Skool Absolutely Blew Up My Community Engagement

Nate McCallister
9 min readJan 12, 2024

I am a user of Skool as well as an affiliate. Clicking on the links in this blog post might give me a commission (at no cost to you).

There’s no shortage of course hosting and community management platforms on the market right now. So when I heard all the hype about a new program called Skool, I initially ignored it.

However, I had a few trusted friends tell me that it was different and worth checking out. I have always been a fan of the creator Sam Ovens and trust that he wouldn’t release a half-assed program.

So, as I often do for the sake of this blog, I signed up and created a community in Skool so I could share with my readers whether or not it’s worth switching from another platform or not.

The test was well worth it, and you REALLY need to learn about this program. It could be a gamechanger for you if you’re planning on launching a course/community or want to level up an existing one.

Let me preface by saying this… No software will make a bad community great. The true X factor is you, your moderators, and the value you provide to your members.

So, let’s get into my quick little Skool review so you can decide if it’s a good fit for you or not.

What Is Skool?

Skool’s schtick is that they bring your courses together with your community in one place. This is cost effective but also hyper convenient and easier to manage.

The program is extremely minimalistic and focuses on engagement rather than having every possible feature.

The distinguishing function of Skool is its focus on gamification to drive engagement. It does this through a leaderboard feature that lets members earn bragging rights and the ability to unlock courses by engaging and completing various actions within the community.

Skool Is an Alternative To…

There are more than a few alternatives to Skool. The biggest names include Circle.So, Thinkific, Kajabi, Socialglow, Discord (managed through Whop), Mighty Networks, HiveBright, Socialglow. Many people prefer to use a completely free solution like Facebook as well. I’ve written at length about hosting your courses and communities on Facebook here if you’re curious.

Skool Pros

  • Very user friendly
  • Native calendar for group meetings and events
  • Flat rate pricing for unlimited members ($99/Month)
  • Payment processing is cheaper than Stripe
  • Gamification drives engagement tremendously
  • Nice mobile application
  • Chat feature for members to connect
  • Zapier integrations
  • Can collect emails like a Facebook group
  • Detailed analytics
  • Easy content search inside communities
  • Community discover page drives organic members
  • Can poll members

Skool Cons

  • Lacks more advanced features like quizzes
  • No sales page or funnel builder
  • Convincing people to create yet another new account they need to log-in
  • Very few customization options
  • No affiliate programs to sell your programs
  • No native live stream. You can schedule them, but need to provide your own link to Zoom etc
  • No custom domains. You have to use a program) URL

Who Is the Best Fit for Skool?

Skool is great if you want to quickly build a community on a platform you own that is free from the distractions of a place like Facebook.

Inexperienced creators might not even notice the lack of marketing tools, but if you want a fully optimized sales funnel, you will need to look elsewhere OR be prepared to put in a little elbow grease and pay for extra tools like hosting, ThriveCart or ClickFunnels.

Try Skool Today for FreeRisk Free 14 Day Trial

Skool Review: How It Works

The real differentiator for Skool is how course content is unlocked through engagement and completing various tasks throughout the community. This community aspect is primarily focused on posts and comments, where users can interact, like, and comment on each other’s posts.

You can set it up so that members can’t access certain trainings until they’ve reached certain levels of engagement.

Admins can ALSO award ‘gems’ to posts or comments they find particularly valuable, making these contributions stand out and encouraging more interaction.

This method is highly unique but clearly works.

If you don’t want to offer “courses” for levels, you can do things like Skool does where they offer a trip to their headquarters for anyone who gets to tier 7.

You have full control over what content is unlocked, how much is required to unlock it, and who can unlock it.

When you create a group in Skool, there’s a classroom section for hosting courses. These can be single or multiple courses, featuring modules with titles, descriptions, transcripts, and progress tracking. Resources can be attached, and discussions are encouraged under each module.

The Skool Calendar

Skool’s calendar function helps schedule events like Q&A calls, which are automatically converted to each member’s local timezone. This feature ensures that all members can easily keep track of events.

Skool Review: What I Loved about It

1. The interface.

It’s simply gorgeous. Lean and aesthetic like a freaking olympic swimmer.

In a world where every software seems to be trying to do as much as humanly possible, Skool is keeping it lean and easy to navigate.

They’ve focused on making the tool extremely easy to use for community members and easy enough to use for us community builders.

2. The leaderboard.

The gamification of the program is what brings everything together. So many online courses lack any resemblance of community. Skool is completely different, and the leaderboard and tiers make it that way.

3. The simplicity.

This is a pro for some and a con for others. Part of what makes it simple also makes it limited in some functionality you might want.

One thing I’ve learned though over my years of buying, using, and reviewing software is that most features go completely unused and having more features can, ironically, lead to a poor user experience. Sometimes doing “just enough,” is perfect.

4. Broadcast to members.

Unlike places like Facebook that are flooded with notifications from groups, pages, and friends vying for attention, Skool admins can email their members with post updates. They can also notify them via the Skool app. This is an amazing way to reach your community with a much higher rate of attention.

Skool limits the ability to broadcast to your list via email to 1x every 72 hours, but that is plenty, and it doesn’t cost you anything else. You don’t need to integrate another email marketing software to send broadcasts.

5. The mobile experience.

Skool has apps on both iOS and Android app stores, and they are fantastic. The experience is great not just for the students either; it’s also great for managing the program.

The other day I needed to remove a module that had some very misleading information on it. I was able to do it quickly straight from my iPhone. I couldn’t ever do that with other apps.

Try Skool Today for FreeRisk Free 14 Day Trial

Skool Review: What I Didn’t Love About It

1. It’s another username and password members need to create.

It’s just hard to talk people into yet another membership area. I wish Skool supported a Facebook, Discord, or Google log-in system. That would make it a bit easier to convince customers to come over.

In fairness, this is the case for almost all of these types of programs.

2. No front-end marketing tools.

You will not find a funnel builder, autoresponder, or any of the functions you’d see from a tool that is more focused on the sales process. For example, Kartra, Clickfunnels or ThriveCart all provide robust sales funnels, bump offers, and more, but you can’t do that in Skool.

You can do this, of course, but you’ll need to do it off of Skool. I’ll continue using ThriveCart for my funnels and Skool on the backend.

It feels very much held together by Zapier integrations, which is ok if you’re the type of person who knows how to manage that and the 3rd party tools you use are supported.

Many of the biggest programs on Skool have their own front end sales pages and funnels. It’s simply irresponsible for a modern marketer to sell something without these sorts of systems in place. It’s amateur to just say “this is the price, pay here, and here’s access.” The amount of money left on the table there is staggering.

3. No group chat functionality.

It could be argued that the discussion boards have the same effect, but if you wanted to do a chat of just a few people (say 5 friends) you can’t currently do that. I’d be shocked though if that isn’t added.

4. No video hosting or live streaming.

You will need to spend a little on a webinar software. This isn’t a huge deal either. We use WebinarJam and many people prefer Zoom anyway. Tools like Circle offer included live streaming, but they cap it at very low numbers like 100 before you have to pay to add more. If you have over 100 members, it becomes less economical quickly.

5. No affiliate program for communities.

The value of word of mouth advertising can’t be overstated. I drive about 40% of all sales to my programs through affiliates. You can still use affiliate programs in your Skool flow, but you’ll be paying for them elsewhere and integrating them yourself.

Try Skool Today for FreeRisk Free 14 Day Trial

Types of Skool Communities

Skool supports free and paid communities and you can accept payment through Skool’s system or through a 3rd party tool like ThriveCart using a Zapier integration.

There are currently 18 different categories of communities on Skool. I’ve highlighted the ones that seem to be the most popular and successful.

  • Business
  • Health & fitness
  • Personal development
  • Arts & crafts
  • Music
  • E-commerce
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Tech
  • Spirituality
  • Finance
  • Beauty & fashion
  • Love
  • Gaming
  • Sports
  • Productivity
  • Cars
  • Pets
  • Real estate

Here are a few of the biggest successes on the platform right now.

Try Skool Today for FreeRisk Free 14 Day Trial

Skool Review: Examples of People Earning with Skool

One of the coolest features about Skool is that they have their own community (built with Skool of course) for users. People are sharing crazy success stories in there, and Sam Oven’s ran a contest recently that showed the behind-the-scenes earnings of some of the Skool communities.

The biggest winner for new MRR was the Avacado HealthPro community. They charge members $100/month and currently list

Pro Tip

The best way to really get a feel for whether or not you want to use it with your community would be by joining one of the existing ones. This will give you a feel for how everything works, and you’ll see the user side experience. I found this to be wildly helpful when I started looking into Skool. Visit their communities page here and find a large community (free or paid) to join.

Skool Pricing

Choosing a plan with Skool is very easy. There’s only one option and it’s $99/month. It comes with everything, and no user gets more or less.

Most of the alternatives offer a plan in this range, BUT they rarely are capped at it. You get less features than you will on Skool unless you upgrade or buy add-ons.

If you run a paid community and charge through Skool, you will pay a payment processing fee (it’s impossible to not) of 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction. This is cheaper than Stripe because Stripe charges an additional 1.5% for international cards and 0.5% for subscriptions

Try Skool Today for FreeRisk Free 14 Day Trial



Nate McCallister

I over analyze topics in the internet business and self development space. I share my findings here so you can focus on growth. 👍