4 Things to Consider When Choosing the Right School Administration Software
Originally Published by The Capterra School Administration Blog
School administration software comes in all shapes and sizes for different types of schools, grade levels, and administration needs. Knowing which software to choose and which criteria to look for is the best way to make sure that your choice will be a worthwhile one.
There are many features to consider, such as scheduling and admissions management, which will make all of the difference between a quality software choice and a poor software choice.
Here is a list of options and aspects you ought to consider when choosing the right school administration software.
1. Consider Grade and School Level
There is a significant difference between college and grade school, otherwise college would be treated as yet another step in the K-12 process, rather than as a higher optional level. College and grade-school students have different needs, responsibilities, and living situations, as well as different instructional requirements.
Your school administration software must reflect those needs accordingly so that your administration can provide the best schooling experience possible for your students.
According to EdSurge, the K-12 schools are looking for specific features from the school administration software, such as:
- Easier ways to store administration data such as usernames and passwords
- More help from vendors managing their data that they store in the software
- New capabilities such as strategic talent management to help manage new types of teachers
- Outside software integration capabilities
These feature demands are more specific and unique, outside of the standard features like academic reporting and admissions management.
However, it isn’t a stretch to assume that colleges are looking for these same features in their own administration management systems, so what sets colleges apart from K-12?
Colleges will seek out unique features such as dormitory management, fee-payment systems, book-ordering systems, more elaborate admissions management, and security and identity features not only for faculty, but for the students as well.
Choosing your software based on your grade/school level is important in making sure that all of your school’s administrative needs are covered.
2. Take Backup and Security Functions into Account
Have you ever crashed your computer and lost all of your pictures, videos, and all other important files? It has happened to me before and I can remember the immense frustration I felt when I realized I couldn’t recover any of it after I had lost it all.
Now I make sure to backup all of my important data onto either the cloud, my external hard drive, or to both just to make sure that if any accident were to occur, I will know that my data is safe.
Imagine losing all of your school administration data in a similar fashion because you didn’t take the time to consider such a crash when choosing your school administration software. You don’t want to be stuck without any of your data while running your school and considering backup and security functions is very important when selecting the software for your school.
Key data features to look for:
- Cloud Backup
- Separate Hard Drive Backup (if system is completely on-site)
- Great vendor IT service reviews (to help aid in managing and storing data)
These recommendations also work for security and backup features, since school hacking is more common than you would think and is actually considered difficult to stop. Protecting your data from hackers is key to maintaining the functionality of your school. Your software ought to have a good record of firewall and antivirus protection, as well as an active vendor services that aid in helping you protect your data from unwanted intrusions and theft.
If not, there are also other database management software options out there to choose from.
3. Don’t Forget Remote Access and Networking Capabilities
Your administrators and teachers obviously don’t live at the school, so making sure that they can access the information and capabilities that they need to complete their work, even off-site, is important to consider when choosing a software option.
Networking may have been harder in the past due to the limited capabilities of the internet, but that is no longer the case. At an ever-increasing rate, software is moving into the cloud, providing remote access to your faculty whether they are in the library or on vacation in the Caribbean.
Software options such as Google Apps for Education allow administrators, teachers, and even students to access grades, assignments, and other administrative information at the click of a button, so long as they have access to an internet connection.
This trend ought to influence your decision of whether you want to take the old-school route of on-site software, or will push you into the future of unlimited accessibility thanks to the internet.
4. Consider Student and Faculty Sizes
Some software options charge a premium on larger schools in order to manage larger pools of data due to a large faculty and an even larger student body. This coincides with the consideration of which type of school you are managing with this software, since the type of school you run will play a large factor into the size of your school and the software you choose.
Smaller K-12 schools won’t require large amounts of data storage, whereas a large and popular university will need the capabilities to manage a massive pool of students and an army of professors and admissions personnel.
Also, when choosing data storage sizes for your school administration software, don’t forget to keep the future in mind in case you decide to grow or shrink the size of your school. Choosing software options that will allow you the flexibility to change your data storage plans helps in giving you peace of mind in your selection.
Are there any other considerations that we forgot to add to our list? What was the criteria you were looking for when choosing school administration software? Let us know in the comments below!