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University visits - helicopter parents?

(155 Posts)
higgle Sat 16-Mar-13 12:37:58

DS 2 is off to uni this year, hopefully. We discussed as a family which universities he might like to apply to, weighed up the pros and cons of various accommodation with him but the choices have been entirely his. He went to Leeds last week, which is his first choice and where he has an offer we think he will be able to meet, for an open day. I simply bought him some rail tickets and left him to it. He returned home quite shocked that all the other applicants had had at least one parent with them. As a result of this there was not much opportunity to talk to the others who would be on the course, though the tutors spent more time discussing various things.

When I was off on this sort of visit nearly 40 years ago I wouldn't have dreamed of inviting my parents along ( although they wre footing 100% of my expenses). We will take him if and when he starts, and of course visit fairly regularly. Am I very odd to be the only parent who didn't go or send spouse?
Does the fact that all the others wanting to do this course seem to be girls explain this?

DameSaggarmakersbottomknocker Sat 16-Mar-13 12:42:23

Much more common for them to be accompanied these days. In fact most universities have parent centred sessions to talk about finance etc whilst the students go off to more course-related sessions for example.

That said, if he's happy to go off by himself let him go.

Hope he gets the offers he wants smile

JambalayaCodfishPie Sat 16-Mar-13 12:47:08

This doesn't surprise me at all. I was at a Uni interview last week to which all four other applicants had brought there mum. grin

iclaudius Sat 16-Mar-13 12:47:17

Yes and yes I think it's terrible helicoptering
Then the parents moan that the 25 year old moves back in and won't move out - we need to let our children grow up and fend for themselves a little ....
We are all for giving them independence and privacy at 24 and then seem to rake back in and be texting them every five minutes about if they've cleaned their teeth when they hit late teens
Universities cater for parents because they're FORCED to

barebranches Sat 16-Mar-13 12:51:31

I went to all my uni visits by myself.... I was late to every one, never been long distance on a train before and very inexperienced with map reading...

Its a wonder i didn't end up in france....

shhhgobacktosleep Sat 16-Mar-13 12:59:38

My mother came to the uni visits with me and dropped me off at the beginning of my 3 years with all my belongings. I was 18 and it was 24years ago. Everyone had a parent with them. However once I was there she never visited and I would travel back to see the family occasionally but always by train (or coach if I'd run low on cash).

JambalayaCodfishPie Sat 16-Mar-13 13:06:46

Their mum. I can spell. I deserve to go to Uni. grin

landofsoapandglory Sat 16-Mar-13 13:08:01

Oh well, I must be a helicopter parent then!hmm.

In the last few weeks I have been to Nottingham, Loughborough and Lincoln at DS1's request. The majority of youngster's were accompanied by their parents. At no point were the parents a hindrance to questions being asked. Infact, from the way the talks, and sessions were set out, particularly at Nottingham, I would say it was expected that the parents would be coming.

SarahLundKicksAss Sat 16-Mar-13 13:12:38

Either I or DH went with DS on his visits - the literature he had received from the unis beforehand seemed to encourage this. I think parents feel they have more of an input now, as they are most likely paying more for the experience (Ds has a loan for his fees, but we are partially funding his living costs).

As another poster upthread said, the well organised visits split parents from offspring for some of the day - at Lancaster parents were taken on a separate tour (which took in the laundry and on-site supermaarket), whilst DS's tour spent quite a long time in the bar and social areas!

SCOTCHandWRY Sat 16-Mar-13 13:30:22

We have 2 DC at uni, and both went unaccompanied to all uni visit days and interviews, despite both visits and interviews taking place when they were still only 16 and in the case of dc1, interview being in England, hundreds of miles away and with a complex interview over 2 days...

It depends on the child though, dc3 will not be going unattended to any visits or interviews when the time comes (next year), because he has particular needs.

Copthallresident Sat 16-Mar-13 13:43:05

There was a thread on this on higher education with some admissions tutors giving their perspective. grin I went to two of DDs visit because she asked me along as another pair of eyes and ears , she went to the others with her friends. I kept my mouth closed and I was very shocked at some fathers who liked the sound of their own voice dominated the questioning, clearly they were under the illusion they were entitled. Having said that in one session I became very concerned that the course tutor (it was a course being offered for the first time) didn't really have all the departments fully behind the course aims. I am not sure DD would have had the experience of organisational/uni politics to have spotted the warning signs. It was the only time I asked a question and the answer knocked that course off DDs list.

Copthallresident Sat 16-Mar-13 13:44:02

It was also a fascinating exercise in genetics, entertained myself matching the offspring to the parents grin

MirandaWest Sat 16-Mar-13 13:45:11

I had my university open days 19 years ago. There were very few parents around then. I was given a Young Persons Railcard, a train ticket, given a lift to the station and off I went smile

higgle Sat 16-Mar-13 13:47:45

iclaudius - pleased it is not just me who has these views. I didn't really feel very inclined to spend 8 hours travelling to have a tour of laundries and supermarkets. DS2 is quite blokey and used to travelling alone so I don't think having me along was something that had crossed his mind at all. My parents didn't visit me at uni but we visited DS1 once a term, he seemed to enjoy a free meal/drinks out!

Copthallresident Sat 16-Mar-13 13:48:38

On my uni visit I travelled the length of the country, missed my last train from King's Cross, had to wait 5 hours (thankfully had the sense not to go for a walk around the area grin ) and ended up on the 3am milk train stopping off at every town in England and still had to go into school when I finally arrived home at lunchtime grin Character building obviously....

Maat Sat 16-Mar-13 13:52:32

We went to the open days with DS1. He wanted us there because (believe it or not) he actually wanted to discuss it with us and valued our opinion.

Neither of us had gone to university so felt we needed to know a bit more about things.

I think there is a world of difference between going to an open day visit and helicopter parenting.

He has been there 3 years now and we have never got involved in his life at university at all. He is perfectly capable of looking after himself sometimes.

EthelredOnAGoodDay Sat 16-Mar-13 14:45:42

When I went to look round universities in the mid 90s, I went on my own. I wanted to make my own mind up about where to go. There were a handful of parents there then, but not many. Think there is a difference though between 'helicopter' parents and those who just take an interest...

Follyfoot Sat 16-Mar-13 14:57:56

I went to the open days with DD but dont think anyone would describe me as a helicopter parent grin DD was perfectly capable of getting from one end of the country to the other by bus or train, that didnt faze her, but like Maat, she wanted me there to share and discuss things. I didnt offer an opinion on each Uni until she asked, but interestingly we liked and disliked exactly the same things at each place. We didnt look at laundries or supermarkets but there was plenty of useful info about courses, entry requirements, mock lectures, the different types of accommodation and costs. In the end , the final decision on where to go was of course DD's.

Startail Sat 16-Mar-13 14:59:59

This baffles me.

You got on the train and went to the interview on your OWN.
OK DDad took me to one and dumped me at Reading for my London one because our trains would have taken all day, but both times he organised sales calls and worked all day.

No one had parents with them.

Parents were only seen at the beginning and end of term to pick people up. DDad came once or twice in term time because of said sales calls being nearby, but generally I went home for the odd weekend (I choose the one uni doable on the train).

DH lived 7 hrs away from uni, DSIL all day or the sleeper. She went to a Scottish uni and lived in Cornwall.

Lilymaid Sat 16-Mar-13 15:06:48

There was a similar thread on this recently and I posted there.
I have to admit that I took DSs to some universities - they went with friends to others. At one, fairly difficult to access by public transport, university, DS1 took a dislike to the place within minutes so the day was very short.
Again, back when I went to university I managed to get to interviews from London to various points in the country without any parental assistance (and I think I paid my own way). My only excuse for taking my DSs is that getting anywhere from where we are takes quite a time.

purplewithred Sat 16-Mar-13 15:07:09

First time round DD wanted me to come with her - she wasn't sure if she wanted to go to uni at all and wanted my opinion, and I was happy to go not least because it's my money she'd be spending and I could talk her off some of her fantasies about luxury accommodation. Talks were laid on for parents about finance everywhere and most had a parent with them.

She dropped out and reapplied for different courses to different universities, and went on her own that time.

But I can't remember even visiting universities when I went - i think I just stuck a pin in the map and went for it.

exoticfruits Sat 16-Mar-13 15:08:14

It has changed out of all recognition and the change came between my DS1and DS3. DS1 did it all on his own, by train - he had to anyway because We had 2much younger children. We happened to take DS 3 because it was handy for visiting relatives. We intended to drop and melt away but everyone had a parent and some two. There were some on their own , but a tiny number. We went to a few more and you are expected. You get a hot drink voucher and they often have separate tours and talks for the parent. The talks are useful- the centre on the finances which I guess is why parents now go along - you want to know it is value for money.

exoticfruits Sat 16-Mar-13 15:18:37

I am generally the first to criticise helicopter parenting but I think it is the money side. With tuition fees you want to get it right.

bunnybing Sat 16-Mar-13 15:20:13

Certainly in the 80s I went to interviews/open days on my own, although my mother then started whining about the places that were too far away and strongly suggesting I went to one of the 2 nearer unis hmm. I think things have obviously changed a lot.

DH recently had a new graduate come for a 'meet the workplace' visit for a professional job - accompanied by her father.

Maat Sat 16-Mar-13 15:20:57

I think you're right exotic

The open days did feel a bit like a sales pitch at times.

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