Sunday, February 01, 2015
Appealing to an Older Demographic
Wise and worldly readers, have you seen effective and innovative ways that local colleges have recruited local seniors as allies? Are there other, better ways to achieve the same goal?
I would guess these parents probably haven't been to college at all so won't know where to start but their kids know it all - maybe have a "bring your parents to school" day where the parents can sit in and hear the lectures. Get them to share their life experience to show them how much they can offer without having to be book smart.
(I don't know if your region has the numbers that ours does, however, and it could be a transient demand. I only know what I see, and some have been out of service for only a few months while others have been out for a few years and have now decided to enter college.)
I like the suggestion in the comment above. Although the numbers are small, there are instances where first-time-in-family children have recruited their parents to get a degree. I can see where it could be made less rare with a good way to give credit for prior experience and skills.
Unfortunately, when the recession hit it was austerity every year and it basically hollowed out all of the school's "extras" (art, music, community college-level classes). But it worked for a while.
The CC I went to offered reduced tuition for seniors, and actively encouraged them in discussion based classes. There are bits of the humanities and philosophy classes that would have been intangibly poorer if I'd taken them in a more homogeneous group.
Someday, the advertisers are going to realize how open-to-new-things that flavor of senior really is, but that's another rant.
You could also consider looking at whether local community organizations like Toastmasters and garden clubs need meeting space that you could offer- those groups are pretty diverse age wise or skew to the retired crowd.
A health club with an accessible and warm pool that offers good aqua aerobics (can do an arthritis relief version) can also get seniors in, but you either have the appropriate infrastructure or you don't, it's not a trivial thing to start up.