parent homeschooling his student during Covid-19

Parents have always played a large role in students’ college decisions, but surveys indicate that parents are playing a larger role in students’ college decisions than they have in the past. This increase in parental influence on college decisions may be a result of pandemic-related factors. This includes the forced proximity of recent years and concerns over schools’ pandemic responses.

Parental Influence Has Increased

A 2022 survey from EAB shows that parental influence has become a more important factor in students’ college decisions since the pandemic. Among students surveyed, 48% ranked “parental influence” as one of their top five sources of information on the admissions process, a substantial increase since 2019. Higher-income students, Asian students, and white students reported relying on their parents for guidance at higher rates than other subgroups.

parental influence on stuents' college decisions

Increased Parental Influence May Be Due to the Pandemic

Shifts in parental influence seem to be tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. Madeleine Rhyneer, dean of enrollment management at EAB, cited “all of the at-home time that students had with family members during COVID-19” as a driving force behind this shift. She added that “when students say, ‘We’re going to college,’ they aren’t kidding, as this is very much a family decision.”

Parents Are Not Well-Versed in Changing College Admissions Trends

Unfortunately, many parents are not well versed in current college admissions trends. After all, the college admissions landscape is drastically different now than it was when the previous generation applied to college. Schools that were once relatively easy to get into are now highly selective, and the advice surrounding everything from extracurricular activities to college essays has changed.

It’s now more important than ever that families lean on expert college counselors to guide them through the college admissions process. This is especially true when the goal is to be accepted at and attend an elite school. C2 college counselors work with students and parents to create a personalized plan and roadmap to achieve their academic goals.