Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



Committee Chair

Dr. Holly A. Foster

Committee Chair School



Increased parental involvement with children in college has been attributed to rising higher education costs, an increase in technology usage and communication, a generational shift in parenting style with increased closeness and involvement at the primary and secondary education levels, and the growing number of college students whose parents attended college. Some higher education professionals are concerned this increased parental engagement has a negative impact on college student growth and maturity, while others see benefits to students from a developmental standpoint. While there has been increased scholarly attention over the previous two decades about the growing involvement of parents on campus, research is lacking about college student perspectives of parental engagement and the consequences of such involvement.

The purpose of this action research study was to assess student perception of parental engagement in the transition to college on a variety of issues and situations faced by students pursuing higher education. In this quantitative study, a total of 219 incoming, first-year, and second-year students in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University completed a survey about their attitudes and perceptions related to parental engagement with academic activities, university personnel, and non-academic activities. While limited sample size prevented analysis of some student demographics, the data was analyzed to identify trends related to gender, race/ethnicity, first-generation status, definition of parent, living arrangement, perception of engagement prior to starting college, and birth order. There were remarkable trends regarding perception of parental engagement specifically related to gender, first-generation status, living arrangements, and birth order. While the scope of research on the perception of parental engagement in the transition to college is somewhat broad and rather limited in conclusions, it invites future research, more parent-specific programming in higher education, and increased attention to the parent-child relationship during the critical life stage of the transition to adulthood.