Parent Insights: College Communications and Decision Dynamics

Parents play a significant role in their child’s college decision process and understanding their perspectives and preferences is crucial for higher education recruitment marketers. During INNOVATE 2023, Capture’s virtual conference for recruitment marketing leaders and professionals, Laura Rudolph, CEO of Square One Consulting, LLC, delved into the latest parent insights, exploring how colleges can effectively communicate with parents and inform their decision making.


In her session, “Parent Insights: College Communications and Decision Dynamics,” Rudolph offered insights into parent perceptions and expectations, identified effective strategies to engage and inform parents, gave tips on how to tailor messaging to them and showed how enrollment operations can build a plan for incorporating parent outreach into their recruitment strategy.

She opens her presentation with some data:

  • 99% of parents said they’re involved with their student’s college search process (Campus ESP/RNL 2023 Prospective Family Report)
  • 97% of parents are involved with the college search (Encora 2022 Prospective Parent Research)
  • #2 – Parents listed as the second-most influential to their student’s college search behind high school counselors (EAB 2022 Parent Survey)
  • 59% of parents influence where their students will apply (Encora 2022 Prospective Parent Research)

“If you continue to look across all of this great data,” Rudoph says, “the white papers and reports that are put out on a regular basis, you’re going to see … that it is inevitable, ultimately, that parents are a huge driving factor in the college search process.”

For marketing recruitment professionals, there are some basic questions that need to be asked when considering this parental influence, Rudolph says.

“Who are they? Who are the students we are interacting with and who are their parents?” she says. “How do they want to be communicated with? What content resonates with them? And then how do we apply this information in a very practical way.”

This is what Rudolph covers in her prescient INNOVATE 2023 presentation. Stay for the end when she offers resources and actionable measures your team can take right now to better engage the parents of your prospective students. Check out the session recording here.