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How to Start a Class 101 Franchise in 2023 Looking for information about how to open a Class 101 franchise? Here's what you need to know.

By Entrepreneur Staff

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Class 101 franchise information

Class 101, founded in 1997, is a national college planning franchise that helps high school students get into better colleges and qualify for higher amounts of scholarships and financial aid. We address a common problem: the college application process is complicated, competitive and stressful, resulting in students who don't get enough, or any, financial aid and often end up at the wrong school.

Millions of high school students enrolled as college freshmen at more than 4,000 institutions last year, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. One in three freshmen drops out after his or her first year, according to U.S. News & World Report, and those who drop out struggle to recover. Class 101 offers a unique program to address this issue, and it starts during the sophomore year of high school. Students work individually with a college planner and meet once a month for hour-long sessions throughout the year. The sessions prepare the student to take ACT and SAT tests, improve GPA, work on building a large list of schools that are a good fit, prepare a high-performance resume for colleges, write a powerful essay, visit schools, complete applications ahead of schedule and navigate the scholarship and financial aid processes.

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The 10 services offered by Class 101 include:

  • Developing a College List
  • Visiting Colleges
  • Improving Grades
  • ACT / SAT / PSAT Test Prep
  • Upgrading Your Resume
  • Crafting College Essays
  • Managing Applications and Deadlines
  • Exploring Scholarship Opportunities
  • Pursuing Financial Aid (FAFSA)
  • Transitioning to College

Students that go through the Class 101 program have some dramatic results: the average American high school student applies to two or three schools and receives about $20,000 in scholarships and aid. Class 101 students apply to an average of 10 schools and receive more than $200,000 in scholarships and aid. Our students also tend to stay in school. The dropout rate for incoming college freshmen is high — as many as one in three first-year students never make it to their sophomore year. The dropout rate for Class 101 students is less than 1% — far below the national average.

At Class 101, a typical franchisee works with high school students as early as their freshman year. For a small down payment and fixed monthly fee, students get one-on-one weekly guidance and help with:

  • Counseling on which classes to take
  • Developing a standout resume for colleges
  • Increasing ACT and SAT scores
  • Writing a stellar college entrance essay
  • Creating the ideal college list based on a student's individual situation
  • Applying for financial aid and scholarship opportunities

To date, Class 101 has nearly 50 franchise locations in the United States. The brand offers three models of franchises: single owner; team franchise (two planners); and educational centers (multiple planners). The model is up to you; the franchise fee is the same for each model. With a Class 101 franchise, you can own a thriving business that makes a difference in the lives of college-bound kids.

How much does a Class 101 franchise cost?

To open a Class 101 franchise of your own, here are the financial requirements, cash required, and ongoing franchise fees associated with business ownership:

Initial franchise fee: $39,900

Initial investment: $45,950 - $63,450

Net worth requirement: $75,000

Cash requirement: $50,000

Veteran incentives: $2,500 off franchise fee

Royalty fee: 8%

Ad royalty fee: 2%

Term of agreement: 8 years

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How much can a Class 101 franchisee make?

You do not need teaching or college counseling experience to franchise with Class 101. The ideal Class 101 franchise owner has a passion for working with young people and a heart for helping families save time and money during the college application process. They have a background in business or education, whether as a small business owner, an educator, a guidance counselor, or other similar work experience.

The Class 101 business model ensures that owners have a steady stream of revenue throughout the year, not just during the school year. Franchise owners have three ways to generate revenue: classes to prepare students to excel at the ACT and SAT, organized campus trips and retainer agreements for one-on-one consulting services.

The number of students you recruit drives your income as a Class 101 franchisee. That said, this is not a big numbers game. A financial advisor might call 100 people a day, whereas a new Class 101 franchisee has a target of 100 prospects a year, with a good customer base consisting of 40 to 50 students.

One-on-one consulting with students is the bread-and-butter of our business model. With the average sale for a Class 101 franchisee at $2,800 and an impressive average close rate of 90% nationwide, Class 101 college planning service is a low-overhead business model with the potential for high revenue from day one. Several of our franchisees have surpassed the $100,000 revenue mark in their first or second year. The average gross revenue for our top 5 franchises in 2017, according to our most recent FDD, was $212,437.

Want to increase your income? Sign up more students. Because parents typically pay a down payment of $800, then $100 per month for the remaining time, you'll have the ability to plan income and expenses over time, making it easier to grow your business.

Class 101 franchise support and training

Class 101 franchisees receive everything they need to get their business up and running successfully. They receive rights to their territory, which is based on a population of about 250,000, served by six to eight high schools. They receive access to a wealth of proprietary Class 101 documents and support materials, including:

  • Marketing materials, such as brochures, business cards, letterhead, etc.
  • Curriculum (which we update continually to meet ongoing college application requirements)
  • Detailed operations manual and high school manual
  • DropBox access to all curriculum and other materials developed over nearly two decades, such as meeting checklists, archived franchise meeting agendas, student financial aid information and sample sales presentations
  • Access to informative Class 101 podcasts and training videos

Our home office brand team, which includes Founder and CEO Tom Pabin and Director of Operations Betsy Filchak, is readily available to answer any questions or concerns you may have as you set up your business and begin building a client base of high school students and families. We have twice-weekly team meetings via phone, and all franchisees, along with one key support person, are invited to attend a weeklong training session at our home office in Lexington, Kentucky. You will get to see where it all started and work closely with our founder and CEO, drawing on his nearly 20 years of experience in the college preparation business. Our annual convention is also a time for our entire franchisee team to get together to discuss best practices and marketing ideas and set sales goals for the upcoming year. Class 101 franchisees can expect 40 hours of classroom training and 120 hours of on-the-job training.

The Class 101 company culture is incredibly supportive, and the work that we do is a discovery process that helps high school students be the best that they can be. Not only that, but we also help families save money and buck the trend of accruing student loan debt. There is a high demand for our services in communities across the country.

Remember, with Class 101, it's not just about getting into college, it's about helping students find their future. Start your franchising journey today! Simply fill out this brief form to begin learning about the Class 101 franchise opportunity.

Related: Considering franchise ownership? Get started now and take this quiz to find the personalized list of franchises that match your lifestyle, interests, and budget.

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Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff


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