Family Outreach and Communication

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  How often should my school be in touch with the guardians or parents of my international students living abroad?
A:  The school should already have policies and schedules for regular communication with parents.  However, the school must be aware of the limitations of communications abroad. For exceptional circumstances, such as when a medical, safety, or disciplinary situation arises, communicate with parents or guardians as soon as possible. Develop an emergency communication protocol with your team  

Q:  What are ways you can ensure effective communication with your international students' parents?
A:   Communication often involves nuance and a translation service should be used as needed to navigate both linguistic and cultural minefields. Faculty and administrators should practice with the service to be fully comfortable is using the resource.  Consider adding a translation tool to your website or creating entire pages that are in the native languages of your international students. If you have a sizeable international student body, you can create an international parent organization that gives them a forum for discussion and a channel of communication to the school, as well as interfacing with potential students' parents during the recruitment process. 



  • Make a weekly school e-newsletter in parents’ native languages to send them and keep them connected to the school. (or in English, if the school has ascertained that all parents’ level of English suffices)
  • Send photos and videos of students to their parents – no language needed!
  • Consider forming a separate parent association for international students’ parents or an international committee within the established parent association, so that they can express their unique concerns. Utilize these good relationships to interface with other prospective students and their parents abroad.
  • Use your alumni connections and past parents.
  • Connect parents to the school and/or each other by an accessible Internet forum.

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Related Resources

Guide to International University Admission

A comprehensive resource for counselors and students about undergraduate college options abroad.

The State of College Admission Report

Examining the transition from high school to postsecondary education through survey data collected from colleges and universities across the country.

Commissioned Agents and NACAC's Guide to Ethical Practice Series

A series of six periodically released resources aimed at guiding NACAC members in the responsible use of commissioned agents in international student recruitment.