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I'm Dr. Jeannie Gudith, Founder and CEO of JAG Consulting. We help you develop, improve, buy or sell your private school.
What is the best time to launch a school? This is one of the most frequently asked question our firm receives when clients are contemplating opening a school. A private school can be opened at any time of the year, but there are three essential times that are most advantageous when launching a school. When developing a school it is important to understand what time of the year you should launch and why. Choosing the right time of year is crucial when opening up a new school. So what is the best time to open?
This may not come as a surprise as fall is a traditional time of year to open a school. If you are opening up a traditional brick and mortar school then fall is definitely a time when you should consider opening your school. Remember that even a fall launch will require that you begin advertising your opening in January of that year and begin parent tours in the spring/summer. You need to prepare ahead of time for a launch so when the doors do open you will have students to fill the school. Even though fall is an ideal time to launch a traditional K-12 private school, there are two other times during the year that are excellent for school launches.
Most people wouldn’t even consider opening a school in January; however, this is an excellent time to launch a school, especially an online school. When we tell our clients that they should launch in January they are surprised. Why would anyone launch a school in January? Simple. January is a time when many families realize their current school is not working out, for a myriad of reasons. This is when report cards are released and families realize it is time for a change. Because of this, it is a popular time to change schools, and many families are desperate for a solution. Launching your school in January will give families another option of where they can enroll their children.
Another great reason to launch in January is to create a soft opening opportunity for your school so you will be better prepared in the fall. January gives you a full 6 months to work out any kinks in your program and start building a name and brand for yourself. Opening in January allows plenty of time for marketing and advertising. This is a perfect time for a soft launch. Many families are happy to participate in a soft launch and become a founding family (at a discounted tuition). Opening in January allows for extra time and much needed feedback to improve upon the program over the soft launch period.
Summer is an excellent time to launch your school. This does not give you a full 6 months of a soft launch, but it does give you a few months before the fall school season to improve your program and start building a name for your school. Opening a school in the summer is an excellent time as families are open to enrolling in summer courses and trying out the school. This trial opportunity allows both the school and parent a chance to see if it is a good fit. It also supports summer school opportunities for students. Opening in summer offers an easier opening strategy for the school as students are only taking 1-2 courses, therefore, allocating more time for the school to ease into the fall school year. If your program is solid and students are happy they will then convert into fall enrollments.
There are many excellent times you can open your private school. Choosing the right time of the year is important and should be chosen based on the type of school you are opening and what kind of time and support you want for your school and families. If you want help choosing the best time for your school, contact our firm to learn more.