Our blogs typically cover strategies and ideas for helping our higher ed clients reach and recruit students for their schools.
Many of our client schools look to us for advice in reaching their parent constituents, and wisely so. Parents and families will have the largest influence on the college decision process. Developing effective communications for parents, as well as students, is a necessary tactic for effective recruitment. Many schools; however, talk the talk but in the end, don’t walk the walk. Whether they blame budget woes, staffing holes, or poor planning, parent communication is generally weak and sub-par when compared to the glossy print and rapid-fire electronic communications developed for students.
If this sounds like your institution, then listen up. The difficulties with parent communication and developing a specific flow to this population – budget, time, staff – are most likely not going to change quickly. To that end, don’t let another cycle slip by without better positioning your school with families and parents — consider looking at free resources that your institution can funnel to parents. If a faculty member or counselor finds a tip, or blog, or resource on the web that seems helpful, share it. If a useful piece of advice comes from another source, i.e., somewhere other than your school, that’s okay. A third-party recommendation or idea only builds your institution’s credibility.
I can offer one such resource right now, “Parents Tips for Surviving College Essays,” an article I wrote a few weeks ago after aiding my nephew and sister through the experience. It’s published on KnoxNews.com and may provide a couple of ideas that could alleviate some familial angst.
By your admissions office providing advice and tips to parents and families – these valuable influencers of the recruitment process – you are underscoring your school’s promise of being supportive, helpful, and individually attentive. (Come on, you know you say it in your literature and websites…and shouldn’t those characteristics be true on the recruiting side of the relationship as well as the current student phase?)
Ultimately, the hope is for a student (and his or her family) to make the right school choice…meaning the school that is the right fit for that specific student. Anything a college or university can do to help ease that decision, and make it more accurate, is a step in the right direction for parent communications.
Karyn Adams is vice president and creative director for H·A ThirtyOne, working closely with the enrollment leadership and strategic communicators on campus. Have some ideas you’d like to test? Contact Karyn at firstname.lastname@example.org | 865.207.6944