6 min read

Navigating seasonal shifts in enrollments
Prepare for annual ups and downs in the virtual learning market related to holidays, school vacations, and seasonal interests.
Updated October 2022

If you’ve been teaching on Outschool for a while, you may have noticed that certain times of the year bring more interest in your classes than others. There are, of course, plenty of reasons why you may see a bump or slump in enrollments for your teaching business. Maybe you’re receiving more sign-ups because you hit on a trending topic with your age group or sent out a great marketing campaign. Perhaps you need more effective class funnels or keywords in your class listings to bring you out of an enrollment rut.

If you just can’t land on a reason why some of your classes are taking off or falling behind, you may be experiencing the effects of typical seasonal shifts in the Outschool marketplace. While there are no hard and fast rules governing enrollment trends for online classes, our data analysts observe some general ups and downs each year.

The following are a few seasonal changes that you can anticipate as you plan when and what you’d like to teach on Outschool. We recommend using these insights as general guidelines, and remember that understanding shifts in enrollments at different times of the year is only one piece of finding success for your teaching business.

The January effect

The month of January usually brings in over 50% more bookings for educators on Outschool than any other month of the year.

You can think of this month as Outschool’s grand opening for the year. Everyone is eager to rush in and see what’s new, find their favorite classes, and pack their calendar with schooling and extracurricular activities.

Families typically start booking January classes around October, so don’t wait to list your new year classes as soon as September comes to a close (or even earlier, if you want to stay ahead of the game).

1-on-1, ongoing, semester, and short-term classes are some of the most popular January class formats, so make sure to include some or all of those formats in your class catalog.

And here’s an extra tip for winning the 1-on-1 market in January: Try to add a ton of availability to your class calendar using the auto-scheduling feature.

Families can’t book your classes if they’re not listed, and you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to start each new year off strong.

Watch for schedule shake-ups

Whenever families’ usual routines are disrupted, we’ve noticed that Outschool is one place they turn to for help. An easy way to remember when interest in online classes may grow or fall off is to think about widespread schedule-changing events like holidays and school vacations. In general, families take more time off from virtual learning when celebrating major holidays, and those dates could be a good time for you to take your own well-deserved vacation from teaching.

However, schedule changes don’t always mean a simple rise or fall in enrollments across the board. We’ve also noticed that families begin searching for different types of classes during these time periods. For example, some families choose to pause ongoing class subscriptions during extended school breaks in December and instead sign-up for one-time or camp classes that follow a holiday theme or can easily fit into their shifted routine.

Anticipate school semesters

Educators on Outschool—especially those who teach core academic subjects—typically see an increase in interest in their classes at the beginning of school semesters in North America and Europe. The largest enrollment periods of the year usually take place from mid-January to mid-February (as we noted above).

During these seasons, semester classes and 1-on-1 classes grow in popularity as parents look for multi-week courses that their learners can participate in throughout the school term. Best practice is to create semester class sections about 6-12 weeks before they begin, so parents have time to consider your course and sign up.

Create camps that captivate learners

Many schools in North America and Europe have extended school vacations between June and August, and an additional 2-3 week vacation from late December to early January. These are the seasons when camp classes thrive! A class must meet two or more times within the same week to be considered a camp.

Parents tend to enroll in camps (“summer camps” for families in the Northern Hemisphere) beginning in April and continue signing up through early August. Families may also start signing up for “winter break” camps in early or mid-December.

Don’t forget: Not all school systems or regions follow this vacation schedule, and learners outside of North America and Europe may remain interested in other types of classes during these seasons. Visit this post for more global learner insights.

Harness interest in major holidays or celebrations

While many families take a break from online classes on or around popular holidays, educators may find success creating holiday-themed classes in the weeks or days leading up to a time of celebration. A few of these popular events on Outschool are:

If any of these topics match your teaching expertise and interests, consider creating classes about two months before the holiday occurs or heritage month begins. One-time or short-term classes may work best for these themed courses, or you may choose to theme one week of an ongoing class to line up with a holiday celebration. Check out our seasonal class calendar for more insights into when to list popular holiday-themed classes.

Be flexible and find what works for you

We hope these insights will help you design a teaching schedule and business plan that matches up with your goals, interests, and availability. For more specific info on certain seasons at Outschool, check out more insights on spring break, summer break, and winter trends (Northern Hemisphere seasons). Plus, keep an eye on the most recent topic requests and searches to get a feel for what families are looking for on Outschool.

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