We are not advocating parent helicoptering. Engagement is not hovering.
College students need to practice their independence, make their own decisions, take responsibility for their education, and begin to lay the foundation for their future. But when you drop your student off on Move-in Day, your parenting job doesn’t end – it simply changes. (Actually, it’s not simple, but it changes.) When your student graduates from college, your parenting job doesn’t end – it changes once again. You are a parent for life.
However, there’s a difference between checking in with your student and checking up on your student. That can be the difference between helicoptering and engagement.
Why are parents so involved?
Throughout most of our student’s school years, the messaging has been that parental involvement correlates with success. We’ve been told we need to partner with the school to support our students and to send them the message that their education matters. Students are used to us being involved – and many, perhaps the majority, want it to continue. Why should we believe that things will change when those same students head to college?
But it does change. Parental engagement on the college level needs to look different.