Updated: May 9
by Trevor Waddington, Principal, Truth Tree
DISCLAIMER: I am not advocating that you sock puppet a private school review. Nor am I suggesting you tell parents exactly what to write.
We all know reviews can play a significant role in a family’s enrollment decision. In fact, experts say it takes FORTY good reviews to undo ONE lousy review. I think that’s a bit much in our industry, but a well-crafted and cleverly-timed private school review can wreak havoc on your enrollment outlook.
The Ultimate Private School Review
To counteract that scathing, one-star review, here is the ultimate private school review and the psychology of WHY.
Let’s Dissect this Private School Review
Rawthenticity - a combination of raw and authentic - is a blend that millennials love when it comes to reviews.
If your school has 43 reviews, and 40 of them are 5-stars, the user will likely disregard them as “too good to be true.” For those parents that do buy into those reviews, you set the bar very high, and anything less than perfect may have such a parent questioning enrollment each year.
The Waddington Effect
When we were first looking for schools for our two children, I was skeptical...Two years later, I am enthralled.
I searched and searched for the name of this effect and could not find it. Here’s hoping “The Waddington Effect” will catch on. If you do know the name that describes the following scenario, leave a comment below.
The author was very skeptical.
The author is now a believer.
If you are ≤ “very skeptical”, especially if you harbor the same skepticism, you will become a believer because the author became a believer.
The Authority Bias
I’m an educational psychologist, so I’m pretty up-to-date on what constitutes a well-balanced education.
We tend to ascribe greater accuracy to the opinion of an authority figure and be more influenced by it. So whether you think the author is bragging about his job or not, he has a level of expertise. The bigger the purchase for goods or services, the more we rely on expert advice. And if we are rookie buyers, we rely on authority figures to guide us even more.
The Ellsberg Mob
...my wife loved the school, and my kids had their hearts set on Truth Tree Academy. Plus, everyone I talked to said Truth Tree was the best.
Daniel Ellsberg’s Paradox demonstrates that people are wired to avoid risk. In this private school review, you’ve got 2 children, 1 mother, and “everyone” the author talked to. That’s a lot of people who think highly of Truth Tree's Digital Marketing for Schools Services, thereby making it a less risky investment.
We looked at several schools with long histories of excellence and better reputations for rigorous academics.
It’s a big no-no in our industry to answer the inevitable parent question, ‘why should we choose your school over school X, Y, or Z?’ This private school review gives indirect indices that Truth Tree Academy is better than the other K-12 schools in the area. It doesn’t take a genius reader to surmise who the other K-12 schools are, which can be as sticky as a bad review on the other schools’ review pages.