25 Back to School Subject Lines to Help Get Your Email Opened

Back to school is a big sales opportunity. Whether you sell something to students or not, this is a time when many people are making purchase decisions.

According to Mastercard SpendingPulse™, which measures retail sales across all forms of payment, U.S. back to school sales are expected to grow 5.5% from 2020 and 6.7% from 2019. That means you can expect a boost in sales, even relative to the last couple of years.

Email is the #1 source of back to school purchase decisions. So if you are selling something students need, or just want to use the excuse to offer parents a deal, it’s time to fire up those emails with the perfect subject line.

4 guidelines for attention-grabbing back to school email subject lines

Whether you use our recommended back to school subject lines or want to create your own, there are a few tried and tested guidelines for writing them:

  1. Include “back to school” in the subject line. People associate back to school phrasing with deals. Adding this to your subject line will immediately pique interest.
  2. Keep it short. Shorter subject lines tend to stand out in an inbox. Try for less than 40 characters total.
  3. Get to the point. Buyers want to know exactly what’s in your email before they open it. Running a sale? Promoting a new product? Include it in the subject line.
  4. Use emojis. An effective emoji grabs attention and can double down on the point of your email. We include a list of 10 engaging emojis you can use below.

Ready to get started on your email? Here are 25 general-use subject lines that you can take or make small modifications to. 

25 back to school subject lines

  1. Ready to go back to school?
  2. Get ready for the back to school season
  3. Back to school sale starts today!
  4. Save big on back to school deals
  5. One day only. Back to school sale
  6. Specials for back to school
  7. New _____ for back to school
  8. Get ______ this football season
  9. Get X% off for back to school
  10. Original back to school styles
  11. Back. To. School.
  12. Get your back to school essentials
  13. Free shipping on back to school orders
  14. Top 10 _____ for back to school
  15. Prep for school: New year, new you
  16. Back to school deals for you
  17. Back to campus styles
  18. It’s time for back to school
  19. Fall favorites for back to school
  20. Pre-fall back to school sale
  21. Get ____ for your kiddos this school year
  22. Treat yourself during back to school
  23. A fresh start this school year
  24. Just in for back to school
  25. A fresh start. Back to school supplies

Want to boost your subject line with an effective emoji? Here are ten popular ones to include.

Top 10 emojis to add to your back to school emails

Test out some of these emojis on your audience and see what grabs their attention.

  1. ⌛ — Hourglass. Use this emoji to show that the deal or promotion is only available for a limited time.
  2. ⚡️ — Lightning. You can also use this emoji to emphasize a short-term discount or promotion.
  3. 💰 — Money bag. Use this emoji to indicate that your buyers will be saving money when they purchase from this email.
  4. 🍂 — Falling leaves. Use this emoji to set an autumn season tone.
  5. ✨ — Sparkles. This emoji indicates success and positivity. Try it on either side of your subject line.
  6. 📚📓 — Books. Use these emojis alongside any school messaging for emphasis.
  7. 🛍️ — Shopping bags. Use this emoji if you are selling products either in-person or online.
  8. 👞👕 — Products. Use these emojis if you sell products that have a specific emoji associated with them (you can search online to find out).
  9. 🏈 ⚽ — Sports. Use these emojis to indicate a certain season or if you’re targeting sports fans.
  10. 👪 — Family. Use this emoji if you’re targeting families with your offerings. Remember, there are lots of different family emoji options, so make sure you pick one that resonates with your audience.

When using emojis in your subject line, remember that some people won’t necessarily see them. Always use them to enhance the message, but not replace it. 

For example, use emojis like this:

👍 “Back to school book sale 📚” 

Don’t use emojis like this:

👎 “Back to school 📚 sale”

A/B test your subject lines to find the best open rates

You can test your subject line using a split test. Copy your email and give the copy a new subject line or add an emoji. Then, using an A/B/C test, you can send the more successful subject line to the majority of your audience, resulting in better open, click through, and sales rates!

Learn more about A/B testing your emails.

Send your back to school email using AWeber

Ready to get your emails sent out ASAP? Get an AWeber account set up in minutes. It’s fast and easy to send your first email. Plus, with A/B testing and robust reporting, you can test the most successful email subject lines year round.
Sign up today.


  1. Yiming Xuzhou

    7/28/2021 5:01 am

    Super useful resource from Kelsey. Appreciate the simplicity and effectiveness of this list. Saving it for future use…

  2. Kelsey Johnson

    7/29/2021 5:21 pm

    I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Please don’t hesitate to let us know what other useful resources we can provide!

  3. Rishad

    8/3/2021 4:23 am

    Awesome post… Was looking for improved open rate ideas. Now got it from the right phase.