Colleges are trying to discourage overinvolved “helicopter parents” from “flooding campus orientations, meddling in registration and interfering with students’ dealings with professors, administrators and roommates,” reports Sue Shellenbarger in Career Journal.
A number of colleges and universities are having to assign full-time staffers or forming entire new departments to field parents’ calls and email. Others hold separate orientations for parents, partly to keep them occupied and away from student sessions.
The University of Vermont employs “parent bouncers,” students trained to divert moms and dads who try to attend registration and explain diplomatically that they’re not invited. At one parent-student orientation session in June, more parents than students attended, swamping the meeting hall, says Jill Hoppenjans, the university’s assistant director of orientation.
At the University of Georgia, students who get frustrated or confused during registration have been known to interrupt their advisers to whip out a cellphone, speed-dial their parents and hand the phone to the adviser, saying, “Here, talk to my mom,” says Richard Mullendore, a University of Georgia professor and former vice president, student affairs, at the universities of Georgia and Mississippi. The cellphone, he says, has become “the world’s longest umbilical cord.”
Tom Blumer of Bizzy Blog thinks parents are concerned about indoctrination. I suspect most haven’t taught their 18-year-olds to fend for themselves.