Thursday, December 4, 2008

Send in the helicopters!

This is an e-mail I received from one of my co-workers. These are real-life parents and their student! (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.)

Dear (advisor),

I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving. We had a long talk with Janie over the Thanksgiving break about saying at CH. She said she would consider staying. We don’t think she has really given CH a chance. Can you please email her and set up an advisee appointment with her. I know she values your advice. We are hoping she will at least stay for the spring semester before she makes a decision. I will send you a copy of an email which her father sent to her so you can have a little background. Thank you for all your help. Sincerely,

John and Jane Doe


Dear Janie ,

We want you to seriously consider your future. When you finish college you will need to get a job or go to graduate school. There is a very clear difference between CH and XYZ University . CH is universally accepted as a far superior school to XYZ . CH is currently ranked 27 best school in the US and the 5 best public University in the US. XYZ does not have a ranking. Employers would hire a CH graduate over a XYZ gradate. The same goes for graduate school. I called both schools to get some basic statistic. The statistics for CH are 28% go graduate school and 67% are employed upon college graduation. CH offers 30,000 internships (internships lead to jobs). CH has 300 study abroad programs in 70 countries. I called XYZ and they were not able to give me these statics. They said they did not have the current numbers. They do offer study abroad programs in 40 countries but they were not sure of how many programs they offer. You only go to College once in your life and were you go to College make a really big difference in your future life. Please do not settle for a third rate education when you can have the best and have a bright future. You want to put yourself in the position to have as many options as possible. Going back to XYZ limits your options.


Dad and Mother

As a university employee, these are the kinds of parents that drive me crazy! EVEN THOUGH THIS MAY BE A GOOD SCHOOL, IT DOESN'T MEAN THIS IS THE RIGHT PLACE FOR YOUR DAUGHTER! There are all sorts of factors that play into a student being happy at a particular institution, and if the shoe doesn't fit, then don't force it!

I am so grateful that my parents were not like this at all. I do recall a small conversation when I decided to change my major of whether or not I would want to continue at AU, but I said yes and that was the end of the story. Sure, there were probably other places where I could have gotten a "better" education, but I didn't want to go anywhere else. If I would have been unhappy there, I hope that my parents would have been supportive of my transferring to another school. And I certainly hope that when we have kids that we can be okay with our child making his/her own decisions about where he/she goes to college (even if I were working somewhere with dependent education benefits).

To helicopter parents: Let your child live his/her own life! You were allowed to make some of your own choices/mistakes at one point in your life and you lived through it. DO THE SAME FOR YOUR KIDS!

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