How to Choose Registration Software for Classes vs. Events

by CourseStorm

Anyone who has been involved in organizing both classes and events knows that there’s a big difference between the two. If you’re using event registration software to manage class registrations, your system probably isn’t as efficient as it could be. Both tools offer payment processing and online registration but that’s often where the similarities end.

Registration management tools have features specifically designed for either classes or events. If your goal is to manage class registrations, you need some specialized tools. Let’s take a closer look at what you need from a registration platform to help you decide whether a class management solution or an event registration tool is right for your program.

How To Choose Between Event And Class Registration Software

Before we get into the specific needs of your program, let’s start with the differences between the two types of registration software. In general, both event registration software and class registration software will include:

  • Some basic marketing tools
  • The ability to collect contact information
  • Online ordering and payment processing

The differences start when we look beyond these most basic core features. Event software is primarily designed to sell tickets. It collects the basic identification and payment information needed to do that. Once event-goers RSVP or buy a ticket to the event, they typically no longer need to engage with the software.

As an event organizer, you can use registration software to track ticket sales. You might also use it to host an online event or provide online support for a hybrid event.

Course registration software is different. Students still use it to sign up for classes, but they may need to keep using it after that initial sign-up. They may need to:

  • access information about their class
  • sign up for additional classes
  • join a waitlist
  • change their payment method
  • browse your course catalog
  • interact with instructors

In short, course registration software is a resource for students throughout their time in your program. It’s also a tool to keep your program organized. You can use it to collect detailed information about students and to share policies and release forms.

Your instructors and staff can also access student rosters to see who is in each class. They may want to contact students in a specific class or session to share information or make changes to the time, date, or location of the class. Course registration software is designed to facilitate relationships between instructors and students.

Classes Vs Events Comparison Chart

What You Need From Registration Software

Every program has unique needs. Identifying your program’s needs can help you decide between event and class registration software. Start by making a list of all the elements you need to manage.

For example, you might need to:

  • sell tickets to an event
  • allow attendees to pick their tee-shirt size at checkout
  • process payments online
  • collect names, addresses, and phone numbers of attendees
  • send tickets or access codes to attendees
  • offer discounts for group ticket sales

If your list looks similar to the one above, you probably need event management software.

But what if your list looks more like this:

  • register students for a range of classes
  • enable students to search the course catalog easily
  • organize class rosters for each session
  • manage refunds and cancellations
  • collect detailed information about student needs and preferences
  • allow students to manage their profile and payment information
  • add students to waitlists
  • enable group or family registration
  • offer discounts to returning students

In that case, you probably need course registration software.

Special Features of Course Registration Software

Event software is built to support a range of event types, from parties and festivals to concerts and conferences. Class registration software is more tailored to the unique needs of education and training programs, which means it has some helpful features that event software lacks. 

These include: 

  • Online course catalog. Create an interactive course catalog with search and filtering tools, so students can browse by topic, date and time, instructor, or other criteria.
  • Waitlists for popular classes. Keep track of interested students and make sure they get into the class they’re looking for. You can offer them early registration or alternative classes to keep them engaged.   
  • Class rosters. Run reports to identify students in each class. You’ll be able to notify them quickly if there’s a cancellation or urgent message you need to share.
  • Customized registration forms. Tailor forms to collect the specific information you need for each class. You can also include policies and release forms for students to sign.
  • Student portal. Give students access to their class history, payment methods, and upcoming classes. They can also update their contact information and add themselves to classes or waitlists.

The best registration software for classes offers all of these features and more to help you manage courses and support students. Events don’t need most of these features, so event registration tools are unlikely to have them built in.

Which Software Solution To Choose

Using the best-fit registration software is key to your program’s success. Opting for a solution that’s specifically built for education can give you access to essential features that keep your program running efficiently and effectively. The right software will handle the details so you and your instructors can focus on what you do best: working with students.