Parents are wonderful. They care about you, want the best for you, and will do anything to help you succeed in life.
For some parents, it’s difficult to stay “hands off” with their children’s affairs, especially when it comes to the college admission process. As an ambassador for my university, I get the pleasure of meeting thousands of new prospies and their families. It’s so interesting to see each new family’s dynamic, but my favorite (and most annoying) parent is the “helicopter parent”.
The helicopter parent: This character is very easy to identify. Typically, he/she is known to call the admission office at least three times on the behalf of their child. Content matter of their calls can vary from bragging about their child’s SAT score to begging the school to admit their kid despite a questionable criminal record (it’s happened). They make excuses for their kid saying “Oh, Billy would have called himself, but he’s too busy feeding homeless and blind squirrels. Did I mention he’s a model?”
Helicopter parents are even more abrasive in person. When visiting for campus tours, their visit is always prefaced by a call to the admission office asking for every detail about the school and surrounding area. Once on campus, the helicopter parent will check in for their kid, ask all the questions, and basically act like they are the ones applying for admission.
Now there are two types of student that corresponds to the helicopter parent: the rude, disrespectful student or the embarrassed, yet still dedicated student.
The dedicated and embarrassed student: Most people fall into this category. Your mom and dad mean well, but you know that their overbearing efforts are making you look stupid. Working with your helicopter parent may be uncomfortable, but it must be done. Colleges notice how you interact with your parents, and the tiny nuances can leave an impression. Always remember: it’s important to take initiative and communicate with colleges yourself.
Sure, your parents can help out, but realize that this is YOUR future, not theirs. And they need to realize that too. Communicate with your mom and dad kindly and most importantly, respectfully. It can be as simple as saying “Hey, parentals. I really appreciate all your help, but I think it’s important for me to do this myself.” And presto! Helicopter parent’s engine is dismantled.
Now, if you forget to be respectful, you’ll be lumped into the “rude jerk student” category. Trust me when I say, if there’s anything more annoying than a helicopter parent, it’s their disrespectful kid. Say you’re on a campus tour and your mom is asking a question every step of the way. Naturally, you get annoyed. The rude student will typically snap at their parent, causing a ripple affect of awkwardness in the whole tour group. Rudeness suggests immaturity. Don’t be that person.
Parents can be overbearing and controlling and a little bit crazy. But it’s all okay! As long as you try to work with your parents and establish an understanding, you’ll all be able to navigate the admission process together.