Summer Test Prep & Admissions Business Strategy

(Pulse) By Kevin Organisciak–

In terms of summer planning, it’s not too late to feature services which resonate with parents.   It is, however, important to decide on your offerings and place them in your operations calendar, on your website, and to announce through: current students, email, Facebook and all social outlets ( If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing sooner ).

1. Schedule Practice Tests.  A business trough is arguably an opportunity to stoke one’s lead funnel and practice tests are ideal for this purpose.   Best practices include scheduling face-to-face meeting to go over results and engaging in disciplined registration practices.   Use only real SAT or ACT questions and provide item-analysis feedback reports.

Use a calendar to schedule result discussions and challenge yourself to fill that schedule in the same way one fills a tutor’s dance card.  Also, make it easy for parents by holding these consultations via Skype or some other web conference if they cannot meet in person.  Keep a list of non-attendees and invite them to the next event or practice test.  This is inexpensive and has a measurable ROI.

2.  Schedule Intensive SAT or ACT Test Prep.  Use your existing curricula and build a program to meet the needs of the ultra-competitive student.  Assign your very best tutors and consider raising the fee for this “Summer Intensive” prep. Offer a minimum of 30 hours and consider adding in  4 + practice tests and plenty of extra practice questions accessible when students head off for a vacation.   Interestingly, increasing the price and the number of hours is positively correlated to enrollment interest.

3.  Hold College Application Camps or, if that is too broad, hold College Essay Workshops.  These should be compact and high yield. Cap the number of seats and don’t over-schedule the number of camps.   Have a top notch essay specialist or tutor run the camp.  This person is not only an expert, she or he is also a dynamic presenter with an affirming personality.

4.  Try SAT or ACT Classes.  if you have not run SAT or ACT classes in the past, summer is an ideal time to run compact classes, weekend-only refreshers (end of summer), or boot camps.  The same rules about capping availability and limiting the number of options as mentioned in point 3 above, apply.  These are simple to run and you can request a free checklist through this web form if you want to “dot the i’s.”
5.    Math-Only Refreshers.  Target Middle School and High School students who scored C’s or below during the academic year.   Ask to see a syllabus from their past class and target Algebra I, II, Trig, and Calculus.

Give yourself a 3 week time line when adding any of the above  and avoid the week of July 4th.  We have an event planning tool on our community site which is free to use.

Beyond these items, it is important to address the administrative side of things.  Expenses need to be managed in concert with revenue.  A good rule of thumb:  expenses should not exceed 70% of revenue.  Because rent is fixed, one may need to look to reduce variable expenses to observe that rule.  However, in the ideal, any decision to cut expenses should not impact the quality of service.

Summer is often about scaling down to match the academic calendar.  At the same time, one can scale down but also choose high-yield, short duration programming to meet the specific needs of local students and limit the impact of reduced demand.

I believe in this not only in word but in deed.  Beyond the fact that TPP guides its clients using the logic espoused here, we’ve also spent the past 24 months building affordable programs, implementation guides, and support tools  to help small tutoring companies navigate the summer doldrums.  See our service menu,