Helicopter Parents and College Admissions

A professor of plant biology at Cornell University, Randy Wayne, believes that helicopter parents — parents who involve themselves in their child’s academic and social life in college need to essentially take a step back. We couldn’t agree more. Parents should not be calling college professors if their child got a ‘C’ on a biology final exam. It’s absolutely absurd. Parents should not be interacting with professors…period. So we thought it was ironic that Professor Wayne referred to our services at Ivy Coach in a letter to the editor from a few years ago in “The Cornell Daily Sun” that we just happened to come across by more or less intimating that our services are for the helicopter parent.

Helicopter Parents, Colleges and Helicopter Parents, Helicopter Parents and College Admissions

Helicopter parents are those who fly up to college to complain about their child’s ‘B’ in biology to their child’s professor.

Sure, we’ve worked with plenty of helicopter parents over the years, parents who want to do everything to help make sure that their child gains admission to the college of their dreams. But, often times, simply by using our services, the naturally inclined helicopter parents can take a step back. They don’t have to fight with their child about what they’re going to write about in their college essays. They don’t have to nag them about when their applications are due. They don’t have to urge them to get involved in biology research. Because we take on all of those responsibilities. We alleviate the pressure on the naturally inclined helicopter parents. We serve as a stress buffer between parent and child during the stressful college admissions process.

And make no mistake — we are very clear throughout every article we’ve ever written that parents shouldn’t get involved in the academic affairs of their high school children either. Parents should not be complaining to teachers when their children get ‘B’s.’ Remember, it’s these teachers who are going to be writing letters of recommendation to college. We encourage students to be their own independent people, to speak directly with teachers, to develop those relationships. We encourage our students not to be grade grubbers but instead to enjoy learning for learning’s sake. That’s all.


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1 Comment

  • Randy Wayne says:

    Are you telling me that this is a foster-helicopter parent program??????? I used to love reading the essays on the Cornell applications and could not wait to meet my new advisees. They were well-written and deeply and deeply personal. They were meaningful, like the life of the person who wrote them. They showed courage and vulnerability, sensitivity and humor. Now the essays read like a sheet from a game of mad libs, only more predicatable. The prospective students are having their individuality squashed as they become caricatures of their resumes.

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