Today’s parents are more involved in their student’s life and post secondary education than ever before. Studies show that students are in contact with their parents as many as thirteen times a week and that today’s students welcome advice from their parents much more readily than any generation of students before them. With this in mind, CampusESP collected and analyzed data from nearly 300,000 parent clicks on content posted to CampusESP’s Parent Portals in 2018 to see what parents are reading and when.
Overall, parents are always reading content advising them on how to support their student. In fact, content categorized as “student support” was clicked on nearly twice as often as any other content and clicked on consistently throughout the entire year. What we found is that parent’s other interests and topics of concern vary and change throughout the year.
August - October: Back to School - Easing the Transition
Back to school time is when parents are most concerned with setting their student up for success - mentally, academically, and financially. Parents’ interests leaned towards aiding their student in transitioning back to college after the summer break, FAFSA and financial aid deadlines, and family weekend information. In fact, our analysis showed that 54% of parents in our portal clicked on information about family weekend.
Parents’ most read articles in CampusESP for this period were:
Why does this matter? Parent & Family weekend is a critical way to engage and include parents in the campus community! Providing parents with information and encouraging them to join in the fun is a very effective way to kickstart your parent giving campaigns. Further, it’s a great way for parents to show up and support their student, which is important to both students and parents, without overstepping into their student’s college experience. And yes, CampusESP can help with your family weekend plans! We offer a feature to manage event registration for Parent & Family Weekend.
November - December: Finals Time - Alleviating Stress
It’s no secret students’ stress levels take an upturn during finals time. During this time, parents were clicking most on content about supporting their student through exams, advice for how to aid their student academically, and conversations to have with their student over the winter break.
Example content from this period is:
Why does this matter? During finals time, students require different kinds of support before, during, and after. 56% of parents in our portal clicked on content about helping their student through finals and with their return home afterwards. Providing parents with finals specific advice will help them give their student with the support they need and then engage with them after finals in a way that helps everyone learn from the experience.
January - March: Forward Thinking
Throughout the winter, parents were reading career and internship related content. This coincides with the time that most students are working out their summer break or internship plans. This part of the year was also when content about scholarships and financial aid got the largest number of views, with 45% of parents in our portal clicking on financial aid and scholarship information.
Why does this matter? Parents’ thoughts and opinions can have a large impact on what internship a student may choose to apply for and/or accept. By providing parents with advice on how to help their student find the right summer internship for them - it ensures the student will enjoy and learn from their experience.
April - May: Wrapping Up the Year
During the spring, content views trended more to residential life and housing information for next year, important dates for the coming year, and, obviously, graduation information.
Why does this matter? Parents who have students heading back to school for the following year are concerned with making sure their students finish on a strong foot and are well set up for next year. Make sure parents are provided important information for their student’s next year on campus to help ensure their student returns ready for success.
The Bottom Line: Strategic Scheduling is Critical
It’s clear parents are always interested in ways to helpfully engage with and support their college student. Our biggest takeaway from this data, though, is that strategically scheduling content based at specific times during the year is crucial. You want parents to be see the most relevant content and advice so they can best support their student.