The transition from high school to college is an essential step toward becoming an independent adult for many people. This period is often considered a time where students test the waters of autonomy with safe vests from aiding parents. Yet, through all the good intentions, students sometimes find themselves being weighed down by over-parenting.
Joshua Cozzo is an admissions counselor at Seton Hall University. He explained, in his 10 years working in higher education, he has encountered all types of parents. from those who are more distant to the notorious “drone parent.”
“They mean well,” Cozzo said. “But being too overbearing and making the calls, asking questions for their child is only doing them a disservice in the long run.”
Cozzo has worked with parents of incoming freshmen, many with students who are leaving home for the first time.
“I know, for me, it was a hard transition as I’m close with my parents, but I think you want to give a little space or breathing room for the first weeks,” Cozzo said. “It is usually just as hard on the parents as it is for the student.”
Cozzo’s experiences with over-parenting occurred most often during the college search and application process, as well as the student’s first year. This is the time where the parent and student are in “unfamiliar territory.”
“For me, the best approach freshmen students should follow is to find a balance of taking on the process under their own direction, but have parents be there for support, especially in areas related to financial aid,” Cozzo said.
However, according to Cozzo, it is important for the student to take the lead.
“My parents allowed me to figure out what I wanted to do on my own,” Samantha Dyar, a sophomore theatre major, said. “They did recommend some local scholarships, but when it came to the colleges I wanted to go to and the field I wanted to study in, that was up to me.”
Evan Robinson’s parents helped her significantly in finding what field of study she should pursue, providing examples of different majors she could choose from based on her interests.
“To be honest, I think they were involved the right amount during my first year,” Robinson, a sophomore art history major, said. “Without their help, I probably wouldn’t be doing as well as I am now.”
Cozzo explained that students who feel their parents are too involved should try to be empathetic toward them.
“Cut them a little slack, you are the apple of their eyes, but if you find it becoming a distraction, it is important to communicate with them,” he said. “Sometimes they don’t even realize what they are doing.”
Payton Seda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.