Attracting potential, out-of-state students to your university is crucial, but engaging their parents is just as important. For parents, there's a lot that goes into the decision making process when choosing a university for their child. These factors may include how well of a fit the university is, the program for their major, location, scholarships, sports programs, greek life, graduation rate, tuition, and more.
To really understand an out-of-state parent's perspective, we interviewed Atlanta native, Tina Williams, whose daughter Mackenzie is a sophomore at Auburn University where 35% of students are from out of state. CollegeXpress
Q: "How familiar were you with Auburn University before your daughter decided to attend?"
A: "Very familiar! My husband and I both attended Auburn University and it's an incredible school with a great cultural variety; good for personal growth and opportunity."
Q: "Did any specific educational advantages play a role in your decision?"
A: "Mackenzie is in graphic design and Auburn has one of the best graphic design programs in the country -- definietly weighed into our decision."
Q: "Was the price of out-of-state tuition ever an issue for you guys?"
A: "Out-of-state tuition isn't cheap, but you can't put a price tag on education! It is an invaluable opportunity to attend a school like Auburn University."
Q: "Did Mackenzie recieve any sort of scholarship from Auburn that played a role in your decision?"
A: "Yes, she recieves a few thousand dollars a year from the university for maintaining a 3.5 GPA. This helps pay for several expenses."
Q: "How well of a job would you say Auburn University did in keeping you informed and engaged as a potantial out-of-state parent when deciding on a school for your daughter?"
A: "I would say they did a pretty good job. We did recieve a lot of different information in the mail, but it never got too overwhelming. They've always made her feel like a part of the Auburn family, even before she decided to attend."
So, from a student admissions point of view, how can you do a better job at connecting with the parents of out-of-state students? Through the appropriate inbound marketing strategies explaining WHY you want the student at your university and what's in it for their parents. Think of it like your buyer's journey, except in this case it is the potential, out-of-state parent's journey. You must create the right buyer persona in order to really engage the parents of the students you want attending your university. This means sending out information specific to those parents during their decision making process, because they like to feel like you are contacting them on a more personal level. Chronicles of Higher Education
Social media is also a very important factor when attracting out-of-state parents to your university. Parents are more likely to be on Facebook than any other social media platform, so be sure to stay active and post regularly. It is also very important for the dean of your university to engage with these parents so they can put a name with a face and know that he or she truly cares about their child attending your university. Check out our blog post Making Your Dean More Approachable Through Social Media to learn how your dean can not only reach out to more parents through social media, but everyone affiliated with your university.
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