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Orientation Programs for Helicopter Parents

Dave_BerryDave_Berry 492 replies2534 threadsCC Admissions Expert Senior Member
"The horror stories of so-called helicopter parents are well-known among college admissions administrators and orientation directors. Moms and dads who cling to their young adult children, follow them around during orientation programs and call them constantly from home are ubiquitous on college campuses around this time of year as incoming first-year students take part in programs designed to help them get acclimated." ...

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/08/15/colleges-hosting-more-orientation-programs-just-parents
17 replies
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Replies to: Orientation Programs for Helicopter Parents

  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 38128 replies2089 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Even in 2010, a good bit of the parent orientation program at UT-Austin was, "Your kids will be fine. Please don't be helicopter parents..."
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  • techmom99techmom99 3438 replies6 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Back in 2009, our SUNY parent orientation included a skit, performed by the student moderators, about a helicopter parent and their impact on their child's adjustment to college. It was sandwiched in between the frat party re-enactment and the intro to all of the various clubs and activities and it was funny, but it made its point, at least to me (a non-heli parent) and my H, who would love to be more heli, but is limited by his refusal to travel more than 2 hours from home except on rare occasions.
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2109 replies31 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It seems like these kinds of programs could possibly be adding fuel to the fire. Parents who wouldn't otherwise expect these formal "festivities" directed to them feel obligated to attend for fear of "missing something".

    "The parent orientations tend to last a half or full day, but occasionally universities will offer up a dormitory for parents to spend the night in. "

    No. Just no.
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  • toomanyteenstoomanyteens 1001 replies60 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    techmom99 wrote: »
    Back in 2009, our SUNY parent orientation included a skit, performed by the student moderators, about a helicopter parent and their impact on their child's adjustment to college. It was sandwiched in between the frat party re-enactment and the intro to all of the various clubs and activities and it was funny, but it made its point, at least to me (a non-heli parent) and my H, who would love to be more heli, but is limited by his refusal to travel more than 2 hours from home except on rare occasions.

    I am gobsmacked that parents have to be TOLD these things
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  • toomanyteenstoomanyteens 1001 replies60 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It seems like these kinds of programs could possibly be adding fuel to the fire. Parents who wouldn't otherwise expect these formal "festivities" directed to them feel obligated to attend for fear of "missing something".

    "The parent orientations tend to last a half or full day, but occasionally universities will offer up a dormitory for parents to spend the night in. "

    No. Just no.

    Yeah way too much
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 77784 replies678 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Isn't the purpose of parent orientations to keep helicopter parents away from the students doing the student orientations?
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 2883 replies37 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Also to provide something for parents who have to fly in to the school - those travelling a distance may appreciate a day or 2 before they have to return to the airport
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8843 replies325 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @theoden, I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. I'd rather see my kids take off with their new friends than cry because I'm leaving. I raised them with the goal of flying on their own. I hope they're not sad when they do because it's what they're supposed to do.
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  • TheodenTheoden 172 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @austinmshauri Of course. We want our kids to flourish. It's just an odd memory brought back when I read the magazine.
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  • wis75wis75 14031 replies62 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Summer orientation/registration is a staple at flagship (and other public) U's. I don't remember if they had a parent version at UW (Madison) back in the early '70's because I came from a suburb. It was worth it to do the parent version with son despite frequent trips to campus over the years and my experiences. Non-helicopter parents (kid wouldn't let us if we tried). Saw U of M-twin cities example in that article. Highly recommended for all parents- especially since they gave out info kids would never tell parents that was good to know. SOAR was separate for students and parents- even the same dorm housing and most meals were far apart.

    This is related to the dumb things parents do when dropping off kids thread. How long to stay does depend on whether all events are at that time or if parents had the summer visit to see the campus et al. It also relates to where the majority of students come from- a drive or nee4ded flight.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5616 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    While we didn't attend any parent orientation programs (mostly because we were waiting for the building staff to come bunk the beds), I think there can be value in ensuring that parents know how best to support their kids from afar. It would be good to know what to tell your kids to do about xyz (i.e., roommate issues) when there are good supports that don't involve parents, when a parent might want to contact the school (mental health issues), etc. Some parents can't help themselves, but in some cases, they may not realize that the school's resources are much better than their own.
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  • Hilo777Hilo777 1 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    We homeschool our kids. So for us the line for where heli parenting starts is quite blurry. I bet we are seen by many as heli parents. In some aspects we'll never know how much our supervision - or guidance has helped or hindered our children's development. Time will tell. But that goes for any parenting style, doesn't it?
    Main thing is to keep organized and stay focused on your goals. That's something that has been instilled in them. So campus life is not to worry about. Here's a great tool (and How-to article) we have been using recently to schedule our days: https://www.nirandfar.com/schedule-maker/. Let me know if this is helpful.
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  • wis75wis75 14031 replies62 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 18
    Parent orientation (summer) was different than for the students. It covered safety issues to ease parental minds and logistics needed- how billing is done et al. We don't need the intricacies of registration, joining clubs, dining and so much more. But we do need to know how to pay tuition, add money to the college card, pay for room and board, etc. They did combine one dinner and visiting the dorm a student was assigned to, plus limited other options. Not only were students housed separately (in the same dorm) but there were different breakfast times. We were not part of the registration process or counseling. I think the school did a good job of keeping us out of our kid's way.

    Nothing for parents at move in- done in summer. The dorms scheduled floor meetings immediately after supper so taking a kid out was impractical. I suspect private schools may do more for parents such as extra events because of the financial angle- they want to please the parents shelling out the big bucks (and they spend more of your money doing so).
    edited August 18
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5194 replies74 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    There was a parent orientation at my d school. I wasn’t aware of it and only learned when I was dropping her off. “What’s with all the parents with lanyards.” She didn’t tell us and I hadn’t inquired. lol. It was fine but for a minute there I felt bad I hadn’t checked. I had already done accepted students day with parents. I looked at the packet and it seemed similar. I assumed it was definitely a courtesy to parents traveling from outside of driving distance.
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  • TheodenTheoden 172 replies5 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    If you are driving 5+ hours or flying and staying overnight - it's nice for the college to have something for the parents to participate in.
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