Biggest After School Program Mistakes Made By Schools

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3 min read

Everyday there are millions of kids enrolled in after school enrichment classes across the country. But not all programs are created equal. We asked schools all around the country, what their biggest after school program mistakes were, and here is what they said.

After School Program Mistakes: #1 – No Program Policies

Having no program policies or even vague ones can be a disaster. Setting up good policies will be the backbone of your program. Schools have reported upset parents, school administration and a hard to manage program when policies aren’t set.

After School Program Mistakes:  #2 – Poor Marketing

A big mistake some schools make is thinking that parents and students automatically know about the after school classes. You need to take a very active approach in order to have a successful marketing campaign. Schools report very low enrollment and high rates of cancellation due to poor marketing. 

After School Program Mistakes: #3 – Never Change Classes

Eventually, running the same after school classes session after session will catch up with you. Kids and parents want variety and won’t be happy if they don’t get it. Schools report a decrease in enrollment and have a difficult time reviving the program.

After School Program Mistakes: #4 – Classes Open To All Grades

This never works out well. Too big of age gapes lead to classes that are more about crowd control than enrichment. There are too many developmental milestones between the younger grades to lump them all together. Schools report high student dissatisfaction, and high dropout rates when too many grades are lumped together.

After School Program Mistakes: #5 – Multiple Signup Options

Too many options lead to disorder and a lack of decision. Compare it to a restaurant that has too many options… you end up not getting anything, and if you do, you can be sure the kitchen is a nightmare. Schools report low enrollment, chasing after parents for registration forms and fees, along with spending too many hours managing paperwork.

After School Program Mistakes: #6 – No Online Registration

Online registration allows you to accept enrollment 24/7 – making it convenient for parents. Not accepting online registration shows you have not kept up with the times, and makes parents think your programs are not up to date. Schools report low registration along with difficulty in managing forms, waivers and rosters – requiring them to spend more hours each week managing the program. 

After School Program Mistakes: #7 – No Registration Deadline

No deadline means parents can sign up for 1 week, 1 hour or 1 minute before class. For classes that are hovering around the minimum number of kids to enroll, it can be hectic. Schools report having to cancel classes last minute because promised sign-ups never came through.

After School Program Mistakes: #8 – Accept Cash or Checks

This goes back to offering multiple ways to register for class. It becomes a nightmare to handle. We’ve written a more in-depth article on it here. Schools report missing funds, untraceable payments, and not knowing when and how parents paid.

After School Program Mistakes: #9 – Allow drop-ins

Drop-ins tend to be disruptive to classes for both students and instructors. Statistics show that students “trying” a class a not likely to register. However, students that are required to register before trying a class are over 90% likely to stay in the class. Schools report bad feedback from students and instructors that involve disruptive students, when an open drop-in policy is allowed.

After School Program Mistakes: #10 – Never Talk To Parents

It may be after school, but parents still want to hear how their children are doing. Not talking to parents can present a whole bunch of issues – all of which can be easily avoided with an email every now and then. Schools report negative feedback from parents about the program, when parents feel they have not been kept up to date with what is happening in class.