By Jeremy Tiers, Director of Admissions Services
As I’ve been talking with admissions leaders and counselors these past few weeks, way too many schools still haven’t introduced their admissions counselors to the parents of this next class of students in a personalized way. If that sounds like your school, please understand that you’re falling behind.
The longer you wait to start cultivating those 1-1, personal relationships with parents, the harder it will be to get students to take the next step in the process.
High school seniors are currently going through a college search unlike any other. Everything just feels different and there’s so much uncertainty. You can double that for their parents. They’re extremely stressed and saddened by what’s happening during this monumental moment in their child’s life.
We’ve talked before about how to improve your communication with parents. If you need ideas or want a quick refresher, this article covers everything.
Parents continue to be the biggest outside influencer for most students, and we’re finding that many are exerting more influence than ever on the direction of their son or daughter’s college search. They want to know what the plan is to help prepare their child for life after college, and they want to understand how they’ll be safe on your campus.
Once you’ve introduced yourself and made it clear that you want to help make the entire process easier for their family, here are two important talking points that continue to prove helpful and valuable for admissions counselors who utilize them.
- Ask them how they’re feeling about everything and how their family is doing. As simple as that sounds, a lot of colleges aren’t directly doing this. Trying to figure out what the parents are worried about, if the virus has afflicted family members, and what questions they have now as the college search landscape continues to change is vital. My recommendation is to set up a phone call or zoom chat for this conversation. If you do, don’t be shocked if you end up talking for a while. Admissions counselors who have implemented this strategy tell me that’s pretty typical. Parents are looking for someone they can talk to who shows empathy, listens, and makes them feel like a valued partner.
- Ask them if they’re open to having a conversation with you about financial aid, scholarships, and paying for college. This is something that every parent has been thinking about and has questions about. Don’t ever take the position that they’ll get the information and answers they need without your involvement. You need to open the door and offer to lead this important conversation. Be prepared to ask direct questions about their families’ budget and plan to pay for college, what their view on college loans are, has COVID-19 changed their financial situation and plan, as well as what questions they want answered to help them determine whether the cost at your school will be worth it.
The answers that parents give you to questions like those will tell you how to recruit their family moving forward.
Want to talk more about parent specific enrollment communications? All you have to do is email me. Talking won’t cost you anything except your time.
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