Selecting a School Management Software

Written by Jonathan McGraw

Senior Product Designer

July 14, 2022

Why School Management Software?

When it comes to running a school, you need to accomplish many tasks each day. Before selecting a school management software, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when juggling admissions, finances, communications, and student information.

Administrators often find themselves with a demanding admin workload that takes their attention away from the day-to-day needs of parents and students. Admins are stressed, and parents feel disconnected.

Admins attempt to use multiple software programs to run their schools—GoogleDocs, website forms, spreadsheets, standalone payment processors—but soon they realize that this method doesn’t alleviate the administrative stress and confusion they are experiencing.

The Solution

Thankfully, school management software is available to help schools streamline their processes, reduce stress levels, and help parents feel more connected to their children’s education.

This article provides an overview of some standard school management software features and suggests some questions when selecting a school management software.

What is School Management Software?

School management software is a computer program that helps schools operate more efficiently, save money, and improve communication with parents.

School management software can automate repetitive tasks, coordinate admissions processes, take attendance, manage student finances, accept tuition payments, improve communications, store student information securely, and more.

The main goals of school management software are to increase a school’s operational efficiency and to strengthen the parent-school relationship.

Eight Common School Management Software Features

There are many types of school management software, each with various features. Here are some standard features:

  1. Student Record Management – Store and manage all student information securely. Admins can effortlessly search, filter, and organize student records.
  2. Admissions Process – Build online admissions processes for multiple school programs. Create custom questionnaires, collect admissions fees, schedule and conduct interviews, and more.
  3. Attendance Tracking – Track student attendance and automatically generate attendance reports.
  4. Automated Workflows – Create automations to perform repetitive tasks, send automatic reminders to parents, or add student tags to organize students.
  5. Tuition Payments – Customize tuition payment schedules and collect tuition fees monthly through a trusted payment processor.
  6. Student Resources – Create and organize downloadable student resources such as student handbooks or other orientation materials.
  7. Financial Reporting – Keep track of fees, payments, and discounts. Easily download financial records for use by the school accounting team.
  8. Parent Portal AccessParents can log in and manage their students’ admissions, finances, communication, and resources.

These core features will go a long way in organizing a school and making day-to-day operations less stressful for admins.

Ten Questions to Ask When Selecting Software

Each school has different needs and challenges that they face. Here are some questions you should ask when selecting a school management software for your school.

  1. Does it have the features my school needs? – Some software offers too many features. Find software that includes only the features you need without confusing excess.
  2. Is it easy for staff and parents to understand and use? – The software you choose should be easy for staff and parents to learn and use. An intuitive, simple interface that is up-to-date with today’s design trends will create a better experience for admins and families.
  3. Does it improve my school’s relationship with parents? – The software should make it easier for admins to communicate with parents. Parents who receive regular communication feel more confident that their children receive a quality education from a school they can trust.
  4. Does it save my school time? – Staff should be able to complete admin tasks more quickly with the software than without it. Remember, the goal is to improve efficiency!
  5. Does it save the school money? – The best way to determine cost savings is to multiply the school admin’s hourly rate by the number of hours it takes to accomplish a task without the software vs. with the software.
  6. Is software support available and responsive to customer needs? – Does the software company have a good track record with customer service? Are they responsive to customer help requests?
  7. Can the software accommodate school growth? – The software you choose should be able to grow with your school. Be sure the software isn’t limited in the number of students, staff, parents, and other data it can accommodate.
  8. Is the software updated regularly? – Is the software company committed to improving its platform and staying current with industry trends? Be sure the company is committed to a long-term partnership with your school.
  9. Is the software consistently reliable? – Is the software platform down or unavailable regularly? Is it buggy and unreliable? Choose a solid, dependable, and time-tested product.
  10. Does the software company offer a new school onboarding process? – Will it be easy to transition from your current systems to the new school management software? Choose a software company that will work with you one-on-one to ensure your school is successful.

Wrapping Up

There is a great deal to consider when selecting a school management software. But, a good software streamlines processes and reduces admin stress levels. It also helps parents feel more connected to the school. Doing research and selecting the right software for your school is well worth the effort.

While there is much software to choose from, we recommend Align, a school management software that includes all of the features mentioned in this article. The Align team is friendly, responsive, and knowledgeable.

If you want a system to streamline your school’s operations, don’t hesitate to contact Align for a free, one-on-one product demo.

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