Kent State University Honored for Excellence in Community Service
The Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Education named Kent State University to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.read more
Parental Involvement Aids Development of Millennial StudentsPosted April 16, 2012 | Alexandra Ulbricht
The Center for Student Involvement occasionally provides information to the university community on issues of broad interest in student affairs through the Student Involvement Brief. This feature will appear in e-Inside twice a month during the regular academic year.
Over the last decade a new generation of students — the millennials — enrolled in college. Many of them come to college with traits that often differ from students of generations before them. One of such traits is the close relationships that they have with their parents. This close-knit relationship creates an open door for parents to be actively involved in their student’s life, including anything from helping students get admitted to college to choosing what course to take.
Contrary to assumptions that parent involvement hinders students’ development and independence, a recent study done at the University of Georgia’s Griffin campus shows that parental involvement actually fosters development, and most students who have a close relationship with their parents came out on top of the sample. The study was done over four years, distributed in the fall of 2007, and again last spring to hundreds of students and their parents at a variety of college types, from small and large private colleges, to midsized and large public colleges across the country.
“In our sample, we see that closeness is not necessarily dependence,” says Alicia Peralta, graduate assistant for educational programs at NASPA. “Students in our sample who are close to their parents seemingly ostensibly show development that is consistent or on par with national norms.”
Students in this study were surveyed in categories such as life purpose, autonomy and intimate personal relationships. Those who indicated their parents were more involved in their lives, on average, scored higher in almost all categories surveyed.
Parents were most likely to intervene in medical and safety issues, nearly 4 percent say they intervene for mental health reasons; 2.5 percent do for campus safety; and 1.4 percent do so for physical health. The study also found that parents intervened for one of five reasons: to seek or provide information, to seek understanding, to provide assistance or advocacy and to register an opinion.
“They’re involved, but they’re not ‘doing’ for the students,” says Sheri King, assistant director of student affairs at the University of Georgia’s Griffin campus.
“Sometimes parents get too involved,” says Sheryl Smith, Ph.D., dean for Students and Student Ombuds at Kent State University. “Students can and do greatly benefit from the support and assistance of their parents; however, when it moves beyond support and assistance, the results are less positive for the students.
Sharing the college experience among parents and students, while allowing the students to learn to be independent and self-sufficient, is the best equation.”
Overall, the national trend has been that parental involvement has increased over time and that they are more aware of institutional offerings in universities where their students attend. The researchers offered ideas to help accommodate involved parents and their students, and these include having a comprehensive parent orientation and institution website and publications reaching outside the university because these are the places where parents pay attention to and gain information from. Other suggestions include offering opportunities for parents to get involved in positive ways, providing clear, concise financial-aid information, and establishing a proactive, responsive Office of Parent Relations.