Ah, the good old summertime. Days filled with warm temperatures under the glow of the sun. After being cooped up for so long, the last thing most people want to think about is going to school, even if it is online.

However, many CE programs are reporting an increase in their enrollment over the past few years.  The reason for this trend is the fact that a CE student can attend class from anywhere, especially when all you need is a laptop and a good WIFI connection. So, instead of closing up shop and expecting little to no enrollment this summer, why not employ some creative incentives to increase your enrollment numbers.

Offer Discounts or Special Summer Pricing

Let’s face it; the cost of tuition is always a factor no matter the time of year. Never is this more apparent, though, than in summer. With many people planning summer vacations, just the thought of adding CE tuition to their expenses is a turnoff. To help offset these expenses, you can offer special summer discounts on certain classes or class materials. You could even offer a reduced price for taking a bundle of classes or for early enrollment. These incentives can help ease the financial burden many students might be feeling.

Promote Classes, Early and Often

Don’t wait until just before summer to promote your summer classes. Launch your summer class campaign as early as spring. Send out emails to current students or utilize your social media platforms to begin generating interest in summer classes.

You can host webinars, post videos or sponsor Google+ hangouts with professors who will be teaching these classes to let students know that they will receive the same attention in the summer that students do during the year.

Develop a social media publishing schedule to ensure your summer school promotion is constant and delivered in a timely fashion.  Encourage previous summer school students to share their experiences. Remember, word-of-mouth always goes a long way.

Offer Special Summer Online Events

Another great strategy for encouraging summer enrollment is to plan special events that are geared for summer students. You want your summer students to feel like they are part of an exclusive community. By letting them know that their summer class offers more than just a great CE online, you might see your enrollment increase.

A lot of students have internships during the summer, so why not offer a type of online internship program. Connect with companies that are relevant to your courses and have them provide special assignments available only to summer students. Setup online events where students can interact with professionals in the industry they are looking to break into. These can range from Q&A sessions to a day-in-the life vlogs.

Again, this is also a great place to use social media. Ask your followers what they would like to learn about, or who they would like to speak with. The more you engage, the better you enrollment will be.

Remind Students to Take You With Them

The biggest benefit to online CE programs is that they are portable. They can go with you when you are the beach or on vacation. Remind students of this important benefit. Start a “Take Us with You Campaign.” Showcase all the places students can learn online during the summer.

If you have the budget, create banners and landing pages that tout the importance of summer learning and show students enjoying classes from their favorite summer places.  You can even offer scholarships to students who come up with the most creative essay about where they plan on doing their online learning. Remember, your goal is to increase summer enrollment by reminding students that learning doesn’t just stop when the year heats up.


Author Rick J. Stern

Entrepreneur Rick Stern built Xenegrade Corp with a focus on service to educational organizations. With an MBA from Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester and over 20 years continuing education management, his experience provides valuable insight into the needs, demands, and trends of the continuing education market.

More posts by Rick J. Stern

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