9 Do's and Don'ts for Private School Recruitment Email Subject Lines

4 min read
September 07, 2022

A subject line is the first thing a decision-making family member will read when looking at your email. When you decide to open an email, the factors that determine if you're going to open the email are probably the sender name and the subject line. Creating a subject line that is exciting, relevant, and “thumb-stopping” are critical to getting a high open rate. But there needs to be balance as well, if your email subject line reads as spam or is irrelevant to the content in your email body, then your emails could end up in the spam folder! 


For private school recruitment, subject lines should be clear what they are about. Remember, some stakeholders are awaiting application status, or important financial information. So, in order to reduce frustration and spam reports, make sure your email subject lines correlate with your email body. Then, follow these rules for all subject lines, and use the right tools to gauge the strength of your subject line. 

Subject Line Do’s and Don’ts for Private School Recruiters: 

  • Do: Cut it down. Long subject lines will not be read beyond the first few words, so make sure you are creating subject lines that are within the character limit of 60 characters. After 60 characters the subject line gets cut off on most email platforms. Making your subject lines even shorter makes it more likely for the entire subject line to be read.  
  • Do: Use urgency. Urgent words like “now” and “ready” create a time sensitivity element to your subject lines. This causes email platforms to push the email higher up in the inbox.  Using urgency does not necessarily mean taking a sales or marketing approach to your subject lines. Here are some examples of subject lines that contain urgency, but not in a sales context. 
    • “Now Accepting Applications, get yours in!”  
    • “Our School Ranks #3, see why now!” 
  • Do: Use locality to your advantage. If you  are communicating with parents located in the same neighborhood, use the locality of your school in order to get their attention. Using smart content is a great way to engage guardians. Based on the locality of the prospective parent’s email, you can personalise emails to be specific to them. 
  • Do: Be consistent. If you are offering certain content or a deal in your subject line, then make sure to follow through.    
  • Do: Use Emojis. Use emojis! Emojis makes your subject line stand out. Don’t be afraid to use emojis, using tasteful emojis doesn’t make your subject line seem like spam. 😲
  • Don’t: Blend into the crowd. If your subject lines are similar to other subject lines, your emails will unfortunately fall into the blur of other pitch email emails. 
  •  Don’t: Use spam trigger words like “sale” or “limited time.” Even if using these words in context makes sense,  email platform filters don’t take that into account.  
  • Don’t: Make your email seem like a marketing email. Parents  get a lot of spam, so make it clear that your email is not that.  
  • Don’t: Use all-caps. While this is certainly attention-grabbing, using all-caps throughout the entire subject line can be off-putting. If you feel you need to use all-caps, limit it to one or two words in your subject line.  

Create A Subject Line That’s Memorable and Shareable 

As a private school recruiter, you probably are already aware of the power of word of mouth. Parents of currents sharing their approval of your school to other parents is the most powerful tool of recruitment you have in your tool belt.  

So when creating subject lines for email campaigns to current student’s parents, keep prospective parents in mind. The idea is that current parents can become ambassadors for your school (your brand). Here are some examples of subject lines that are shareable. 

“Private school students excel compared to peers.”   

“Private school students have higher grades”  

Needless to say, these subject lines should be truthful. Pull data from reliable sources and create a subject line that creates intrigue. 


Get a good score on Subjectline.com 

Subjectline.com is a great tool for measuring the quality of your subject lines. It is free tool that is used by marketers in every type of industry, including the private education industry. It provides two scores that you can use to gauge how well your will fare in lead’s inbox.  The first score, pictured in yellow, is your overall subject line score. The smaller pink score in the upper left corner is your “marketing score,” which ranks your score based on the marketing principles you are following. 


Here are some tips for getting a great score on subjectline.com: 

  1. Keep it short. Subjectline.com gives high scores to those who keep their email subject lines short and to the point. How Short? Subject lines should be less than 60 characters, anything longer will be cut off. But, if you don’t want your subject lines to be cut off on mobile devices, then it should be less that 25 characters! We understand that this is super short, and can be difficult to do, but it is worth arising the challenge in order to get a high open rate. 
  2. Include Urgency. Subjectline.com rewards subject lines that have “urgency” with a high marketing score (which is harder to achieve than an overall score). How do you add urgency to a subject line? Words like ready, now, quickly, limited-time all create a sense of urgency. Including those words in your subject line when you can, will make leads feel that your message is time sensitive. This leads prospective leads to open your email right away.   
  3. Use the right words and punctuation. There are certain words that subjectline.com really favors. As well as punctuation. Using words like “free” and “you” ot “yours” are best practice. Additionally using an exclamation mark or question mark in your subject line creates visual interest to your subject line and makes it stand out. 

Crafting the right subjectline can be difficult, and even time consuming. But we promise it is worth it. Regardless of how great your email body and campaigns are, if the subject line is not up to par, parents will not even open your email. 

Keep in mind, these are not hard rules. They are best practices. And sometimes, not every best practice works for every organization. Test these techniques with tried and true methods like A/B testing to see what works for your school and what doesn’t. Test other techniques that we did not mention, just to see if it makes an impact on your open rate. With each email you send, you should be collecting data and learning. Each email’s data should influence the content of the next email.

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