About half of the students who fail to graduate college in six years never even make it to their second year, according to Department of Education data. Now, a new app is aiming to help make that college transition more successful for students — by involving their parents.
Launched this fall by a team based in Washington, csMentor – the “cs” stands for “college survival and success” – is a web-based program that combines video mentoring with regular check-ins to promote better communication between students and parents.
When families sign up for the program and pay the monthly $29.95 subscription fee, the student gets access to a series of Mentoring Interactive Programs, or MIPs, which can be accessed online or from a mobile phone. Each MIP consists of a short video on a topic such as "Coping With Homesickness" or "How to Ask for Help in College." At the end of each MIP, students are asked a series of multiple-choice questions about their health, social adjustment, academic behavior and academic goals.
After the student completes the week’s 10 multiple-choice questions, the data are analyzed by the csMentor technology and a report is generated for the student and the parents. The report doesn’t list the students’ answers, but instead provides a summary of how the student is doing in the four key areas, each of which is coded green, yellow or red. Because the reports are solely based on data provided by the student, not the school, the program does not violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which prevents colleges from disclosing certain information about students to their parents.
“We see the service as a way of enhancing communication between parent and students,” said Steve Wattenmaker, CEO of csMentor. “We think it will enrich the conversations. It can go beyond the typical, ‘How’s everything this week?' "
Wattenmaker and the rest of the csMentor team, which is made up of educational psychologists, counselors and university administrators, hope the program will help students and parents spot potential problems earlier, so they can deal with them before they escalate.
But Marjorie Savage, parent program director at the University of Minnesota and author of the book You're on Your Own (But I'm Here If You Need Me), wonders if parents should be involved so early in the problem-solving process.
“It feels to me like it’s going further than what a typical college student should need,” Savage said. “There’s a level of trust that parents need to be giving to their students at this point, and is this allowing that to happen? If the student is getting that information, it seems to me like that should be sufficient. For parents to be monitoring that closely is going beyond what’s desirable.”
Thursday, August 30, 2012
An Ap for Helicopter Parents
This from Inside Higher Education: