Parents are increasingly involved in the lives of college students. Colleges have noted the trend for several years. As college parents, we’ve earned several less-than-flattering nicknames – everything from helicopter parents (hovering) to snowplow parents (pushing obstacles out of the way) and lawnmower parents (running over anything blocking our student’s path).
But exactly how involved are parents in their college students’ lives? Is the perception accurate? And, although we know that students need to control their own lives, might there be benefits of parental involvement?
Campus ESP (Campus Experience for Students and Parents), a Philadelphia based technology company recently surveyed 1700 parents about their involvement with their students at the college level. The stated mission of Campus ESP is “to improve student success by strengthening relationships between schools, students, and those who influence them.” Parents are clearly some of the most influential people in their students’ lives (even if it may not always seem that way to parents).
Schools might be interested in the results of the Campus ESP survey, but parents might be interested as well.
The Campus ESP report, titled “Meet the New Digital Parent in Higher Education” supports other studies which suggest that parental involvement is changing. According to this report, parents are “more involved, more connected, and have higher expectations than ever.”
Here are a few of the findings which parents might find interesting. Where do you fit?
- 13 times per week is the average number of times that students interact with parents (via phone, texting, and social media).
- 79% of parents communicate with their student “a couple of times per week.”
- 34% of parents communicate with their student once per day.
- 57% of students share their ID, password, or other log-in information with their parents.
- 35% of parents say they have contacted a college official to help their student solve a problem.
- 73% of parents are interested in staying involved with their student’s college after graduation.
- 82% of parents say they would find a designated Parent Portal valuable.
- Students who say they get academic advice from their parents “very often” indicate an average GPA that is 35% higher than those who do not.
This is an interesting snapshot of college parental involvement. Like so many other things, parental involvement can certainly go too far. Parental involvement and support is clearly helpful, and in many cases essential to student success. However, it is important that parents think carefully about what that support looks like. Balanced parental involvement is the basis of the approach on which College Parent Central is founded. But parents need to continually question the balance of support and over-involvement. It is not always easy to find ways in which you can support your student from the sidelines, but it is one important key to your student’s success.