It isn’t possible to be a college parenting website without addressing the current Admissions Scandal sweeping across our news feeds. Parents have paid enormous sums of money to have their students fraudulently admitted to elite colleges. They have doctored test scores, bribed consultants, coaches and admissions staff. It’s the latest, most outrageous development in the college admissions parental involvement saga.
Parental reputations have progressed from what Laura Hamilton, author of Parenting to a Degree calls “bystander parenting” to helicoptering to snow plow and lawnmower parenting and now to curling and what Dean Julie (Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult) has referred to as drone parenting.
Almost all of us are familiar with helicopter parents who hover over their children to make sure everything is OK – and then swoop in when they need to rescue them. In case you are less familiar with the other terms, snow plow and lawn mower parents push problems and obstacles out of the way or mow down obstacles to clear a path for their students. Curling parents go one step further –warming the ice and reducing any friction to help students slide forward in the direction the “sweeper” chooses. And now, in light of this new scandal, we have drone parents; parents who pick their child up and deposit them where they (the parents) want them to be – sometimes without the student even realizing that it has happened. And for at least one set of parents, that apparently means a trophy school that comes with bragging rights.
The admissions system is flawed, to be sure. It may even be broken. Hopefully, a lot of people will now be looking long and hard at how students are coached, tested, and admitted to schools. This scandal has shone a light on a host of problems, some illegal and many unethical or at least unfair.
But even as we cast blame on the system and its participants, we need to hold the mirror up to ourselves.