Parents of Millennial College Students: A Survey Snapshot
Sending your student to college brings up some common themes for many parents. While all families have unique dynamics, here are some thoughts that are on the minds of parents just like you.
Adapted, with gratitude, from Millennials Go to College, by Neil Howe and William Struss, 2007.
The Datatel 2006 College Parent Survey, released by LifeCourse Associates and Crux Research, explores how today’s college parents view their relationships with their students and with the colleges their students attend. From student achievement levels to college dining to student debt, the study reflects the new direction of Millennial college student-the generation that began to enter college in 2000-and the hands-on attitude of their parents. Here are some of the latest data about parents of Millennial Generation college students:
The parents surveyed:
- Talk on the phone with their student an average of three to four times per week.
- Welcome their student home for visits seven or eight times each school year.
- Agree by four to one that they are more involved in helping their student at college than their own parent’s generation.
- Consider today’s college students to be more organized and inclined to plan ahead than they themselves were at that age.
- Played more active roles in developing the list of colleges from which their student would choose.
- Overwhelmingly agree that colleges should allow them direct access to their student’s grades, attendance records, health records, disciplinary records and class schedules.
- Admit that they pressure their students more in the areas of academic achievement and life planning than they themselves were pressured.
- Three quarters said they were involved in their student’s choice of academic major.
- Nearly 70 percent said they had some involvement in their student’s specific course choices.
More than the previous generation of parents of college students, today’s parents:
- Communicate with their students more than five times a week using e-mail, instant messenger, phone and text messages.
- Rate the social and experiential component of a college education, including extracurricular activities, alumni networking, a “well-rounded” development and belonging to a student body with common values, to be very important.
- Expect their students to have higher levels of debt, and expect that debt to affect their student’s career choices.
- Rate the final cost of college attendance and their student’s probable debt levels as extremely important when evaluating colleges.
- Have a greater focus on practical employment issues.
- Consider the earning capabilities of graduates when evaluating a college.
- Virtually all (98 percent) current parents believe colleges should help students find jobs that relate to their major or their field (compared to 79 percent of their own parent’s generation).