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Should Colleges Have Parent-Teacher Conferences?


So you dropped your son or daughter off at college at the end of August. If you're lucky, you're receiving regular calls telling you all about college life, classes, and life in the dorm. Or, if you're like most parents -- or the parents of a male offspring -- you're lucky to get a text now and then asking for money or the Amazon password.

Some kids will breeze through their freshman year, both socially and academically -- they were made for college life. Other students will struggle during their first semester. It's not easy living with a total stranger, let alone a whole dorm full of them (some of whom, let's face it, are practically sociopaths). Some kids will also struggle academically. Whether or not they're prepared for college academically and socially, the freshman year can be fraught with challenges.

As a parent, how do you know if your kid is OK?

You dropped your son or daughter off at the college gates and it's as if you're not supposed to care -- the kids are adults now and on their own. You suddenly became completely irrelevant. Thanks to federal privacy regulations, even though you're paying for your child's education, you're not allowed to know anything about it. You're prohibited from knowing if he is failing or excelling and prohibited from even having a conversation with his professors.

While we don't want to be helicopter parents and we want to give our kids the opportunity to sink or swim without our interference, is there any role at all for parents in the college education process?

I say there is, and so does Hillsdale College.