Founded in 1998, AdmissionsQuest connects families with boarding schools and private schools through a growing network of school profiles. Schools can register to upload photos, videos, event information, and much more to help families find the right fit for their needs.
Brian Fisher has been a partner in AdmissionsQuest since the beginning and is an authority on all things boarding school and private school. Here are 5 questions we asked Brian:
1. Where did the initial spark for AdmissionsQuest come from?
Initially, we began with the idea of serving primarily international families with on-line school information translated into various languages.
For several years, we settled into a three pronged service; we built and operated on-line admission applications for schools; published school profiles/our catalog; and, we offered educational consulting services.Then, we sold the on-line application to another software provider so that we could focus on the ‘people side’ of the admission process.
Today, we work solely to connect schools and families. Schools present themselves through membership in our on-line catalog. We publish guides and references- like Understanding Private School Financial Aid; what it is & how to apply- to help families through the boarding school admission FA processes; and, AQ Educational Consulting provides professional services to families seeking help with their admission and school choice processes.
2. What is the biggest issue families face when trying to find the right school?
I’m going to say two things- financial aid and school fit. Families have to find the best fitting school and, in today’s world, apply for financial aid.
Schools like all industries have brand name institutions that can dominate the landscape and draw lots of attention. But, these powerhouse, high profile schools aren’t- by any means- the best school for every student.
We talk about finding the best school fit. For every student the best fitting school is different. It could be a large, or small, school. It could a boys/girls school. It could be a powerhouse athletic school. It could be a school with a learning support program. It could a school with strong performing or visual arts. It could be a rural school. It could be an urban school.
The trick for a family is finding the school that will meet their student where he/she stands on opening day and grow that student the furthest during his/her time there.That’s a very different place for each kid. All the financial aid in the world isn’t worth a darn if the school fit isn’t good.
3. Your bio on AdmissionsQuest includes a long list of positions you’ve held at boarding schools—everything from teacher to admissions assistant. How has this background impacted the company?
I’m the resident old school insider. I know lots of history and stories. And, I still get to hear from families- what, and how, they’re thinking.
4. How has social media changed the school selection process for families?
Greatly. Schools now dedicate themselves to presenting their stories and messages via SM.
SM is a primary research tool for families considering a school. SM is the conduit for families to hear from other families, and from the school about how the school works and what is happening on campus.
Social media is another conduit to connect the school with prospective families- as well as all other school constituencies.
5. How has AdmissionsQuest adapted to meet the changing needs of online users?
As I mentioned early, we sold the software piece of our work to focus on people so that’s one big change.
I think the biggest change though is recognizing and understanding the multiple communications channels of each school. We all now know the importance of not just our own web site- but also the importance of our photo streams, our video channel, our reviews, our social media presence.
We’ve adapted by working to connect families researching boarding schools with any, and all, of the media channels that a particular school uses. The important thing to tell the story and to get prospective families interested in and connected to the story.
Visit www.admissionsquest.com for more information.