The High School Class Reunion Survey

Key Findings

  • 29% of Respondents didn't even know there was a reunion.
  • 87% of reunions had less than HALF of their Class attend.
  • 95% of reunions occur from August to December.
  • Email and Facebook are the top methods used to contact classmates about a reunion.
  • The reunion itself doesn't cost much for attendees, as over 50% said it cost less than $50.
  • Travel expenses are a factor however, as 40% have to fly or drive more than 3 hours and 47% did not have family or friends to stay with.
  • Travel is also the #1 reason people were hesitant to attend.
  • If people go, they enjoy it as the majority of people rated their reunion a 4 or 5 out of 5.

Table of Contents

  • Reunion Attendance
    • To your knowledge, was there a reunion last year?
    • What percentage of your graduating class attended the reunion?
    • Why did you go to your reunion?
    • Were you hesitant to go to your reunion for any of these reasons?
    • How long before the deadline did you sign up?
    • If you waited to decide whether to go to the reunion, why?
  • Reunion Planning
    • How many people helped plan the reunion?
    • Did you help plan your reunion?
    • Did you talk to the previous year's reunion planner or classmates for help/ideas?
    • How many months were spent planning your reunion?
  • Outreach
    • What methods were used by class representatives to spread the word?
    • How did you hear about your reunion?
    • Was an attempt made to contact everyone in the graduating class?
    • How many months before your reunion did you hear about it?
  • Location and Cost
    • What did your reunion cost for a single person?
    • What did your reunion cost for a couple?
    • Did you think your reunion was expensive?
    • During what month was your reunion?
    • Did you have to travel?
    • Did you have friends or family that you could stay with?
    • Would you donate to a travel fund to help distant alumni come?
  • Demographics
    • Are you single?
    • Do you have kids under 16?
    • What percentage of reunion events were kids invited to?
  • The Reunion
    • Rate your reunion on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best
    • What was the best part about your reunion?
    • What was the worst part about your reunion?

About the Survey

This survey was sent to high school alumni in the United States who were in an eligible reunion year (meaning a 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, or 50 year reunion class). Over 10,000 alumni completed the survey.

Reunion Attendance

To your knowledge, was there a reunion last year?

What percentage of your graduating class attended the reunion?

Why did you go to your reunion? (check all that apply)

See how people have changed
22%
My friends were going
19%
See a specific friend
12%
The activities planned
10%
See the school
5%
Impress others with how I changed
2%

Were you hesitant to go to your reunion for any of these reasons? (check all that apply)

Travel distance
30%
Cost
23%
Not my thing
18%
Poor attendance
15%
Avoiding people I didn't like
7%
Embarrassed with how I've changed
6%
Kids (including childcare)
5%

How long before the deadline did you sign up?

If you waited to decide whether to go to the reunion, why?

Other
70%
See who else was going
18%
Just a procrastinator
14%

Reunion Planning

How many people helped plan the reunion?

12% of respondents helped plan their reunion.

66% of reunion planners talked to the previous year's reunion planner or classmates for help/ideas.

How many months were spent planning your reunion?

Outreach

What methods were used by class representatives to spread the word? (check all that apply)

Email
35%
Facebook
33%
Mail
20%
Phone
14%

How did you hear about your reunion?

92% of reunion planners attempted to contact everyone in the graduating class.

63% of reunion attendees who did not help plan the reunion thought there was an attempt to contact everyone in the graduating class.

How many months before your reunion did you hear about it?

Location and Cost

What did your reunion cost for a single person?

What did your reunion cost for a couple?

Did you think your reunion was expensive?

During what month was your reunion?

Did you have to travel?

No, live in town
32%
By car
30%
By plane
22%
By car over 3 hours
18%

54% of respondents had friends or family they could stay with.

29% of respondents would donate to a travel fund to help distant alumni attend their reunion.

Demographics

31% of respondents were single.

The youngest and oldest respondents were most likely to report being single.

14% of respondents had kids under 16.

The reunion year correlates highly with whether respondents had children under 16.

What percentage of reunion events were kids invited to?

of reunions invited children to at least 25% of events.

Percentage of reunions in which children were invited to at least 25% of events by reunion year.

The Reunion

Rate your reunion on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best

Praise

Catching up with classmates was by far the best part of the reunion experience for survey respondents, with nearly three-quarters of those surveyed using phrases like "seeing others" and "seeing classmates" when discussing their favorite part of their reunion experience. Many respondents also praised reunion organizers and planners for their work in arranging the events.

What was the best part about your reunion?

Seeing my closest friends at an age relatable to our graduation. Felt as though we were still in High School!

David, Class of 1962 (55 year reunion)

Meeting people that I hadn't seen in years. People were so much more friendly than when we were in school.

Cheryl, Class of 1972 (45 year reunion)

Seeing so many old friends and reuniting with many people. It was an awesome experience! I had a lot of fun.

Kelli, Class of 1987 (30 year reunion)

The 50th reunion was the best! We mainly visited and talked the majority of the time. I love to dance, and was looking forward to dancing. However, visiting and seeing friends was the best part. The class never got to dance, since we were so engaged in catching up with each other.

Peter, Class of 1967 (50 year reunion)

The organizers did an amazing job, from start to finish, especially with the small details that are often overlooked. One such detail was the list displayed on a table near the door, showing which classmates were at the reunion, and which classmates had passed away. That was a very nice touch.

Chuck, Class of 1962 (55 year reunion)

Criticism

Complaints about why reunions weren't successful were more varied than the common themes of those who enjoyed their experiences. About 1 in 5 respondents said lack of attendance was the worst part of their reunion, while issues related to venues, including loud noise and bad food, bothered 3-4% of respondents.

What was the worst part about your reunion?

The obituary of all who have passed on. Only that it was a sad moment in time but necessary because we are all mortal. So enjoy life to the fullest. Say a few words about those who have gone before us, and some words of wisdom to those we will send to a time we will not see. Hope all these thoughts are helpful for upcoming reunions.

Russell, Class of 1962 (55 year reunion)

The music was too loud. It was nice, but too loud for visiting with others. We are all getting older and hard of hearing!

Wendy, Class of 1977 (40 year reunion)

It was too short, and I am not sure if enough effort was used to reach out to all of our classmates.

Gerry, Class of 1967 (50 year reunion)

The main organizer treated me as an outsider - no attempt made to have a name badge for me, no round the table introductions. The clique of "regulars" was dominant and did not seem to welcome those of us who live far away and went to significant expense to attend, even though we are not regulars at the previous reunions. This comment applies only to the main organizers.

Dick, Class of 1967 (50 year reunion)

Multiple classes. Two year before is good. It becomes uncomfortable if it's more than that. You don't know who people are. It's hard enough trying to figure out who your own classmates are.

Lawana, Class of 1972 (45 year reunion)

The Bottom Line

When people attend class reunions, they tend to have a good time. Our research study found that for the vast majority of milestone reunion attendees, their reunion experience was a positive one well worth their time, money, and effort. And for many of those who didn't have a great time, there's a simple solution: Get more classmates to show up.



Need more reunion help? Check out our list of 75 reunion ideas


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