The transition from high school to college can be perilous for even the best students. But for those who are the first from their family to attend higher education, it can be overwhelming. That’s why some colleges and universities provide parents with the opportunity to see for themselves what a typical day is like (“Sending Mom and Dad off to college for a day,” Los Angeles Times, Feb. 11).
Nothing, of course, can substitute for a student’s innate ability to handle college-level work, but involving parents has the potential to make the difference between dropping out and on-time graduation. Their emotional support is likely to be even more vital because it is based on what they experienced, even if it was only for a day.
Parents are increasingly being seen as partners in higher education. In the past, their involvement was largely limited to K- 12, but today they are being welcomed beyond. I think it’s a promising trend.
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4 Replies to “Parent academy helps students graduate college”
What a difference. My generation couldn’t wait to be on their own and this generation may never be. The parents of younger kids being educated through the Common Core curriculum seem very necessary for the success of the program so I would expect the future will be more of the same.
The parents of my day and location were likely to be minimally educated and would not have felt comfortable so involved. I wonder if better educated parents is one of the reasons for their modern involvement?
dkhatt: The difference between today and yesteryear is that too many students are going to college without the necessary aptitude or interest. That’s why so many drop out. Parental involvement mayu help up to a point, but it is no substitute for ability.
Not sure that having parents experience a day in their college son/daughter’s life will result in the kid doing better in college; probably cannot hurt. What might be more effective would be if parents could experience a 24-hr period (or, better yet, a Friday and Saturday) in their college kid’s life. My guess is that many parents — even including those parents who themselves graduated from a four-yr college — have only a very vague sense of what their college kids’ lives are like today, particularly outside the classroom.
I vividly recall our daughter’s college orientation weekend 25 years ago at a very competitive state university. The university presented a one-hour program in an auditorium for freshman parents. Several accomplished juniors and seniors (selected by the dean) gave short speeches re their freshman experiences. Then, the dean opened the floor for parent questions. One parent asked the assembled upperclass students how many hours each of them spent in an average week on academic work (studying, term papers) outside of class during their freshman year. The dean let each of the upperclass students reply — but became visibly upset when the the replies ran from three to fifteen hours. The dean interrupted to emphasize to the upperclassman that the question was hours/week, not hours/day. The upperclassmen each confirmed that their answers referenced hours/week. At that point, there was a lot of shouting from the assembled parents — expressing shock at how little the students were working and complaining that this was not why they were paying tuition to send their kids to a hotshot university.
My guess is that this orientation program info — revealed by accident — caused many of the parents to emphasize to their kids that, whatever other kids were doing, they expected their kids to be studying a lot harder than 10 hrs/week. And, caused these parents to occasionally follow up by at least asking their kids how much time they were spending on their academics. (Of course, the program might have prompted a few parents to tell their kids — “it’s OK to goof off; everyone else is”.)
My point here is that, drawing from my personal experience, parents are often very ignorant re what their kids are doing on a day-by-day basis during their college years. Not arguing that parents should be regularly monitoring their college kids’ actions. But, rather, that parents should know what current-day college life in general is like so that parents can give kids realistic advice re how the kids are spending time during those years.
Labor Lawyer: Nothing can ever totally help prepare parents for what their children actually experience at college. But I think that parent academies are better than nothing at all. That’s especially true for parents who never attended college. They have no idea what college life is like.