How colleges and universities can engage parents during the enrollment process

In a recent study by Ruffalo Noel Levitz and CampusESP, 1,313 parents were surveyed to learn more about parents’ involvement in their children’s college planning.

The insights summarize how colleges and universities can make stronger connections with the parents of prospective students to help increase enrollment results.

Here are three key takeaways (and a link to the full report below).

Create dedicated communications for parents.



Nearly 8 out of 10 parents are very involved in their child’s college planning process, but only half of parents said they received communication specifically for them from colleges.


Parents want to hear from you. And they want to understand how your institution can help their child succeed. Use testimonials from parents of current students, graduation statistics, financial aid data, and career outcomes to highlight the value of your institution. Communicate directly with parents so they can feel confident in their child’s choice and future.

Start the cost conversation early.


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Parents want to be informed and prepared, especially as college costs continue to rise. Half of respondents say planning for college starts before sophomore year.


Engage with parents early, often, and through multiple channels throughout the enrollment journey to keep families informed not only about the cost of college and how to pay for it, but also about the value your school delivers.

Emphasize outcomes and ROI.


Nearly all parents agree that college is important to the success of their children. But more than half believe there is too much pressure on students to go to college, and nearly 30 percent question whether college is worth the investment.


Keep your focus on outcomes when communicating with parents and students. Include information about career opportunities, cost and rewards, facilities, academic programs, student life, and student-faculty ratio. While each of these factors may be weighed differently by different families, collectively they help parents understand what sets your institution apart.

Download the full report to find recommendations to increase the impact parents can have on enrollment.

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