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Creating Class Names That Attract

Nic Lyons

March 28, 2019

What’s in a name? Quite a bit, actually!

Your class name is typically the first thing that a potential student sees when checking out your catalog, so there are benefits to creating an appealing class name. As you might expect, there are a few ways to create names that will motivate attendees to register. A creative approach can generate interest in classes, promise a result, or identify an audience — and each of these approaches helps motivate a student to click that “register” button!

Create Interest

Programs aren’t called “enrichment programs” for nothing! If a person is looking for something to inspire them why not help them find inspiration at first sight? A great name shines a spotlight on your class, helping it stand out amid a sea of educational options.

For example, “Improve Your Gull-ability” was the name of a workshop presented by a Maine Audubon naturalist on identifying seagulls (which in Maine are varied and plentiful.) The title is short and smart. It tells you precisely what it’s about (gulls) and that you’re going to improve your knowledge about these common birds. Plus, its clever play on words sets it immediately apart. A class entitled “Dr. Wilbur Presents on Seagulls of Maine” would not have been so memorable!

Promise a Result

Letting people know what they’ll get from your class will appeal to the “do-ers” in your learning community.

Who wouldn’t stop and consider the “Finish Projects in Two Weeks” class offered by the Salina Public Library? Now, this is a title that makes a promise! It’s clear by the name of the class alone that you’ll learn how to finish a project in a set timeframe and probably gain skills that you’ll be able to use long after that project is complete.

You might list your class on beginning personal finance as “Budget with Confidence: Figure Finances in Four Weeks” which clearly describes what the student will gain as a result of taking the class.

Identify the Audience

If you keep the focus on what your specific audience will get out of your class, it’s hard to go wrong. It could be as simple as “for seniors” or “beginners” or more specific, such as the classes “Woodworking for Junior School: Make a toolbox” and “Woodworking for High School: Pen Making” offered by the Montgomery Bell Academy independent school in Nashville, TN. Both clearly note the audience and also explain what they’ll get from taking the class, literally in these cases.

You can also be more elaborate in your audience identification. For example, an adult ed class that could be called “Basic Furniture Refinishing” could also be called “Sandpaper, Sawdust, and Something New: an Introduction to Refinishing Wooden Furniture.”

State It Simply

Of course, there are classes which benefit from a practical approach. You don’t need to get too fancy when offering Beginner Spanish, a GED, or HIPPA training. You may not even need to compete for Level II Ballet or Morning Aerobics. There’s a time for clarity and simplicity, and if these titles don’t need a lot of embellishment, follow your instinct.

Apply What You’ve Learned

Now that you’ve found the witty, short, result-driven, and audience-focused perfect title you can apply these same techniques to your class description to make it “register” even more with your students.

Whether you’re a community education program looking to enliven your class catalog or you’re a small business looking for more attendees, an eye-catching title can add sparkle to your offerings.

Do you have a great class title or description you’d like to share? Is there a great story hiding in your program? We’d love to hear about it and maybe even feature it in a future newsletter! Share your stories with me at

Nic Lyons

Nic is skilled in scaling start-up edtech and education organizations to growth-stage success through innovative marketing. A former journalist and copywriter, Nic holds a postgraduate certificate in digital and print publishing from Columbia University School of Journalism's publishing course.

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