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Helicopter Parents For um 2006 Today's Speakers Brad Quin Executive Director Enrollment Operations The College Board Stephen Singer Director of College Counseling Horace Mann School, NY Robert J. Massa Vice President Enrollment & College Relations Dickinson College, PA

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Today's SpeakersBrad QuinExecutive DirectorEnrollment OperationsThe College BoardStephen SingerDirector of College Counseling Horace Mann School, NYRobert J. MassaVice President Enrollment & College RelationsDickinson College, PA

forum 2006 helicopter parents
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • What is a "helicopter parent"?
  • "A helicopter parent is a term for a person who pays
  • extremely close attention to his or her child or children,
  • particularly at educational institutions. They rush to prevent
  • any harm from befalling them or letting them learn from their
  • own mistakes, sometimes even contrary to the children's
  • wishes. They are so named because, like a helicopter, they
  • hover closely overhead, rarely out of reach whether their
  • children need them or not.
  • An extension of the term, Black Hawks (for the combat
  • helicopter of the same name), has been coined for those
  • who cross the line from a mere excess of zeal to unethical
  • behavior such as writing their children's college admission essays."
  • - Wikipedia

"My child was too busy with her AP classes, PSAT, SAT, and Academic Decathlon practices to pay ANY attention to 'college stuff,' so I created her [College Board] account and accessed all of the areas needed for her college search, SAT registration, etc. I have searched for everything related to her college experience -- I have the time -- she doesn't."

- Mother of hs junior and "personal college consultant -- doing everything"

forum 2006 helicopter parents4
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • What are parents involved in?
forum 2006 helicopter parents5
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • Everything
  • results from collegeboard.com parents survey
  • spring 2006
  • 4,000+ responses
  • 80% moms, 20% dads
  • audience: parents with
  • collegeboard.com
  • accounts & parents
  • visiting the website
forum 2006 helicopter parents6
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • How many parents -- of students who completed at least one
  • SAT registration -- said they completed the student's test
  • registration themselves?
  • Survey says...
forum 2006 helicopter parents7
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • How many parents -- of students who completed at least one
  • SAT registration -- said they completed the student's test
  • registration themselves?
  • Survey says...
  • Almost 1/3 of parents said they completed the registration themselves.
  • More than 2/3 played an active role. The roles they reported playing:

"If I didn't do it, it wouldn't get done."

- Mother of hs senior, junior, and sophomore and "project manager"

forum 2006 helicopter parents8
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • What label did parents say best describes their role
  • in college planning?
  • Coach
  • Project manager
  • Partner
  • Task master
  • The bank
  • Survey says...
forum 2006 helicopter parents9
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • What label did parents say best describes their role
  • in college planning?
  • Coach: 35%
  • Project manager: 29%
  • Partner: 26%
  • Task master: 8%
  • The bank: 2%
  • Write-in responses:
  • Choreographer with the checkbook
  • Combination of the above or all of the above
  • Personal college consultant
  • Started as task master and ended as the bank
  • I led the team
  • Support system
  • Loving, concerned parent
  • Coordinator
  • A friendly ear / sounding board
  • Nudge and listen
  • Ignored motivator
  • Secretary
  • Chauffeur
  • You would think I'm the student -- I've done it all

"Seniors are inundated with life. They need autonomy, but they also need an editor and detail checker to avoid unnecessary high stakes errors. Parents can be a big help in this cumbersome process. The trick is, how do you wean the student from depending on you while providing critical support? I favor lots of brief conversations about the 'team effort.'"

- Mother of hs senior and "coach"

forum 2006 helicopter parents10
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • So, what do we do for parents?
  • How do we acknowledge a parent's important role in their child's life and
  • planning, to encourage the benefits of that involvement -- but keep that
  • involvement at a realistic level?
  • How do we keep the student as the primary actor -- the owner of their
  • own high school and college experiences?

"I believe a student must be responsible for his/her follow-up -- it's a great indicator of whether they're ready for college…. Parents need to let their student THINK for themselves!"

- Mother of hs senior and "coach"

forum 2006 helicopter parents11
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • Parents and collegeboard.com
  • We're kicking off a new initiative to reach parents online, to support
  • them as we support their students. Our priorities:
  • Acknowledge parents are there.
  • Give parents information customized to their needs.
  • Facilitate parent/child communication.
  • Connect parents to the student lifecycle -- the what and
  • when of college planning.
  • Connect parents to their own student's lifecycle -- what their
  • student has done or has yet to do -- but at the student's
  • discretion.
  • Keep the student's privacy and needs at the forefront.

"My daughter wants to feel that she is making her own choices and I think it is important that she does have a say, however, kids don't always do what they're supposed to do in a timely manner. Parents do need to know what's going on, without having the child think that we are interfering."

-Mother of college, middle, and pre-high school students and "project manager"

forum 2006 helicopter parents12
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • Parents and collegeboard.com
  • New "CC a Parent" email service- December 2006
  • At the student's request, we'll email a parent copies of important College
  • Board emails -- such as SAT admission tickets and test center updates.
  • Parent email newsletter & alerts - December 2006
  • Parents can sign up for new email services, with advice tailored to them
  • and their child's grade -- without a collegeboard.com account.
  • Parent permission for kids <13 years to join collegeboard.com- Spring 2006
  • Young students can benefit from online services, such as MyRoad and SAT (for talent
  • programs). With a focus on protecting children's privacy and meeting COPPA guidelines.
  • New parent website - Spring 2006
  • With features parents told us were most important, such as calendars, action plans, and
  • how-to guides that walk through key tasks like SAT registration and financial aid.
  • In printable formats that make it easier for schools to distribute.

75% of parents surveyed said a "cc" service is a must have or very useful: "Just send me the updates that are sent to my son."

forum 2006 helicopter parents14
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • The parent's perspective
  • How do parents see the world?
  • How do parents see themselves and their roles
  • as parents?
  • What it's about… and what it isn't
  • It's not just about competition in college admissions…
  • It's not just about the high price of education….
  • The situation is deeply emotional and, therefore,
  • very resistant to reason.

"We are overwhelmed. Our daughter is an A student with a lot of potential. We want her to end up at a college that is the best choice for her."

- Mother of hs junior and "project manager"

forum 2006 helicopter parents15
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • Working with parents at the high school level
  • The dilemma of starting early and ratcheting up the temperature.
  • The problem of being too late.
  • What we try to do
  • Appeal to the better angels of their nature.
  • Take the necessary time and putting in the extra effort -- which
  • could in fact backfire.
  • Lower expectations -- ours.
  • Never, ever, give up.
forum 2006 helicopter parents17
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • Why are we talking about the "hoverers"?
  • The driven baby boomers
  • Activities galore
  • Heightened competition
  • Communication overload
  • The protector and the protected

"My child is overwhelmed with what is going on at school and doing well in her classes. It's crazy to ask her to manage all this test and financial data. Plus, there isn't a kid her age that I know that I would trust not to make some kind of mistake doing it, which could create a real headache."

- Mother of hs junior and "coach"

forum 2006 helicopter parents18
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • What are the negative consequences of hovering?
  • High parental expectations (academic and social) because of high price.
  • Enabling dependent behavior of students.
  • Teaching students that the squeaky wheel does indeed get the grease.
  • Seeking to influence college policies to benefit their child or to go
  • around established policies.
forum 2006 helicopter parents19
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • How do we channel this parental energy in a positive direction?
  • Parents are involved because they care.
  • College can help parents "let go."
  • Parents should be kept informed through newsletters
  • and regular communication from the college.
  • Parents can help promote responsible behavior,
  • especially with respect to alcohol and relationships.
  • Within FERPA, parents can help students seek appropriate academic
  • or social help, especially if they are familiar with college services.
  • Teach parents through orientation and regular communication to reflect,
  • support, and advise: reflect what their child is saying, support him/her
  • emotionally, advise what to do.
  • Parents can be our best partners.

"Since I have never done the college thing before, there is a lot of info and how-to's I am not aware of. How can I know

if I don't know?"

- Mother of hs senior and "partner"

forum 2006 helicopter parents20
Forum 2006: Helicopter Parents
  • Quiz: Are You a Helicopter Parent?
  • Developed by Dickinson in Spring 2006, with
  • assistance from the Dickinson College Parent's Council