Texting Parents

Overview

Many parents are actually the ones opting in during the admissions process and even afterwards. It is important to understand who you are specifically reaching out to in order to streamline your communication, especially when texting. This guide details steps for approaching outreach to parents and how to effectively store their data.


"Should we be texting parents?"

The answer to the question " Should we be texting parents?" is a definite " Yes." Parents play a critical role in student success. They help the student stay on track and meet deadlines. Parents need to absolutely understand affordability and outcomes.

Being Specific When Collecting Opt-Ins

Organizing and storing parent data in your information system plays a key role in effective outreach. To start off, make sure you have identified mobile numbers that belong to parents. This is most easily confirmed during the inquiry stage. For example:
  • Have a mobile number field (make it required) on the inquiry form and then a dropdown for "this mobile number is for Student/Parent/Other."
  • Since it is an inquiry form, you should also have a checkbox for "Recommended: Send me text updates related to my application process."
  • Once they provide one mobile number, give them the opportunity to add another (for example, one for a parent and one for the student). You may also want to list them both and collect first and last names for both.
You should also add the same fields to the online application. This time, you can exclude the opt-in checkbox, as at the applicant stage you should not need to get one.

Storing and Managing Parent Data

After a mobile number and opt-in is collected, the next step is to determine how you will store that information in your system of record. The options are:
  • Have separate records for parents and link them to student records in your information system
  • Have parent information stored within the student record

In terms of how that data impacts Cadence, if you plan on importing parents as their own separate records, they must have a unique StudentId and MobileNumber. Here are some tips for organizing and managing imported parent data:

  • When importing the parent record, use the student's ID in the StudentId field, but append a "P" or "P_" to it in order to indicate that the record belongs to a parent.
  • Rather than an appending the student's ID, you may instead want to use the parent's mobile number as the StudentId.
  • We suggest storing "Son/Daughter Name" on parent records in your information system and importing that into Cadence as one of your custom fields. That will allow Cadence users to see that the number/record belongs to a parent rather than a student.
  • Similarly, we suggest storing "Parent Name" as a field on the student record in your information system and importing that into Cadence as a custom field as well. That will help "link" the two records together and provide context.
  • You may want to import other pieces of information about the student as custom fields on the parent record. Examples include "Student's ID", "Student's Major", "Graduation Year", etc.

If you will not be importing parent records separately and instead will only be importing student records, we suggest storing "Parent Name" as a field on the student record in your information system and then importing that into Cadence as a custom field. If you find out that it is really the parent that will be texting from that number, you may also want to add a custom field identifying that (e.g., "Is Parent" or "Parent Record" and store a Yes/No value in the field).

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