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Are You a Helicopter Parent?
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You've heard of them. They're in constant contact with their children and make most of the big decisions for them. And when things get tough, they're all too ready to take their children's side and fight their battles for them.
They're the ever-hovering helicopter parents. Helicopter parenting can have negative effects for all involved, especially maturing teenagers who need and are eager for greater independence. It's only natural to want to help your child, but helping your child become an independent adult is perhaps the most important and difficult thing you can do.
With that in mind, don't hesitate to involve yourself in certain areas of your child's life. One area in which your child will probably welcome your participation is the search for and application to colleges. In fact, a recent national survey of college-bound high school seniors, conducted by the College Board and the Art & Science Group, shows that these students wish their parents were more involved in the college search and application process.
How can you strike a healthy balance? Think of yourself as a coach. You're there to provide structure, give advice, and serve as a role model, but it's your child who needs to step up to the plate. Instead of keeping track of college application deadlines yourself, for example, work as a team to set up a calendar or weekly planner and let your child take charge of meeting those deadlines. You can also help by sharing your own strategies for staying organized.
Are you hovering too close during the college admissions process? Take our quiz and find out.

College Search Activity Yes No
1. Do you search college websites for your child?


2. Do you have a strong influence over the high school courses your child takes?


3. Do you play the lead role in planning and scheduling your child's activities?


4. Are you planning to prepare your child for campus interviews?


5. Do you plan on directly contacting faculty, coaches, or other individuals at the colleges your child is interested in?


6. Do you review the publications and other materials colleges send to your child?


7. Are you planning to write your child's application essays or fill out his or her college applications?


8. Do you meet with the high school counselor about college plans without your child present?


9. Do you discuss with friends or relatives colleges that might be a good fit for your child?


10. Have you helped your child find a job or discussed his or her future career possibilities?


11. Have you discussed with your child which colleges you can afford and how your family will pay for them?


12. Do you encourage your child to apply to certain schools or add schools to your child's list for consideration?