This is an opportunity for readers of this newsletter to anonymously ask me a question about any aspect of student recruitment, leadership, and professional or personal development. Each week I’ll post my answer for everyone to read.
Q. A Director of Admission asks:
“Can you give us ideas on how to start the conversation with parents? What kinds of questions work best? I manage a territory as well and it’s something our team all needs to improve on.”
A. Thank you for your question! This generation of students continues to tell us that they not only want their parents to be involved in the recruitment process, but they expect it.
I would start by telling you that if you don’t currently have a separate communication plan specifically for parents, you need to develop one. One letter or email per month will suffice, but you need to be consistent. And a phone call at least every other month is a good idea as well. The talking points are up to you, but I would recommend you connect them with messaging that you’re sending their son or daughter during that same time period. That way everyone is on the same page. Safety, cost, and R.O.I. are just some of the topics that parents want information about.
Here are some specific questions that have worked well for our clients:
- “What’s your biggest fear as you help <child’s name> choose a college?”
- “What is it about our school that you believe makes it a potential good fit for <child’s name>?”
- “What do you see as the next step in this process?”
- “Has your family talked about a timeline for a final decision?”
If you work to cultivate a recruiting relationship with the parents early on, what you’ll find is that many of them will be more than happy to provide you with useful information. But even more importantly they will come to view you as someone who respects their opinion and is treating them as a valued partner in this process.