Helicopter Parents

New Study Finds Parents More Involved in College

“Helicopter Parents” – Over-protective of their college-bound students… or just a practical competitive edge?

In a Kaplan survey of college admissions officials from 386 universities, 77% reported an increase in parents’ involvement in the application process of their college-bound children.

It’s really not a surprise, given the fact that the admission process has gotten more competitive at large public schools and elite private schools. And with thousands of colleges and universities available for students to choose from, parents are increasingly getting involved and helping out in the complicated and often expensive college admissions process.

One of the key reasons for the rise is the increasing “connectivity” of parents.

Technology – smart phones, social media web sites like Facebook, and increasing use of email, text and instant messaging – have given parents more options to get connected with their kids and their admissions process.

Parents involved in their kids’ college admissions process, by the way, have even been categorized into four distinct groupings by two veteran college admissions counselors – Karen Felton, an admissions officer at the University of Maryland and Tevera Stith, director of college counseling at Baltimore’s St. Paul’s School for Girls.

  • Helicopter parents, who hover around their children and offer what might be considered too much help,
  • Rolls-Royce parents, who demand the absolute best for their children,
  • Subway parents, who operate quietly underground before “surfacing at the most awkward times, asking the most peculiar questions,” and
  • Junker parents, who let their own life events and personal dramas get in the way of their childrens’ path to college.

Colleges and universities, meanwhile, are well aware of the trend… and are responding in a number of ways to reach a sort of middle ground between college-bound students and their parents.

These days you’ll find schools’ outreach efforts include specific tours, seminars, panels, web sites and newsletters – just for the parents. You’ll also see new letters from school presidents, Parent Guides, helplines just for parents, and Frequetly Asked Questions for parents on college and university web sites.

Let us know what you think by posting your comment below.

And whether you’re a parent or student, we invite you to review all the insights and tips in College Made Simple’s Free Reports.

To your successful college search,

Scott Weingold
Publisher, CollegeMadeSimple.com

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K. FlanOctober 10th, 2010 at 9:05 am

We don’t fit any of the categories above. Find a new category for what responsible parents can do to be a part of this.
Face it – -few students can get by, financially, on their own. Where else in our lives as parents are we investing tens of thousands of dollars and blindly writing out the check? We would be remiss not to guide our children in this process.
They will never get a solid start in life if we expect them to begin at age 21 with 200,000 + in debt. Find a reasonable amount they can add to the package and hold them to it. Limit their debt to 20K if possible and get involved to realistically manage the rest. Don’t set them up to fail.

KeithOctober 11th, 2010 at 7:13 am

I freely admit to being a ‘helicopter’ parent. Since I’m being asked to pay almost a quarter of a million dollars to educate my child, I feel I have a right and obligation to understand and direct where my money is being invested.

Steve MangoOctober 12th, 2010 at 6:33 pm

We’re Hangman Parents: really concerned for the kids’ success and well being, but don’t want to come across as a Helicopter or Rolls-Royce parent. So, you give them enough rope…

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by CollegeStats.org.  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News, TheStreet.com, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.