Your program couldn’t survive without its students. In fact, without students, there’s no reason for your program to exist at all. Their choice to register for classes literally keeps the lights on. With so many cheesy, difficult and expensive student appreciation ideas floating around the internet, what can you do to show students that you value their support?
You’re already off to a good start by offering quality classes that students need and want. But, if you want to do a little extra you don’t have to break the budget. The key to an effective appreciation campaign is to show students you care about them as individuals. So your efforts don’t have to be expensive or showy. Small, personalized acts can go a long way toward building student loyalty and helping to retain students. Here are six student appreciation ideas to show your students how much you value them.
1. Offer Promo Codes and Early Registration Perks
Show loyal students how much you appreciate their support by offering promo codes for discounted course fees or early registration options for upcoming courses. You can make promo codes available for specific classes or offer a general code good for any class in your catalog.
Not only will students appreciate the gesture, but it can also encourage them to keep coming back. A recent survey by RetailMeNot found that two-thirds of consumers made an unplanned purchase because they found a coupon or discount. It’s hard to resist a good deal.
2. Provide Personalized, Positive Feedback
Encourage instructors to recognize students for their effort in class. Small gestures of connection can have a big impact. To ease the burden on instructors, you can provide them with templates. Here’s an example of what that might look like:
I noticed that today you really took a risk in improv class by relying on your body language rather than your words to inhabit your character. Your nonverbal cues were excellent and you really helped your classmates think about their own portrayals more carefully.
I’m so glad to be working and learning with you in this group! See you next week.
Just a few sentences help a student feel seen, appreciated, and understood. You show your students that you’ve noticed their effort and you’re invested in their success, which builds your relationship and fosters trust.
3. Invite Students to Bring a Guest
You can also offer special group rates or a discount code for students who recommend a class to a friend. In addition to expanding your pool of potential future students, you’ve provided an opportunity for your students to share their interests with someone they care about. Invite someone in their life to experience their interests hands-on.
For classes that meet multiple times, you might also pick a date when students can bring a guest to show off what they’ve learned. If possible, send students and their guests home with something tangible, whether it’s something they made during the class or even a certificate of achievement.
4. Partner with a Local Business
Are there businesses in your community offering products or services related to your classes? See if you can negotiate a discount or special offer for your students. Maybe it’s 10% off at the local art supply store, or discounts on practice and performance spaces. Local bookstores or coffee shops might also be willing to work with you as a way to encourage your students to stop by on their way to or from class.
To sweeten the deal, and boost your registrations, you might offer discounted course fees to their employees. A shout-out in your newsletter or social media can also help share the news of your new partnership.
5. Spotlight Student Achievements
If you regularly send newsletters or other email communication, consider adding a “Student Spotlight” section. You could feature a Student of the Week or Month by sharing a little bit about them, the class they took, and what they’ve learned.
Many students will enjoy getting a brief moment of local celebrity status and strong student testimonials can encourage more registrations.
6. Create An Instructor and Student Appreciation Station
Invite everyone in your organization to get in on the appreciation. Provide sticky notes and pens near a blank wall or bulletin board your students frequently walk past. If your classes are remote, you can create a virtual space using tools like Padlet or Miro.
Encourage students to share gratitude for other students and their instructors on the wall. An appreciation station will not only make students feel good about their contributions, but can help create a sense of community.
Sincerity Is the Key To Good Student Appreciation Ideas
Some programs make showy gestures that keep the focus on the program rather than the student. Handing out free swag or offering raffles on expensive items may be fun, but won’t make students feel valued as individuals. On the other hand, small, meaningful acts of connection feel a lot more personal.
When you show your students that you care about them, you build a community of learning that students are proud to be a part of.