A new phenomenon is happening at college campuses today, and it really needs to end.
It is crippling your students and preventing them from becoming independent, self-sufficient adults.
If your college-aged student is having an issue at school, it is OK to talk it through with them. It is OK to offer advice. It is OK to troubleshoot with them and ask them questions for clarification to figure out what is happening.
It is not OK, however, to call college administrators or instructors for them.
In fact, because of the FERPA law (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Law) college officials cannot disclose certain information with you without the student’s permission. Even if you pay your student’s college tuition, FERPA applies. Even if your college student lives at home with you, FERPA applies. Your student can choose to allow this information to be disclosed to you, but the student must do it. You do not decide this for them.
When you call the college about your student, you are keeping the student from advocating for her or his self. You are more often than not wasting time of the person on the other end of the line because they cannot give personal information out to you and things will bounce back down to the student. And you are making your student be viewed as a child by the other people involved and not the adult that she or he is.
There’s a real problem today with parents repeatedly calling the phone lines at colleges and even contacting their adult children’s bosses about issues. You may think you are doing your adult child a service by trying to fix everything for her or him, but you are not.
By the time your student reaches college, there are certain things he or she should be able to do – like make appointments, wake up on their own, and make it to class on time. (Yes, this really happens.) Students entering college who have not had to handle these tasks on their own struggle. Having your parents on speed dial to fix your problems is not one of the 15 things college students need to know before starting college.
Please, please, please do your college students and their college administrators and instructors a favor and stop this. It is doing more harm than good. And it is not preparing them for adulthood.
While it’s natural to want to parent and take care of our kids, they need to handle certain responsibilities before branching out on their own. I promise they can do it, and you’ll be proud to see the person you’ve raised. They’ve got this! And you do too.