Pushy parents damaging children’s chances of winning university places

According to the Telegraph rising numbers of “helicopter parents” may be damaging their children’s chances of winning university places and teenagers have been warned not to let them take the lead…

Many mothers and fathers are intervening directly in the admissions process by telephoning universities on A-level results day in an attempt to make sure teenage children get onto a good degree course, it was claimed.

The Girls’ Schools Association, which represents around 180 leading private schools, said parents increasingly saw it as their duty to take over on children’s behalf because of the scale of the financial investment now made in higher education.

But heads insisted that the move risked sending “entirely the wrong message” about students’ “maturity and commitment”, damaging their chances of securing places.

The warning was made just over a week before the publication of A-level results for around 300,000 students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

It is expected to trigger a stampede for courses through the traditional “clearing” system, when students are matched to spare places.

As reported in the Telegraph, many elite Russell Group universities are expected to enter clearing this year following Government changes to admissions rules that allow institutions to recruit additional students with top A-level results – making the process even more competitive.

But the GSA has now issued advice to teenagers, telling them to resist allowing parents to take the lead on results day.

Hilary French, GSA president and head of Central Newcastle High School, said: “It comes down to the whole ‘helicopter parenting’ thing.

“It is better to have an over-interested than uninterested parent and you can understand why they want to be involved because their children are making a huge investment now in their university education. But there must be boundaries to this.

“Obviously you want parents to be involved at every stage and they are crucial coming up to results day in keeping their children calm. But on the day itself they need to be in the background.

“The actual person talking to the university admissions tutor has to be the student.”

Universities have already told how parents are increasingly accompanying children on open days, writing their application form and even fighting appeals on their behalf if they are rejected.

According to one study, 50 per cent of students at university open days in 2011/12 were accompanied by at least one parent, up from 47 per cent two years earlier.

More at:  Pushy parents damaging children’s chances of winning university places

The idea of micro-managing pushy parents seems to be a bit of a theme this week. Do you see it as an increasing problem? If so, what do you think is responsible for it and how can schools discourage it? Please share in the comments or on twitter… 

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