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Faculty and Staff

Hello! My Name Is…

College adviser Kevin Hogan talks about his success in cold calling and using social media to reach students and their parents.

Five members of the Heide Trask High School staff in front of a wall covered in pennants from different colleges and universities
Kevin Hogan with staff from Heide Trask High School

By Kevin Hogan

I start every phone call with a parent/guardian the same way. I explain who I am and ask if it is a good time to talk. I have found working with my students’ parents/guardians to be invaluable in helping the students apply to college. 

Despite my job title and the near-peer model of the College Advising Corps, some of my students don’t believe me when they hear the steps it takes to apply to college. They don’t trust my recent experience going through the exact things that they are going through now. I have found that engaging with a student’s parents/guardians almost always helps the student to move further along in the college admissions process. Not only do the parents come to understand the process better, but they also become at-home advocates for the college admissions process. 

But what does engaging with parents this year look like? In this ambiguous “new normal,” I have had to work with my students’ parents a little differently. Everyone’s schedule is a bit more hectic, so event attendance is lower than it was last year. Cold calls seem to be the best way to reach parents directly, and I quickly overcame my hesitancy to pick up the phone. 

Cold calling has been a great way to connect with some parents and provide insight into the college admissions process, as well as get more information about their student. But how do we reach the parents we don’t have phone numbers for? School social media has been the other prong to my parent engagement efforts. 

My school’s Facebook page is a big way that our parents get information about all things school. Whether it is sporting events, report cards being passed out or upcoming events, the feed is a constant source of information for parents and students. This has been really helpful in getting my face out there. This year, more parents have reached out with questions or concerns because they have seen the updates on events and information through the school Facebook page. 

Through cold calling and social media engagement, I have been able to connect directly and indirectly with more parents/guardians, and I am excited to see what the rest of the school year brings!