EXPLORING PARENTAL EXPECTATIONS FOR CHILDREN’S EDUCATIONAL DEGREE ATTAINMENT AND ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH A CHILD’S ACTUAL EDUCATIONAL DEGREE, PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT IN THE COLLEGE SEARCH PROCESS, AND A CHILD’S OVERALL WELL-BEING
by Alexa Cohen
Category: Humanities and Social Sciences
Abstract – As adolescents’ transition from high school to college, they gain a level of independence. Therefore, the college search process is an important steppingstone in transition to adulthood. In observing this process, it is important to analyze parental involvement and parental expectations. This is because a potential relationship between the two variables could explain the current increase of parental involvement, as well as the stress associated with the college search process. The recent Varsity Blues College Scandal has shed light onto the increase in parental involvement; however, a gap in the literature remains on this topic. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to determine if parental expectations are predictive of a child’s educational attainment, parental involvement in the college search process, and a child’s overall well-being. Additionally, this study explored the impact of confounding variables on these relationships. Using an archived data set from the University of Minnesota’s Twin and Family Research Center, it was determined that parental expectations are predictive of a child’s educational degree and parental involvement in the college search process. Additionally, well-being was greater when a child exceeded their parents’ expectations but somewhat less when a child fell short or met parents’ expectations. Results from this study are extremely valuable as college admissions competition continues to intensify. Understanding the relationship explored in this study may prove useful in mitigating stress amongst students and helping parents find the appropriate balance of involvement in one of their child’s most important steppingstones to adulthood. Key words: College search process, parental expectations, educational attainment.