Posted by: Alison Damast on October 14, 2010
The parents of the millennial generation making their way through business school just can’t seem to stay away…from the admissions office. A new study from Veritas Prep, a Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) test preparation company, shows the “helicopter parent” phenomenon — a term used to describe parents who tend to hover around their adult children — is still alive and well on business school campuses across the country.
I first wrote about the trend back in 2007, when admissions officers shared stories of parents who acted like their children were freshman entering college, rather than MBA students with several years of work experience on their resumes. Back then, school officials told me they had seen parents of millennials - students from the generation born in or after 1982 - do things like attend receptions for admitted students and help their child move into and decorate their new campus apartment.
Now, their involvement seems to have crept into the admissions realm, sometimes to their children’s detriment, according to a survey conducted this summer of admissions officers at 50 leading business schools. Of the 35 admissions officers that responded, 33 percent said that a pushy or overbearing parent has compromised an applicant’s chance of admission. A growing number of admissions officers also believe that parents are leaving a “noticeable footprint’ on applications submitted to their schools, the survey said.
Estimates vary among admissions officers on just how widespread the trend is. Fifty percent of the respondents said they felt parents were involved in the application process on less than 10 percent of applications they received. However, a smaller subset of the respondents said they believed parents played a “measurable role” in applications on as many as 40 percent of applications submitted to their school.
The Veritas survey is just one example of how helicopter parents are playing a growing role on campuses across the country. The trend appears to be the most prevalent now on undergraduate campuses, according to a survey done in September by Kaplan Test Prep and Admission of admissions officers at 387 colleges and universities. At these schools, 77 percent of respondents said that parental involvement in the college admissions process is increasing. As a result, 61 percent of admissions officers said they had developed new initiatives specifically for parents, including setting up special websites, information sessions and tours just for them.
Readers, have you seen any examples of helicopter parents making their presence felt on B-school campuses? Do you think parents are overstepping their bounds by helping their children with B-school applications?