The Move To College: Should Parents Come Too?

By Francine Fluetsch on January 5, 2015

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Imagine this: You are about to move away for college. Let’s say, for arguments sake, that you will be about a 10-hour car ride away from home. So, not too far, but not all that close either.

As you are packing up and getting ready to leave your home of 18 years, your parents tell you that you won’t be moving alone, they’ll be coming with you. How would you react?

For me personally, I would need to judge it by their intentions. I love my parents and have a great relationship with them, so if they were moving because they would miss me, I wouldn’t put up a fight. I’m currently eight hours away from them, and do miss them a lot, so I wouldn’t mind having them close.

If on the other hand, they were moving so they could hyper-control everything I do, I would not like it. It would make the college experience feel more like an extended version of high school, with me still being the kid.

So when thinking about this question, we can see that there isn’t really a black and white answer. But here is how some students said they would feel if their parents were to (or did) move with them.

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Some would feel betrayed:

David Deck, who recently graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a bachelor’s in linguistics, described his reaction to my question with just one word “betrayed …”

A lot of students will feel like this, since college is a time to get away, a time to find yourself and grow up. That can be very hard with your parents there, since it doesn’t really feel like anything has changed.

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Some would feel over controlled:

As seen in this article, many people may view a parent moving with their child to college as a helicopter parent. The thing is, some parents are too controlling, and this will not help the child in the real world and may cause the child to resent them.

Amanda Margosiak, a third year theater arts student at Palomar college, said “I would feel like they are over controlling and don’t trust me. I wouldn’t be happy with that at all.”

Many students will share this reaction because a parent getting up and stopping everything just to be closer to their kid entering college definitely can seem like they want to keep the kid out of trouble by being close by. This is again where judging their intentions comes into play.

My mom has a few friends who just had their kids enter college, and she tells me all these stories about how the parents freak out if the kids don’t call them every day and things like that. They are being controlling parents even with their kid away, so imagine if parents like that lived close by! Talk about a buzz kill.

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Some would feel cheated:

Justin Kaplan, a third year political science student at Napa Valley College, said “I’d feel cheated, because I’m going away to college in order to experience a new lifestyle and all of the discomforts that come with it.”

While parents want to move to help their kid–or themselves–some kids need the time away to make choices for themselves, good and bad, and learn from them.

Having the parent come along may change the experience and take the excitement out of it, especially if you are forced to live with them instead of getting to experience the lovely dorms. (Dorms are nasty of course, but they help you make friends and just give you an overall experience that you will cherish or despise forever).

While all those students really wouldn’t want their parents to move with them, I was also able to find some who actually wouldn’t mind it.

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Some want them close:

Luke Siller, a third year bio technology student at Palomar College, said “I would love to have my parents close, but still have my own space, so we can be together but also have our own time.”

This, to me, would be the ideal situation if your parents do move close. You would still want your own space, so you can experience everything as you would, and would also be able to have your parents close by so you don’t have to miss them. It would definitely be the best of both worlds.

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Some actually had it happen and it wasn’t bad:

Rikki Abbasi, a third year psychology and music student at the University of Redlands, said “My mom actually did this to me but luckily for me I had already paid the tuition to live on campus. She kinda wanted me to live at home at first but then she saw how well I was doing in the dorms and let me stay at school.”

“I think our relationship is much better now because of it. I have space to grow and do my own thing but it’s nice knowing my mom isn’t too far away to help me out if I need it. I also get my laundry done for free so that’s always a plus” Abbasi continued.

This is similar to Siller’s opinion and shows that having your parents there can definitely come with some pluses.

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Some would reap the benefits:

As stated above, having your parents there can have its perks, especially when it comes to saving money.

Ian Dominguez, a third year student at Palomar College, said “I’d love to have my parents close by because then it would save me money by not having to rent my own place.”

If you get along with your parents well, living with them a bit longer might work out well in your favor. You can always move out later and experience independence, and since you waited, you’ll be able to save up more and be more financially stable than if you already had to start paying for room and board on top of tuition.

Alexia Gonzalez, one of my fellow national team members, lived with her parents the first two years of college and said “it’s SUCH a difference from living on your own.”

Living with them will have its hardships, but if it works out for both of you then why not?

If your parents are considering moving with you, you may want to have a discussion about what their intentions are, about boundaries that you may want to set, and whether it is actually necessary to have them move.

Make sure that both sides are heard, and settle it in an adult manner. You want to enjoy college, and they want to enjoy your company and keep you safe.

Hi! I'm Francine and I'm a fourth year Creative Writing major at UC Santa Cruz. I am one of the Campus life columnists on Uloop's National Team and also the campus editor for UCSC. I enjoy reading, writing, and taking selfies with my cat.

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