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College Applications Causing Parents to Quit Jobs

News to Me: Parents See College Applications As Full-Time Job

I was shocked when the Wall Street Journal reported that parents have started to weigh the importance of their kids' college applications against their own careers. The pressure isn't just confined to dinner-table conversations.

One mother of a high schooler, a manager for a New York financial-information concern, says friends are pressuring her to devote full time to the college search. With other parents on the case 24/7, she says, "they argue that by working, I'm putting my daughter at a disadvantage in today's hypercompetitive college-admissions game."

Parent involvement in the application process is of course helpful and sometimes necessary, but I think it's a bit extreme to leave your job to put all of your focus on it. What do you think? Extreme helicopter parents or understandably involved?


Join The Conversation
ptotheenguin ptotheenguin 9 years
That is absolutely ridiculous. If a student can't fill out their own freaking applications, then they aren't ready to go to college. Of course, the kids are probably perfectly capable of filling them out themselves.. it's the parents that are crossing the line. Involvement is good, but when it consumes a significant portion of your time, you've gone overboard.
kitkat87 kitkat87 9 years
i'm a junior in college and i agree with a lot of the above posts. it is obvious whose parents were over-involved. they're typically the ones who are struggling with adult responsibilities now. my parents gave me more independence and i'm more self-sufficient as a result.
esmerb esmerb 9 years
I work in Higher Education and this is an issue we have seen for years. This generation of students (known as Millenials) have extra involve parents. Although there is a lot of extra parent involved at the beginning, students quickly start to find their independence and find themselves in college, without their parents extra involvement.
sweetrae80 sweetrae80 9 years
that is the dumbest thing i've ever heard-while some parental involvement and help will undoubtedly help the teenager in question-working on your kid's application 24/7 isn't helping anyone. if you are 18 and you can't handle applying to college yourself, you probably shouldn't be going to college just yet.
joybarn joybarn 9 years
I is going overboard. Teens really do need to learn to do things themselves, without much handholding. I admit that I would have liked my parents to encourage me to consider better schools, I've learned a lot about myself by doing things myself. So, I agree with misswills, doing this process on their own, begins to teache teens basic skills they will need to be successful in any college and in the workplace.
randomname12345 randomname12345 9 years
There's being supportive and then there's being a control freak. I think these parents have crossed the line. What about valuing your own independence? What about your career? Why do these people feel that it is appropriate to just drop everything? I did my college applications and funding by myself. It was difficult, but it taught me a lot. I learned how to keep organized, meet deadlines, and figure out the ins & outs of financial aid (and loans!) Doing the work for your kids makes them miss out on these learning experiences.
juju4 juju4 9 years
I knew someone whose father didn't technically work for a year prior to her high school graduation, so that she would qualify for greater financial aid. (Her mother didn't work either). He sold computers out of his basement and didn't report the income. I remember how frustrating it was for me because we both went to the same private college, and I lived with my folks and commuted for the first two years while she got her dorm rooms paid for by the government. As a teenager, it was really hard not to be jealous.
just_kelly just_kelly 9 years
That is stupid. It's only a full-time job if your kid didn't do well enough/enough extra-curricular and you are busy fabricating recommendations and writing their essays for them. Jesus Christ... why don't people realize that by doing this they are doing a dis-service to their child!!?!?!?
cereal_please cereal_please 9 years
That's definitely too much. The only thing my parents were involved in was driving/accompanying me to my six or so college visits. The rest I did on my own and I still managed to get into one of the best business schools in the country.
pinkhearted pinkhearted 9 years
College administrators face an increasing number of helicopter parents, as they like to call them. Parents who do everything for their children, from editing papers to calling in dorm room maintenance requests. Some claim that since their paying for the education, they have the right to act on behalf of their children, others say that they do it because their children are too busy. I say they're preparing their children to utterly fail in the real world--their children miss out on real world opportunities to hone their problem solving, critical thinking and decision making skills. It's really pathetic.
filmgirl81 filmgirl81 9 years
I would never trust my parents to help with my college applications. These are the same parents who did their children's homework for them.
ktownpolarbear ktownpolarbear 9 years
um, i pretty much was on my own for college apps. i don't think a parent needs to quit their jobs to help their kids. what does it say about the kid when s/he goes off to college and can't handle things themselves?
mochi26 mochi26 9 years
Wow...I hope I am never this type of parent. It's sickening! I am by no means tooting my own horn - but I have successfully supported myself, held down professional jobs, and gone to school on my own dime since I was 18 (yeah, that involved filling out applications. Don't even get me started on the red tape I had to plod through for financial aid...being under 24 years old and not having parents is pretty much the worst situation you can be in when trying to get federal aid for school!) I can't believe some kids are so spoiled. Ick.
flyinglimegreen flyinglimegreen 9 years
That's retarded. The whole point of college apps is to for the kid to start down the road to independence and adulthood...sort of defeats the purpose if the parents gotta do the whole thing for them. Those parents who let other parents make them question their actions are stupid. Then again, I'm not a parent yet, so maybe I will be more swayed by peer pressure when I get to that point.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
Oh, and I tried to read the article to get a better sense of what it was actually saying before I commented, but the link was bad.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 9 years
I don't believe that women are actually quitting their jobs to help their kids fill out applications. The only thing the above quote suggests is that women who are already staying at home are pressuring working-mothers to give up working to focus on their kids' applications. But I'm sure these are all upper-crust families where the mother doesn't work anyway. Just because a few women are being idiots doesn't mean this is a trend.
supercoolnat supercoolnat 9 years
That's f***ing ridiculous. I never swear/self-censor, but I just had to. I did my college applications all myself. I knew what schools I was applying to, how competitive I was when applying to them, and what I needed to do to get in. If a kid can't manage their own college application process, then they are not ready to go. Honestly, it's not that complicated. Follow the checklists, fill out the forms, and let the grades/scores/essays do the talking. Come on, people. Along the same lines, they should also be right in there in the financial aid process and know what's going on with the money that's financing their ridiculously expensive education.
princessjaslew princessjaslew 9 years
while my parents came with me on 'college visits', they were timed with our vacations so it wasn't all done at the same time. so that was nice. and when it came to applications...well, I'm a first generation college-goer so my parents pretty much left me on my own!
krEnElk krEnElk 9 years
my parents were totally uninvolved in my college application process (while remaining interested and supportive). i think that the fact that they allowed me to remain independent throughout the process was a great help, to me, because it allowed me to weigh my options without anybody trying to sway me one way or the other! i've graduated and am still very independent and, like cubadog said, my friends whose parents were so involved are struggling a little bit, now!
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
You're right cubadog! My Mom is like this! She's always been so controlling of everything! And she's constantly nagging me about stuff like this. :OY: I get she wants the best future for me but enough already! :RANT: :COCKTAIL: haha
cubadog cubadog 9 years
Funny that this is on here I was just talking to a good friend who's daughter is waiting to hear back from some Ivy league schools and a lot of them are getting really picky about what needs to come with your application. Parents need to butt out this is why we have a generation of recent college graduates that cannot do anything for themselves. Before anyone freaks out I do not think it is all college graduates.
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