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Choose the Best Registration Software – 9 Options Compared

Greg Shula

December 12, 2023

Being the best registration software is a little like being the world’s greatest uncle. Anyone can claim the title and it’s usually awarded by people who already know and like you. Being the best in that case is pretty subjective. And that’s the point, really. 

There’s no one best registration software for all organizations. This article will help you consider 9 options and find the solution that’s the best fit for your specific needs.

There’s no absolute best registration software for all organizations. From the perspective of any individual organization, the best software solution is the one that most closely fits their needs. In short, you don’t just want the software that shows up on some random top 10 list. You want the solution that works best for your organization and audience. 

That’s why we’ve compared 9 of the best registration software solutions. Our goal is to help you find the one that fits your needs. From adult education to kids camps and activities, we’ll walk you through the available options and show you where each one shines. 

What Is Registration Software?

Registration software is designed to automate the registration and payment process. It saves time and reduces errors by allowing attendees or students to directly input their information. The best registration software systems also allow you to create reports and sync registrant data with other software including email, donor management, and event ticketing tools

The best registration software allows you to create reports and sync student data with other software including email, donor management, and ticketing tools.

Some programs try to manage registrations using tools like Google Forms or even Excel spreadsheets. However, these methods tend to be labor intensive and don’t allow for integration across systems. Many programs quickly discover that registration software is worth the investment. 

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Registration Software

With dozens of options out there, how do you choose the best registration software for your audience and your programs? By considering your goals and what your audience needs. 

All the registration software on this list allows you to register and take payments online, but each has unique features designed for different purposes. As you peruse the list keep these factors in mind:

Classes vs. Events

A class registration program is different from event registration software. Learners and event attendees have different needs, and your organization needs different information about each type of customer. Make sure to choose the right software for your type of offering.

Repeat or One-Off

Getting someone to register for a once-a-year event is different from starting an ongoing relationship with them. Check whether the software you’re considering has the marketing and communication tools you need for the type of relationships you want to build.

Adults, Kids, or Everyone

Whether you’re creating offerings for adults, kids, or a mix of both, you need tools that meet their needs. Parents may need to register multiple children and fill out waivers and medical forms. Adults may need regular reminders so upcoming events and programs make it to their calendar. Look for features that meet the needs of your registrants.

Organization Type

Your organization type matters too. Some software solutions are designed with degree-granting colleges and universities in mind. Others are more suited to smaller organizations. Nonprofits have different needs (and budgets!) than for-profit businesses. Pay-as-you-go pricing is often a must for class registration software for nonprofits. Lots of CourseStorm customers are nonprofits since it costs them nothing when they’re not running classes. 

How Will You Use Data?

The best registration software helps you collect data about each student so you can customize their experience and meet their needs. Consider what data you’d like to have and where you will use it. Does your solution integrate with all of the other tools you use?

Best Registration Software for Different Goals

We’ve included more details about each registration software tool below, but if you want a quick answer, use this decision tree to find the best registration software for your goals and audience.

1. Best Registration Software for Arts Organizations and Community Education Programs

CourseStorm

CourseStorm is the impossibly simple class registration software designed to help community education and arts and culture programs save time and enroll more students. CourseStorm’s cloud-based platform is the best class registration software for programs offering education to kids and adults.

With online and mobile registration and payment processing, CourseStorm helps programs register students quickly. Email marketing and customized registration forms build relationships with students. Waiting lists, promo codes, and payment plans come standard. So do reporting and integrations. 

CourseStorm has several pricing plans where you only pay when you register a student. Plans start as low as 2% of each registration plus credit card fees. For programs that offer free classes, there are flexible subscription options as well. Whether you’re offering in-person or online courses, CourseStorm can simplify your registration process.

Pros: No monthly fees, email marketing, payment plans, group registration

Cons: Not ideal for credit-based courses, not ideal for drop-in or sliding scale classes

2. Good for Event Registration

RegFox

RegFox bills itself as event registration software. Classes come third on their list of priorities after conferences and camps. Marketed as easy to use, the system may be best suited to organizations looking for an alternative to Eventbrite and Cvent. 

They offer support for merchandise and product sales, social incentives, and editing and upgrading of existing orders. All of this is well-targeted to event management, but less relevant for class registration. 

Pricing is $0.99 per attendee plus a $2.99 credit card processing fee. It’s important to note that while signup confirmation emails are free, RegFox charges $0.02 per recipient for email invitations and follow-ups, meaning they might not be the most cost-effective solution for building a long-term relationship with students. 

Pros: Synchronized reports, host virtual events in platform, flexible forms, multi-class registrations

Cons: Event focused, marketing emails cost extra, no customer profile

3. Good Fit for Subscription-Based Programs

RegPack

RegPack was originally designed for billing automation. Unsurprisingly, they’re very focused on the billing aspect of registration. Theirs may be the best registration software for subscription-based programs. For example, a gym with a year-long contract might use it to collect monthly fees.

They offer automatic course billing, discounts and variable pricing for learners, and a centralized registration database that features your branding. You can also share live-streamed or pre-recorded video content with registrants. 

The cost is $125 per month per admin, plus 2.1% payment processing. That means you would have to pay $125 even if you didn’t have any registrations in that month.

Pros: Mobile-ready, form builder, group registration, e-signature capabilities, payment plans

Cons: Pricing per admin, no phone support, slow support response times

4. Best Registration Software for Children’s Activities

Sawyer

Focused on kids classes, camps and events, Sawyer lists classes directly on their website. You can also embed listings on your own site. Because they’re kid-focused, they offer features like family profiles so parents can list authorized caregivers. 

You can email registered parents through class rosters, but if you want to customize emails, you’ll need a Zapier integration, which is only available at the $329 per month subscription level. Which brings us to the question of cost.

Sawyer is a robust platform with many useful features, but the cost quickly adds up. Their entry-level price is $109 per month billed annually. The price jumps to $129 if you’re on a monthly plan. That doesn’t include credit card processing fees, which are charged per registration. 

Registrations made on their marketplace also incur a 30% “marketplace fee.” This fee shrinks as you upgrade your plan. To get custom forms and waitlists, you’ll need to upgrade to the $169 per month plan. 

Pros: Large feature set, modern interface, gift cards

Cons: Kid-focused, markets other ed providers, additional cost for growth features

5. Best Software Solution for Gymnastics and Dance Schools

Jackrabbit

Jackrabbit helps gymnastics, dance, swim, cheer, and music programs to register students. They focus specifically on schools or youth activity centers that offer these courses and their features are tailored to the needs of these types of schools. 

Jackrabbit includes a point-of-sale system for the front desk, skill-tracking so teachers can share student progress, and a time clock for tracking staff hours. With built-in costume and recital management, you can get organized for a recital, track costume sizes, and even offer online payment options for costume orders. All of these features make them the best class registration software for dance and gymnastics schools. 

Pricing is based on the size of the school. It starts at $49 per month for schools with 100 or fewer students and billing is based on the number of students in your database each month. 

Pros: Includes staff time clock, skills tracking through parent portal, low cost

Cons: Focused on specific industries, limited website integration

6. Best Software for Ticketing and Fundraising

PatronManager

PatronManager or other donor management software isn’t really designed to be class registration software, but some arts programs are using it that way. It’s a program they already know and use for ticketing, fundraising, and marketing, so it seems natural that they should try to make it work for class registration as well. 

PatronManager excels at fundraising and donor development, and they’re pros at ticketing and box office management. They can even help you market your arts programs. However, PatronManager was never meant to be a course management system. It doesn’t have roster management, waiting lists, group registrations or any of the other features that make for powerful class registration software.

Fortunately for arts programs, CourseStorm integrates with PatronManager so you can keep the ticketing and fundraising software you love, and add on all of the course management solutions you need!

Pros: Great at ticketing and fundraising, built for nonprofits, integrates with CourseStorm

Cons: Not designed for class registration

7. Best for Traditional Degree Programs Operated by Universities 

AceWare

One of the older course management and student registration software solutions out there, AceWare offers many features but they may not be as user-friendly as modern software users expect. Their extensive list of features comes packaged in an older format that may not excite students. 

Unlike other systems, AceWare grants you a perpetual license to their programs for the hefty price tag of $32,495. If you want support and maintenance you’ll pay another 16% per year on top of the total cost of purchase. There’s also a $3,750 fee if you need the SQL database upgrade.

Pros: Students can print unofficial transcripts, track student comments and feedback

Cons: Older style, capital investment, separate payment processing, refunds are challenging

8. Best Registration Software for Modern Institutions of Higher Ed 

Ellucian Elevate

An enterprise resource planning solution for colleges and universities, Ellucian is helping higher ed institutions to modernize their degree-granting education programs. They work with 2- and 4-year private, public, and for-profit schools. They have tools to support alumni relations, campus life, and financial aid among other essential functions of a full-scale university. 

Recently they partnered with CampusLogic, the student financial success software company, to help students overcome financial barriers to enrollment. 

Ellucian may be the best registration software for universities, but is likely too complex for adult and community education programs, arts organizations, and kids programs. Because they’re so focused on credit-based offerings, the non-credit side of their course software may not get the attention it deserves. 

Ellucian is also an enterprise-level solution with an enterprise-level price tag. You’ll need to contact them directly for pricing.

Pros: All-in-one solution for higher ed

Cons: Poor fit for smaller programs, high initial investment, complex

9. Best Registration Software for Non-Traditional Student Management

Augusoft Lumens / Modern Campus

Augusoft Lumens was recently acquired by Modern Campus. The Modern Campus platform now combines Destiny One and Lumens into a platform for non-traditional student management. Class schedule management is just one of the services they offer. They also provide curriculum, marketing, reporting, finance, and systems administration. 

You can use the platform to create customized offerings aimed at specific corporate partners and offer digital credentials that help students share their progress with employers. If you need registration software for classes aimed at adults who are seeking non-degree programs to advance their careers, Modern Campus might be the right solution. 

This is another enterprise-level solution with a price tag to match. If you’re not a university or college with a large budget, this probably isn’t the right registration software for you.

Pros: Robust, multi-service platform

Cons: High cost, add-on costs, complex

Find the Best Registration Software for Classes or Events

Hopefully this article has given you an idea of what registration software is available to you. Information is great, but we think the best way to choose registration software is by testing it out for yourself. Get your free trial of CourseStorm today and find out if our impossibly simple class registration software is right for you. 

All information current at the time of publication. Please verify prices before purchasing.

Greg Shula

Greg has spent a decade analyzing business and marketing performance metrics of the companies he has worked with. He uses his analytical mind and investigative skills to find trends and simple answers from complicated data sets. Greg is also an amateur photographer who loves to capture nature from new perspectives.

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