Parents Are More Involved Than Ever In The College Journey

Parents are more involved than ever in their children's college making decision, with parents influence weighing heavy on student choice.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

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college decisions

A new survey has revealed that parents are more involved in their children’s college journey. As tuition increases and campuses have grown increasingly politically biased, college decisions are being considered a family matter, rather than a personal one. This is leading students to more carefully select their educational opportunities, while sometimes focus on finding programs closer to home. 

The EAB is formerly known as the Educational Advisory Board. This organization conducted this survey to study how colleges can more effectively communicate with students. The results clearly displayed that in order to draw young adults to institutes of higher education, they must also appeal to parents as well. When universities reach out to entire families, college decisions are less stressful and likely to be taken more seriously. 

The EAB survey included 2,330 parents and found that more mothers and fathers are involved in the college decision-making process than ever. Not only that, but they are seeking more direct lines of communication. Nearly half of the students involved named their parents as their main influencers regarding college information. This is up eleven percent compared to 37% of students in 2020 and 34% in 2019.  

A whopping 75% of parents are eager to directly communicate with colleges. This has increased from 73% in 2020. Parents know that college decisions can lead to failure or success, massive debt or higher pay.

What’s more, parents begin researching college information at the same time as their children. While only about 20% of families begin the preliminary search for university information when students enter high school as freshmen, by sophomore year 50% of families are considering college decisions. This tells schools that they need to be reaching out to 16-year-old students and involving their parents in the process. 

Location is also another varying factor. While some parents wish for their children to remain close to home when they move on after graduation, this is highly affected by race and heritage. 28% of Latino parents wish for their children to remain close to home. 25% of Asian families are focused on colleges that are near their area, and 22% of Black parents hold the same view. White parents are less likely to consider proximity when making college decisions, with only 18% of these families focused on location.    

college decisions

For generations, students who were encouraged to go to college — without guidance on why or how to select the right school — took on masses of debt to obtain degrees with little to no earning potential. These college decisions have led to increased interest in education alternatives and on-the-job training as more and more young adults recognize the value of trade skills. But universities working to serve students remain steadfast in their pursuit to draw interest and encourage academic excellence

Parents have become more involved in their children’s college decisions. They are offering more guidance than ever and focused on tuition costs, communicating with universities, and gaining information while students are still young. How this will affect the nature of higher education is uncertain, but involving families has proven to create long-term multi-generational loyalty to various campuses and so this may benefit all involved.