The Role of Parents in College Admissions

Parents in College Admissions, College Admissions and Parents, Parenting and College Admission

There was a piece recently in “The Atlantic” on helicopter parenting — or parenting 2017 as the writer puts it.

There was a piece recently in “The Atlantic” entitled “The Ethos of the Overinvolved Parent” by Laura McKenna that caught our attention. The piece focuses on how essentially helicopter parenting has become, well, parenting 2017. Whereas in past decades it may have struck people as odd for parents of college students to reach out to their children’s college advisors or professors, it doesn’t seem all that unreasonable now — particularly in light of current tuition costs. With what parents are paying colleges these days, many parents feel their children should be getting as much bang for their buck as they can get…and understandably so.

As a private college consultancy that works jointly with parents as well as their children, we can’t say we’ve noticed a drastic change in recent years with respect to the involvement of parents in the college admissions process. Maybe it’s because we’ve always had involved parents as clients, dating back to the 1990’s. After all, many parents and students come to Ivy Coach because we serve as an intermediary between parents who don’t know the right approach for their children to earn admission to highly selective colleges and teenagers who know their parents don’t know the right approach — thus creating family tension. When everyone is on the same page of what the correct approach is, tension has a way of dissipating. As we’ve said before on the pages of our college admissions blog, we prevent murder at Ivy Coach. Yes, you read that correctly. We prevent murder.

So to all the helicopter parents out there — or to 2017 parents — we welcome you with open arms. As long as you’re kind and you heed our advice for your children, rev up them helicopters because we’re quite used to the rotor-blade noise. It’s our normal.

Have a question about the role of parents in college admissions? Post your question below and we’ll be sure to jump in on the conversation.


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  • Smucker says:

    I think there is a big difference between parents involved with the college admission process and working with firms like yours AND parents involved in their children’s college experience and calling their children’s professors and college advisors. Even though I am paying the tuition, I would never ever call my child’s professor. Paying tuition does not justified parental interference in the child’s process in becoming an adult. After all it is my child’s college experience, NOT mine. Why not encourage your child to talk to their professor, advocate for herself, rather than the parent stepping in. Doesn’t the parent’s taking over suggest strongly to the student that s/he is not capable, can’t do navigate college life without them. It isn’t normal for parents to be so involved that they need an apartment on campus. We shouldn’t encourage that behavior from parents.

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