Understanding the Parental Influence Factor

Matthew Smith
C2 Team Member Alumni

Parents have always been an influence for college-bound high school students. But parental influence is growing, possibly related to the rising cost of tuition. Nearly 75 percent of parents polled by Inside Higher Ed respond that they will be “somewhat restrictive” about the universities their children may attend, purely based on cost. This idea is reinforced by students in Noel-Levitz ’s annual E-Expectations survey. Students responding in that poll continue to list parents as the top influencers on their decision to attend a school.

But parents and students require different digital and supporting strategies to make decisions. University recruiting strategies must be diversified enough to reach students and parents alike. The following infographic shows how students and parents answered when asked about digital vs. traditional marketing. Students tended to prefer digital over print and traditional marketing, whereas parents were evenly split.

It’s vital to think through how your site speaks to parents. While content strategy plays a role here (a huge role), so will specialized functionality like tuition calculators, specialized FAQ’s, demonstrations of campus safety tools, and clear, parent-focused guidance toward resources that enable digital connections to offices and systems that matter most to them

Graph of Perceptions of Digital and Traditional Communications by Parents and Highschool students

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