'Helicopter' parents hover around campus and even sleep in kids' dorms
London, June 7 (ANI): Starting university used to be the time when the parents' apron strings were finally cut, but these days campuses are brimming with 'helicopter' parents who are unable to stop hovering around, university bosses have revealed.
And some are even staying overnight in their children's dorms during freshers' week.
Mothers and fathers who refuse to 'cut the umbilical cord' are also said to be fuelling a rise in the number of students appealing against their exam marks.
Academics have warned that students are becoming 'infantilised' due to parents' increased presence on campus.
At the University of the West of England, in Bristol, parents have been known to stay for up to a week - mainly mothers with daughters.
"That's symptomatic of good relations between the parent and the daughter but certainly you have a growing interest from parents in what their son or daughter is getting out of university, and quite rightly," the Daily Mail quoted Keith Hicks, a university spokesman, as saying.
"We have seen a difference with that step up [in tuition fees] to 9,000 pounds a year, but even with £3,000 a year there was greater involvement by parents," Hicks said.
Middle-class parents who have paid for GCSE and A-level resits are also more likely to question the decisions of university examiners, according to David Palfreyman, bursar of New College, Oxford and director of the Oxford Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies.
"Mum and dad have paid for a re-mark and a resit at each phase of the A-level process.
"'The students just carry on that mentality at university and so do mummy and daddy. The family is investing in it so it is not surprising if mum and dad work out that there is this appeals process," he said.
The 'helicopter parenting' trend begins with university open days, when students - and increasingly their entire families - visit prospective institutions to decide where to apply.
Increases in tuition fees, first to 3,000 pounds a year in 2006 and this year to a maximum of 9,000 pounds a year, have brought an 'extra element of student and family consumerism', Palfreyman said.
And according to Mary Curnock Cook, chief executive of the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, open days have become 'a little overcrowded with helicopter parents'.
Palfreyman said his college's catering bills on open days had soared as they become 'family outings'.
"Now mums come to open days, instead of going shopping.
"Out of 100 prospective applicants, we now have to allow for say 50 having their mum in tow, and perhaps their mum and dad, and perhaps grannies as well.
"The granny might be paying for it [the university education]. Possibly siblings might be there as well - it becomes a family outing.
"There's so much money at stake now, so it's a family decision.
"Compared with my day, when you had to go out of your way to get to a phone box to ring mum and dad once a week, with the mobile phone mum can track you down any time.
"But equally you can ring mum because you don't know how to open a tin of beans.
"It is more difficult to sever that over-dependency if you can contact them so easily.
"If you are not careful, the child will march into their interview with their mother," he said.
According to Mrs Curnock Cook, this year's 'big leap' in tuition fees will fuel 'consumer-like behaviour' among applicants.
"Any of my higher education sector colleagues will tell you that parents have become much more involved and much more interested.
"A lot of open days have been a little overcrowded with helicopter parents and we hear stories of parents sleeping in the dorms on the first day of freshers' week and so on," she added. (ANI)
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