5 Ways to Keep Test Prep on Track during the Holidays
You know what they say - it’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Whether you’re full of holiday cheer or feeling a bit Grinchy, there’s no denying that November and December are always be busy. There’s family, travel, shopping, feasting, and festivities all competing for a finite amount of focus and attention. It is in these moments that it can be easy for both students and tutors to take their eyes off the ball when it comes to keeping pace with test prep goals.
Sure, distractions will abound this holiday season (just like any other year). That said, by planning, setting realistic expectations, and making smart choices you can ensure that students still work towards improved scores this winter and spring.
Keep client calendars up to date
The calendar is one of the most important test prep tools there is. No matter the time of year, test day looms large as the ultimate target for the entire test prep experience. From that date, test prep tutors use assessment data and practice tests to work backward and plot out a schedule for optimal growth.
Regardless of the season, work with your clients to begin crafting as complete a calendar as you can as early as the first session. It is less stressful to plan for conflicts ahead of time than scramble to make up for lost time.
Know that interruptions caused by holiday breaks and missed sessions are inevitable. When crafting a test prep plan for students, be sure to get every vacation and potentially missed session on the books as soon as possible, so there is minimal need for on-the-fly adjustments.
This is especially crucial for students registered during major holiday seasons like Thanksgiving, winter break, spring break, and summer vacation. Having copies of the school calendars for the populations you serve is a good starting point. As holidays approach, make it a point to ask clients about their plans and any potential sessions that may have to be canceled or rescheduled because of them.
Firm up staff commitments
Holidays aren’t just busy times for your students. Your staff members have families, traditions, and commitments of their own. Just as you should keep a current calendar for your clients’ sessions, keep another one dedicated to your staff availability. You need to make sure you know what staff you will have on hand during the holiday seasons so that you can plan accordingly.
When the holidays hit, It may be tempting to close up shop and take a break yourself. After all, it’s easier just to turn off the lights than try to juggle vacation requests, cancellations, and the bookkeeping headaches that come with them all, right? If you want to optimize student success and your business’s potential for growth, resist that urge.
Your students need opportunities to keep moving towards their test prep goals. While many students may opt to take a break from test prep on their own accord, don’t disregard those students that are ready, willing, and able to press on.
Figure out what staff you need to live up to the demands of your client base and plan accordingly. Stagger vacation times and hours (no school means more flexibility for tutoring session times) to ensure everyone can have a chance to enjoy the season, but business can still function.
Be prepared for the crammers
For some test prep operations, school breaks mean big business. There are clients out there looking to capitalize on holiday breaks as opportunities dive headfirst into test prep.
It makes sense.
Expecting students to perform their best in their test prep work after a grueling day of high school is a tough sell. Most will do it, but holiday breaks allow opportunities to hone student focus in ways that are more challenging when school is in session.
If you have the staff to do so, take advantage of the holiday respites as opportunities to develop and market high-intensity, condensed coursework boot camps. You might be surprised how many students come out of the woodwork to answer the call.
Not sure how to create such a test prep experience? Sign up for a quick chat and learn how the Clear Choice Prep curriculum and software can become your tutoring company’s go-to tool for engaging and comprehensive test prep offerings.
Even students who are coming through your doors looking to fast-track their test prep during a school recess are susceptible to the same distractions of the holiday trappings we all are. That means your approach to holiday season tutoring may need to adapt.
While the school distractions may be paused, you will still have students that will be prone to losing focus or being burned out from holiday disruptions.
Temper your expectations for what students will be able to accomplish between sessions. Even the most diligent students can find it hard to maintain the home practice routines when Uncle Abner has taken over the guest room and the dining room table has gone from a workspace to a wrapping paper station.
As a counter, your test prep company should seek to maximize the time during sessions and opportunities for extra help throughout the time school is in recess. During the holidays, consider offering additional walk-in hours for students looking for a quiet workspace or some extra on-demand support.
Remember that your operating hours are not limited to school’s opening and closing bell during holiday breaks. Survey your staff and students for holiday operating schedules that may work better than the usual afternoon or evening timeslots.
Promote healthy habits
Of course, none of this matters if you, your students, and your staff aren’t taking care of themselves. Holiday stress is a real thing that can have significantly detrimental effects on our health like:
· loss of sleep
· poor diet
· weakened immune system
Not sure where to begin? Everyday Health’s wellness blog provides some excellent advice for how to take extra care during the holidays to keep your mind and body healthy.
Encourage everyone in your test prep orbit to make themselves and their self-care a priority this (and every) holiday season.
And from our company to you, may you have a truly healthy, happy, and fruitful holiday season. While we can’t do much for the first two (the flu is real and Uncle Abner’s showing up whether we like it or not), we can help tailor your test prep business for holiday success.
Schedule a quick chat to see how the Clear Choice Prep suite of custom branded test prep materials, software, and support can do to supercharge your tutoring operation. It very well may be the best gift you get this year (Spoiler alert: Uncle Abner got you socks…again).