We’ve enhanced our Feature Engineering notebook to include academic events

Published on January 16, 2023

PredictHQ tracks key academic event dates for every US college that has over 5,000 students. PredictHQ is the only source for this data, which we aggregate, clean, and enrich to give you insight into the various events that impact student behavior, including:

  • sessions

  • graduation

  • exams

  • summer classes

  • holidays

  • fall break

  • homecoming

  • thanksgiving break

  • semester

  • quarters

As this data set is unique to PredictHQ, it's the first time many businesses are working with the event category. We’ve now included academic events within our feature engineering guide so you can access insights into impactful academic events per district. Read on to discover how to leverage this guide to drive even more granular event-based demand insights for your business.

Use pre-built ML features from the features API in your models

The feature engineering guide was made to help you get up and running more quickly with our data, specifically our forecast-ready prebuilt intelligence and features of our event data that is accessed through our features API – and this update extends this guide to include academic events. The feature engineering guide can be found under the data science section of our tech docs.

The Feature Engineering notebook provides data science teams with a comprehensive guide and hands-on practice in retrieving various event-based features from the PredictHQ Features API. The guide outlines recommended features for different event categories and includes simple, easy-to-follow examples. By following these examples, data science teams can easily generate features to use in their demand forecasting models, or any other applicable models.

The guide includes details on how to use pre-built machine learning features from the features API in your models. For academic events, it includes the following features:

  • phq_attendance_academic_graduation

  • phq_attendance_academic_social

  • phq_rank_academic_session

  • phq_rank_academic_exam

  • phq_rank_academic_holiday

We recommend you try a copy of the code from the guide and experiment with the aggregated features within your models. Contact us if you need help or advice.

Academic events act as major catalysts of demand

Not really sure if academic events impact you? Events such as homecomings, final exams, and graduations are major drivers of demand for a range of local businesses – as these events often coincide with an increase in activity, consumption, and bringing more people to town:

  • For QSRs, graduations and final exams can lead to an increase in demand for food as people celebrate or seek out convenient options for meals. 

  • Hotels often see a peak in demand around graduation times with an influx of families coming into town to see their children graduate. 

  • Grocers often see steady demand while students are in session but often see a dip in demand when students are off campus for events like fall breaks and summer. 

  • On-demand delivery services, such as Uber Eats, can also see an increase in demand during exam times as people may be more likely to order food for delivery rather than go out to eat or prepare their own meals but a decrease in demand when students are away for breaks.


If you’re interested in learning about whether academic events impact your business or not, reach out to our team so we can run a correlation analysis against your historical sales data and our events. If you already know this is an event category that impacts you, check out our feature engineering guide to generate features for academic events to include in your models.