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What is an Ideal Student?
Your Ideal Student is the person who will benefit the most from the course and community you’re creating. Because your community aligns with their goals and desires, these are the students who will be really engaged in your topic and content.
When you’re developing an online course, it’s important that you not only have a particular kind of student in mind but also pick a specific topic. Why? Your course topic and Ideal Student go hand in hand. When you have a clear idea of what your students want to learn, understand, or grow their skill set in, and what their needs and desires are, you can tailor your content to address their goals.
Being clear about your Ideal Student essentially ties back to good Community Design ™, which requires planning your community so that it can help its members master something together. Honing in on who your Ideal Students are isn’t just necessary for building content, it’s also important for building community: like-minded individuals with a shared interest or motivation who aspire to learn, grow, and form connections with one another.
Creating a thriving community is important because students who share values will be engaged and motivated to keep it alive and going. Once your Ideal Students have completed your course, they won’t just up and leave if you’ve managed to create an engaging place for them to gather.
Here’s why having a clear Ideal Student is beneficial:
- Your most motivated students will know that your content is for them.
- Your most engaged students will promote the community and/or course you build.
- Connections you make between students will be extremely valuable to them.
Remember that you’re not being exclusionary when you narrow in on a specific Ideal Student because this won’t be the only type of member you will ever serve. This is simply to get started — as your community and content expands, so too will your criteria grow and evolve.
How do you decide on your Ideal Student?
When you create a course and community, you’re taking your members on a transformative journey. So, think about the journey you’re taking them on and how they will grow from it.
Here are some questions to ask when figuring out who your Ideal Students are:
- How old are they?
- What life stage are they at: college student, recent graduate, job seeker, pivoting careers?
- What is the goal they’re trying to achieve?
- Why can’t they achieve their goal on their own?
- What obstacles are holding them back from getting there?
- What are they Googling about this particular topic?
- Why can’t they find the answers?
- What can YOU teach them about this topic?
- What makes YOU a good mentor?
Understanding who your Ideal Students are and why your course topic is important to them will lay the groundwork for delivering the results your members want. Keep in mind that it can be difficult to get clarity on your Ideal Student; it won’t happen overnight. Be patient, ask questions, keep an open mind, and always focus on your vision for the community you want to create.