Helicopter Parents Increase Hovering Tendencies at Onset of Second College Semester

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An emerging trend in helicopter parent behavior has recently surfaced as the second semester of college commences. EducationDynamics offers universities and parents tips to constructively manage student performance frustrations from understanding FERPA to setting measurable students goals.

Financial aid is hanging in the balance, first semester tuition seems like an apparent waste of money, or the likelihood of a drop in grades is in the forefront of parents' minds, and these parents do not know how to constructively manage their frustrations.

An emerging trend in helicopter parent behavior has recently surfaced as the second semester of college commences. According to the Enrollment and Retention Services Division of EducationDynamics, helicopter parents often intensify their hovering at this time due to anxiety and concern over their students' first semester performance. Recent information suggests that parents of students that received poor grades panic over a potential continuation of underperformance, while parents of students that received good marks in the first term anticipate a common drop in GPA.

"We see a dramatic increase in helicopter parent activity at the onset of the second semester because parents are feeling hopeless, distraught, worried and frustrated stemming from an apparent loss of control," says Dr. Chrissy Coley, previously the assistant vice provost for student success initiatives at the University of South Carolina and the current vice president of retention products for EducationDynamics. "Financial aid is hanging in the balance, first semester tuition seems like an apparent waste of money, or the likelihood of a drop in grades is in the forefront of parents' minds, and these parents do not know how to constructively manage their frustrations."

Not only must schools reach out to underperforming students, universities must simultaneously manage the barrage of helicopter parent participation that accompanies second semester student performance. Many universities are establishing online communities to provide support and resources for both students and parents alike. Dr. Jennifer Jones, the director of academic retention at the University of Alabama, has implemented a social networking program to satisfy the needs of these populations, and, for the first three weeks of January, she spends her days talking to students with a 2.0 GPA or less and their parents. Dr. Jones reports that such undertakings are designed to get students back on a positive academic course and help parents channel their concerns in a way that will help their student's chances for success.

Among the resources available to hovering helicopter parents, EducationDynamics offers a 10-point list of advice to help them manage their concerns and deal with their student in a constructive way. This advice consists of the following recommendations:
     1) Take advantage of the academic centers to get help for your student. Many students are unaware of campus resources and simply need a nudge to seek them out.
     2) Have your student commit to a behavioral contract. Define a few reasonable goals and create measurable outcomes.
     3) Encourage your student to get a campus job. A common misconception is that jobs are time intensive when in fact they actually force students to better manage their time. On-campus jobs also help students establish valuable social support networks.
     4) Understand FERPA. According to law, parents cannot have access to their student's educational records without the student's written consent.
     5) Direct inquiries to the office of parent programming or the student affairs office in lieu of contacting faculty and professors.
     6) Open the lines of communications with your student. Listen, and find out why he/she didn't hit their stride.
     7) Help your student learn how to study. Bright students who are not used to studying can find college coursework to be a challenge.
     8) Teach your student time management by buying him/her a planner.
     9) Encourage your student to eat right and get plenty of sleep.
    10) Stay calm. One bad semester does not define your student or his/her future.

"When helicopter parents experience this loss of control at the onset of the second semester, their instinct is to pick up the phone," says Dr. Coley. "They call university presidents, provosts or anyone they can get on the phone when in fact, the most helpful contribution they can make is to successfully manage their urge to hover. College is about a student asserting independence and constructing healthy adult relationships--parents must learn how to support their students while not interfering. New technologies, such as online academic communities and social networking sites allow students and parents to achieve this balance more easily."

For more information about second semester retention tools or other EducationDynamics enrollment and retention products, contact Tracy Howe at 201.377.3318.

About EducationDynamics
EducationDynamics, a portfolio company of Halyard Capital, is a leading interactive marketing and information services company focused on helping higher education institutions find, enroll and retain students. Through some of the most visible education websites, including EarnMyDegree.com, eLearners.com, GradSchools.com, and StudyAbroad.com, as well as its Internet marketing services team, EducationDynamics is one of the leading providers of qualified leads for colleges and universities. The company offers a full suite of web-delivered products and services to manage a school's relationship with students across their entire life cycle from inquiry through enrollment to retention. For more information on EducationDynamics, please visit http://www.educationdynamics.com.

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