Calendly: How to automate the booking of school counseling appointments with your parents

In this step-by-step, learn how to set up a Calendly page to automate the booking of your Individual Graduation Plans (IGP) with parents.  Calendly helps the appointment-booking process by keeping track of your availability (as measured by your Google calendar or Office 365 calendar) and only booking appointments online that you have the time for.  This example is guidance-counselor-specific but can be used for many other purposes in education.

1. Account Setup

Enter an email into the field and Calendly will detect what service you have – Google or Office 365.  You can then choose a password and enter your publicly-seen name.

2. Calendar Connection

After watching the video, it is important to create a “bridge” from Calendly into your Google or Office 365 calendar.  From the drop-down menu, select Calendar Connection.

3. Calendar Connection Settings

1)  Verify that you calendar is checked for conflicts (the switch should say Yes in green).  

2) Select which of your calendars that you want to be checked for conflicts.

3) Then, choose what calendar you want Calendly to send your events to. 

4) After checking these settings, click Dashboard to return to the home screen.

All of these options seem to be set to the default, but know that advanced users may want their IGP or other appointments to be set to another calendar and that Calendly will check as many calendars in that account as you want.

You should only need to do this once when you create your account.

4. Select Event Type

From the Dashboard, select the length of meeting you want to use.  Click the drop-down arrow and then Edit. 

Note: With the free version of Calendly, you can only use one type of event at a time.

5. Edit Event

From this screen, you can make many edits to the automation that Calendly provides.  

Each section will have a Save and close as you make edits to each section.

6. What event is this?

In What event is this? you can:

Change the event name, location, description and the event link that you send to parents.

Click Save and close after you make any changes here.

7. When can people book this event?

In the “When can people book this event?” section, you can choose 1) how long these appointments are; 2) when these appointments can be booked; and 3) how far out parents can book your appointments.  

Availability is a setting that looks at the window of time you want your meetings to start and end.  Since the meetings last 30 minutes, this example shows that the last meeting on Monday can be scheduled at 3:00.  Calendly accounts for how long the meeting lasts and works backwards from your availability settings.  

You can customize your availability each day (to give yourself lunch, for example) or turn off certain days’ availability entirely (to give yourself a catch-up day, for example).  Making changes in here affects your regular availability.  Don’t program exceptions into Calendly such as doctors’ appointments or other meetings.  Remember that existing events or appointments on your Google or Office 365 calendar are referenced here.  So, if you have a staff meeting scheduled on Monday at 10AM, parents will not be able to book an appointment there if you add that exception/appointment yourself to your Google or Office 365 calendar.  

Notice how in this example, extra intervals were built to block out lunch (12-1PM), but morning and afternoon availabilities were offered.  On Tuesday, an earlier lunch (11AM) is scheduled to allow more flexibility for parents to get to school during the week.  Sundays and Saturdays are turned off, which means no meetings can be booked during those times as well.

Ultimately, you make your own availability here in Calendly.  Exceptions such as meetings other than IGPs or days you take off should be blocked out in your Google or Office 365 Calendly.

Click Save and close after you make any changes here.

8. Question Form

In the Question Form  section, you can ask a parent or guardian for additional information by adding an additional Question.  Remember that Calendly automatically collects names and emails of the person booking the appointment, which will mostly be the parent/guardian.  So, you’ll want to be sure to also collect the student’s name (for easy lookup in your student information system i.e. PowerSchool) and an updated phone number so you can make any changes in your records.

You can set each additional question as Required or Optional.

Click Save and close after you make any changes here.

9. Invitee Notifications

In Invitee Notifications, you can personalize the messages that Calendly sends.  By default, it will include an email with the date, time and other details of the meeting.  Personalization is optional, but can be used to remind parents of what to bring or discuss with their student prior to the meeting.

This is the section that you will use to also add the Reminder emails, which are not set by default. 

Click Save and close after you make any changes here.  

10. Preview Your Meeting Page

Once you’re done editing the event, click view live page to see what your parents would see.  You can also run a test to see what the email notifications look like by booking a dummy appointment.  This is a good step to take to verify that all of your settings reflect your intentions.

11. Return to Event Types

Once you’re done editing the event, click <Event Types to return to the Events list.

12. Event Types

From the Event Types list, 1) be sure your IGP event is set to ON.  All 2) other events should be OFF.  Then, 3) click on the gear to find the 4) Copy Link to your IGP meeting.  Post that link on your school’s website.  You should only need to post it once.  If you go back and change any of the availability settings, you can use the same link without re-copying it.

For advanced users, you can use Embed to post a window to your availability directly on the website.

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