Every two years, EAB surveys thousands of parents of college-bound high schoolers on how they are evaluating potential schools. This ongoing conversation gives us unique insight into how parent values and search behaviors are evolving over time.
The 2020 edition of the survey includes new questions on increasingly critical aspects of the college search process, including how school websites influence parent decisions. Secondly, it offers detailed insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic is influencing families’ college planning, budgeting, and school selection.
This infographic highlights relevant findings to aid enrollment leaders in navigating the rapidly evolving landscape. Explore our findings across four key areas and learn a little more about the respondent pool in the following sections:
- Parents and the Pandemic: Concerns About COVID-19 and Its Effect on Families
- Cost and Willingness to Pay: Safety and Student Success Are Parents’ Top Concerns
- Searching for College in a World Without Travel: College Websites Are More Important Than Ever
- Communication Is Still Key: Engage Parents and Families with Frequent and Direct Outreach
- Characteristics of Survey Respondents
How concerned are you about the coronavirus affecting your family?
Which of the following statements regarding the impact of the pandemic accurately reflect your plans?
What school characteristics or outcomes would you pay more for?
Safety has risen to the #2 slot, presumably due to the pandemic.
What makes you the most anxious about your child’s future college experience?
Even students’ health is not as worrying to parents as college cost—a remarkable finding in the COVID-19 era.
What concerns you most about the cost of college?
How much are parents willing to pay?
of how much to spend is most widespread among lowest-income families
All Income Bands
Experienced significantly increased uncertainty
Which sources were most helpful to you in your search for
information about schools?
Specific college websites
When you searched for a college or university, what search criteria did you use?
What statements regarding school websites do you agree with?
- Almost a third of parents indicated school websites were the single most important information source when it came to helping them decide whether a school is right for their child
- 93% of parents say they agreed with the statement that they make a point of visiting websites of schools their child is considering
- 86% agree that a well-designed college website improves their opinion of the college
- 81% said a poorly designed site reduces their confidence in the school
Do you think colleges and universities should communicate directly with parents of prospective students?
Give parents reason to be grateful to hear from you.