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When to include parents in the admissions process


Start sooner, since parents’ influence is the strongest earlier in the process

Parents are typically most influential at the start, when families are deciding which schools might be right for the student. Once the consideration set of schools is established, however, students tend to have more influence in terms of choosing their top schools and then making the final choice.

The early bird gets the attention

If you’re one of the first colleges to contact a parent — before their mailbox and inbox are overflowing — you’ll have a better chance of breaking through the clutter. Parents are often most excited about the process at the beginning, when anything is possible for their child — and before they’re dealing with hassles like financial aid forms and application deadlines.

Remember that parents’ engagement increases over time

Even though parents have less influence as the process goes on, they become more involved. This makes sense when you realize that students often need their parents’ help to manage the logistics of visiting campuses, applying for financial aid, and all of the other steps involved. For example, while 80% of parents of sophomores have acted to support their student’s enrollment (which is still a high number), 98% of parents of seniors have done so.


Focus less on “selling” your institution to parents at the end of the process, when they’re often just trying to look up deadlines, find forms and gather additional information forms or other [post-decision] information. Instead, make it easy for parents to complete these tasks. For example, Xavier University asked parents of admitted students if their child was likely to deposit; if a parent said “maybe,” Xavier asked them what additional information they needed to support their child.

Want to learn more?

Our full report on parents covers everything from which topics are important to parents, to the most effective communications strategies for parents of Gen-Z students. 

FREE GUIDE: Communicating with Parents of Prospective Students

For Mongoose, this is a big win

Adding to a powerhouse staff, Mongoose has hired Jeff Meece as Vice President, Strategy. With more than 23 years of enrollment management experience, most recently as the Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management at Columbia College Chicago. He specializes in helping institutions be strategic with their communications. Along with his new role with Mongoose, Jeff will continue as an associate consultant with Ruffalo Noel Levitz, an industry leader in enrollment management, student success, and fundraising management.

“I think I would benefit more if a school took an interest in who I am today, rather than who I was when I was 20.”

A great conversation on advancement with Dr. Jay Dillon, founder of Alumni Identity. Jay talks with Mike about how institutions should change the way they think about and view alums and donors, and how that strategy has led to better results for USF and UCLA. (Plus, hear the best email subject line he’s ever used – 23% open rate!)

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[FREE GUIDE]  Communicating with Parents of Prospective Students DOWNLOAD NOW