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How to communicate effectively with parents

Parents are key influencers in a student's educational journey. If you want to provide a seamless experience, communicating with parents efficiently will help you massively. Here are our tips on how you can build strong relationships with parents.

Provide balance

Managing the differing expectations of students and their parents is a critical part of your role. While parents often play a significant role in decision-making, it's essential to understand the student's wants and needs,

For example, a student wants to study graphic design, but the parents prefer a more traditional field like engineering because they think it has better job prospects. As an education agent, it's your job to facilitate a balanced conversation between the student and their parents.

To manage this, you need to understand the student's passion and their parents' concerns. Then, you can provide insights into the job market and the demand for candidates in creative fields. You can also discuss how motivated and engaged students will likely perform better academically and enjoy their university experience more.

Also, share success stories of students who have pursued their passion and have had successful careers because it helps to alleviate concerns. On the other hand, ensure the student understands their parents' worries, which are typically rooted in their desire for their child's security and success.

Remember, the objective is not to side with the student or the parents but to guide them toward a mutually agreeable decision. By handling these conversations tactfully, you can help bridge the gap between a student’s aspirations and the parent’s expectations, promoting a more harmonious and productive decision-making process.

Be honest

Parents trust you to help their children, and maintaining that trust requires clarity and truth. Keep parents informed about their child's progress, including any issues.

If there's an obstacle, clearly explain it to the parents and discuss potential solutions. This can create a collaborative environment, ease anxieties, and foster a deeper level of trust.

Use simple language

Avoid industry jargon and complex language that could cause confusion or misunderstanding. Messages should be clear, concise, and to the point to ensure parents fully understand the information.

Be empathetic

The study abroad process can be a stressful and emotional time for parents. Listen attentively, understand their concerns, and acknowledge their feelings by imagining yourself in their position.

When parents express concerns or ask questions, show you understand where they’re coming from, and respond in a manner that addresses their worries - this will strengthen the relationship because they'll feel heard and valued.

For instance, if a parent has safety worries about their child's accommodation, patiently explain the steps you and the institution take to ensure student safety instead of being dismissive and just providing facts and stats.

Provide regular updates

Keeping parents in the loop about the progress of the application can go a long way in showing respect and building a good relationship, it also shows your commitment to keeping parents informed and engaged.

Rather than waiting for parents to request an update, be proactive and share the information as soon as possible. Regular updates put parents at ease, and they also show:

  • Professionalism
  • Respect
  • Care
  • Effort

Personalize your approach

One-size-fits-all does not apply when it comes to communication. Every parent and student is unique, and their concerns and queries will be individual to their circumstances. Adapt your approach to meet their needs and show that you genuinely care.

If a student and their parents are anxious about studying abroad, they may require more frequent updates and reassurances. In this case, increasing regular check-ins and sharing mental health resources can be helpful. You can also signpost to mental health services that are available at the university the student will be attending.

Be accessible

Parents should be able to reach you easily. Here are some channels you can consider being available on:

  • Phone
  • Email
  • Messaging apps
  • Social media
  • Video conferencing tools like Zoom

It's a good idea to let them know when you're available for calls and meetings. Alternatively, you can encourage parents to email you, assuring them that you'll respond within a given time frame.

Remain professional

Being friendly and approachable is vital, but remember to stay professional. This balance assures parents that you're a reliable and respectable agent. Maintain a level of formality by keeping the language polite, and staying focused on the topics at hand.