to have a strong sense of the demographic trends in your area and the ability to find out if families are likely to pay for elementary and high school tuition.

Once those initial steps have been taken, then your school can begin to create a comprehensive admissions marking strategy. Your strategy should be well defined, yet elastic enough to respond to the ever changing environment that confronts us as educational marketers.

Jonathan Oleisky is President of Kalix Communications