Parents: How Prospective Colleges Communicate with Parents

5 Tips for Improved Communication with Colleges

By: Reyna Gobel, MBA, MJ

Once upon a time, we had to reach out to schools or we may have gotten a call or letter from a recruiter. Now, colleges interested in your student may contact you when they are interested in your student.

Here’s what you can expect based on a New Survey from CampusESP on What Parents Prefer:

  1. Weekly Communications Are Becoming the Norm

85 percent of parents wanted weekly communication from colleges. Topics requested:details about your institution’s academic programs, admission requirements and timelines, cost and financial aid information, and housing options. While the school may not know you want this information, they may send it to you if you call admissions. And if you want this information and it’s not provided after request, it may be a sign of what customer service will be like at that college. Thus, if you need this level of communication and aren’t getting it, you may discuss other education options with your student.

2. Communication by Email is Preferred.

Schools believe parents prefer email communication. 44 percent of parents want a family portal for email, and there’s an 11 percent increase in requests. And even more important, they are waiting for applications to start sending them. Thus, check your email box and have your student check theirs as soon as possible to avoid missing information about everything from campus tours to financial aid.

3. Texts Are Preferred for Urgent Communication.

Like in the rest of our lives, text messages are becoming the preferred method of communication for communication we deem important to get to right away. If a college send you a text message, it’s important to read it. But don’t think they will automatically know to do so if they don’t. 2 in 5 parents want them, while 1 in 5 school use them.

4. Create a Calendar for the Information You Need, So You Can Follow Up, Too.

While it’s great when the school automatically sends us information on every request, we have to be responsible for communication, too. Start with creating a calendar of information you’ll need and when and write or call the school when you need it. For instance, in their junior year of high school, you’ll want to start gathering preliminary information and arranging campus tours. If the school responds well when you call them, you may be able to ask about travel waivers for the campus visit.

5. Take notes on School Communication.

When deciding among colleges, there are so many factors to consider. Communication is one of them. Take notes about each interaction about how helpful representatives were. Include these notes in the discussion with your student about college selection. As with other aspects of the college selection process, a little work now will save you a lot of work and hassle during the four years your offspring is in college.