Just like the academic dean or division head at your school, we at One Schoolhouse keep a close eye on course selection. Since we began to offer our summer program, we’ve watched enrollment climb steadily year over year, and we watch out for trends.
With less than a month to go until the start of the summer session, here’s what the numbers tell us:
Families are becoming savvy shoppers about online courses. Three years ago, we didn’t get a lot of questions about the structure of our courses. Now, parents and guardians want to know about how our courses are built and facilitated–asynchronous cadence, assessment, and teacher connection, among other topics.
Students are eager to use their summer strategically. As we’ve seen in past summers, enrollment is growing year to year. The students who enroll are typically highly motivated and ready for a challenge. They see an online course as a way to help meet their academic goals that doesn’t compromise their ability to have a summer with space to unwind.
Summer students are getting older. For years, Geometry was our top-enrolled summer course, typically populated by students who had just finished ninth grade. This year, our highest enrollment is in Pre-Calculus, and U.S. History isn’t far behind–courses that are typically taken by eleventh graders. The growth in these courses is startling–Pre-Calculus has almost doubled its enrollment over last year’s numbers, and U.S. History has tripled.
More people are waiting until the last moment to enroll–which has its risks. Based on earlier years, we expect half of our summer enrollment to come in between May 13 and June 13. That’s not the way it was a few years ago. The pattern is similar in our school year courses. That’s a bit of a risky choice, because as schools draw closer to the start of the academic program, their ability to be flexible decreases. In May, a bump in enrollment drives us to open another section; in June, we don’t always have that option. Online enrollment has limits just as in-person school does.
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Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)