Expected and actual parental involvement during the college years
King, Shireen Powell
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The majority of today’s traditional-age college students are from the Millennial generation, meaning, among other things, that they have a different type of relationship with their parents than previous generations. Typically, their parents have been involved in their school lives throughout their K-12 years. Many parents expect to continue being involved while their sons and daughters are in college. Because there is a changing trend in parent-child relationships and this change is being seen in higher education, administrators need to understand and prepare for the impact of these trends. In order to meet the challenges surrounding parental involvement and to create avenues for improvement of parent-student-institution relationships, it is important to have a clear understanding of the underpinnings and the expectations of parents and traditional-age college students. Much of what is available in the literature today regarding parental involvement during the college years is anecdotal and conceptual in nature. The purpose of this study was to examine parental involvement from the perspectives of today’s traditional-age college students and their parents, including the examination of several variables (race/ethnicity, gender, family income level, educational background of the parent, having siblings in college, first generation to attend college, student classification, type of institution currently attending, or level of parental involvement in high school) to determine if differences existed in their expectations for involvement. Additionally, 122 parent-student family unit matched pairs were examined for similarities and differences in their perceptions of parental involvement. Two parallel versions of the College Parent Experience Questionnaire (CPEQ) were administered online: one for college students and one for their parents. Data analysis of the 502 parent respondents and 159 student respondents produced a multitude of significant findings. These findings provide empirical data on parental involvement that will guide institutions in the development of parent programs, parent offices, and guideline for parent interactions. Additionally this information is useful when planning programs for today’s Millennial college students.
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