Re: What would you say to a new student?
I second the suggestion up above to have a content-rich web page. That puts all the information out there and allows students to find what they need, when they need it. I'd ideally keep the new student hand-out materials to no more than one sheet of paper (both sides if needed). Anyone motivated to read more than that will be also be motivated to look at the web page. Anyone who isn't will just file the paper away somewhere, where they won't think of it months later when they actually want the information.
Must have new student information:
(This goes on the one page hand out.)
* Welcome and intro to the dojo. One paragraph maximum.
* Dues cost and payment information. Cancellation policy? Weapons and uniforms? Family discounts?
* Class times, including any restrictions on who can attend class. If there are restrictions, how long does it typically take to "graduate" to the more advanced classes? Expected/recommended number of classes per week to make progress?
* Instructor/senior student information. Who are the people to ask with questions? (Mention rank signifiers like hakama here.) Which classes do they teach? Maybe a paragraph on the chief instructor, no more than a couple of sentences on anyone else.
And that's IT. Put everything else on the web.
Additional handouts that are useful to have around the dojo. Don't give to new students, just show them where to find when needed.
* Rank requirements. We have a couple of laminated sheets with the time and technique requirements for each test. Having extra copies that students can take is good, too.
* Seminar schedule. Post a calendar, noting any deviations from the normal class schedule.
* General information brochure. Primarily for visitors, but new students can also give them to curious friends.
* Dojo rules and training expectations. Okay, maybe give this one to new students, but only if you can keep it to a single-sided page or less. Otherwise it's off-putting.