The student is often not the sole decider when it comes to selecting their next stage of education. Admission counselors must keep in mind the parents.

In our last blog, we discussed the generational traits of Gen Z, those most likely to be your standard traditional student. In this blog, we’ll take a look into the overarching traits of their parents. 

Who are the Gen X Parents? 

For the majority of prospective students, their parents will belong to Gen X, also referred to as the Lost Generation. Born between 1965 and 1982, this generation has a few key markers to consider when communicating with them. 

Familiar with Higher Ed

Gen X is overwhelmingly a college-educated generation. They were 3x more likely to attend college than their parents. 

While student debt was certainly an issue for these parents, they were the last generation to find that higher education significantly impacted their immediate earning potential. 

This tells us that Gen X parents still hold the value of college to a high degree. In a time where many young generations are questioning the worth of a college degree, you can generally rely on the parents’ support if a student doubts attending college altogether.

Use hard data to show their child’s earning potential if they choose your institution. 

Remember that every institution brags on its classes, some brag on a few successful alumni stories, and hardly any stand behind a statistic of average graduate salaries. 

The more detailed and confident you can be in selling the result of your institution’s education, the easier it will be for these parents to be onboard. 

Together Forever

As the children of a climbing divorce rate, Gen X on a large scale tends to be happily married. 64% of this age group is married and has a significantly lower divorce rate than its neighboring generation, sitting at a mere 36%. 

Accordingly, you’ll more likely be dealing with two parents rather than one. While this could indicate double the questions, this also means you have another set of ears when communicating your school’s value. 

Two-Earner Household

Married Gen X parents tend to be double-income families, with both more likely to be working full time.

Family income as a whole is higher for this generation; however the men of Gen X make about 12% less than their fathers did. 

Because of the likelihood of both parents working, this generation stresses the importance of a healthy work-life balance. 

Unlike some Boomers, Gen X parents most likely won’t come in guns blazing wanting proof that their kids will become an instant CEO. The vast majority haven’t desired to live a cutthroat career, and many hold realistic expectations for their kids. 

They want their children to get a good education, have a meaningful career, and be able to enjoy all of life’s vacations and weekends. Selling them on stellar resources and potential is great, but maintain a balance in your pitch. 

Not Necessarily a Hover Parent…

Finally, the Gen X parents are stealth fighters

You most likely won’t have to worry about helicopter moms or hover dads; however, do note that you will most likely hear from them over more serious issues, as they deal with these swiftly and forcefully. 

So you should be able to rely on the prospective student to handle smaller matters and not have to worry about a parent flying off the handle over minor hiccups.

However, they won’t leave their child completely hanging. If there is a more critical issue like financial aid, being waitlisted, or managing mental health on campus, expect to hear from them. 

Treat Each Case with Individual Care

Understanding these overall traits can help us be more prepared for interactions and communications with parents.

However, try not to group all Gen X parents into these categories. Personal life experience and expectations for their child will influence the way they approach the college search journey. 

Finding ways to personalize a family’s experience with your school is key. Ask questions, go in educated, but don’t over-assume.  

Learn More on Energizing Your Admission Counselors 

The Parish Group has a dedicated team of admission pros armed with knowledge and experience to help train your admission counseling team. 

If you’re interested in this service or have any general questions, please reach out to or call our office at 828-505-3000.