When you email me about an internship I’ve posted, and tell me YOU are looking for an internship for your son/daughter, that pretty much puts the kibosh on me ever hiring your kid right there.  (BTW, It’s especially not helpful if you use the words “lost”, “adrift”, or “confused” to describe your child.)

I’m sympathetic. Figuring out what you want to do in the world is hard. But any student over the age of 18 should be able to write me their own damn email.

If your kid isn’t with it enough to seek me out on their own, then I’m not about to let them near my research. Sorry.

The Collegiate Employment Research Institute found that 23% of employers reported parents were involved in the hiring process “often” to “fairly often.”  In fact, some recruiters reported parents came to the interview with the student.

That’s messed up. Please don’t be a parentzilla.

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Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. Oh, I love this. A personal pet peeve of mine. I know someone who has two kids in college. Both of her boys fax her their scribbled papers, and then she types and edits them and emails the finished papers back for them to turn in.

    As a teenager, I researched colleges and scholarships on my own. I did my own applications, without any help whatsoever. I took the responsibility to send them in, following the directions and deadlines. Really, people, it wasn’t that hard. And now I’m a very capable adult as a result of that early training.

  2. Hahaha oh my goodness! When I applied for internships last year I did it all on my own – my dad just read over my applications for spelling errors. This year I’ve been through several job interviews, face to face, for the first time.

    It can be terrifying as a college student having to do things on your own, yes, but now is the time to get over it and experience real life. I’m really shy in new situations, and hate talking on the phone, but I sucked it up.

    High school, too. My dad was obsessive about giving me advice, but I wouldn’t even let him touch my applications. I just don’t understand the mentality of the student that would allow their parents to interfere like that, let alone a parent thinking it’s ok to help their kid cheat their way through life!

  3. Whoa. I think you would be doing those parents a huge (undeserved) favor by actually replying to their email with something like what you wrote here.

    School and job applications are not team efforts!

  4. In my gig, I get parents researching projects and papers for their kids. Actually, I get them asking me to more or less send them or tell them everything they need, no assembly required. A**hats.

  5. I will happily take emails and phone calls from students–clueless or otherwise. For many of them it’s their first time, and I’m happy to be gentle.

    But parents–gloves are off!

  6. http://blog.greenmuseum.org/blog/?p=65

    Sorry this is OT, but thought you’d be interested in the article above. I am a HUGE fan of your blog! Yes, I am Madame Beespeaker–thanks for posting about me, BTW. I am an artist based in Vancouver and I teach kids about bees through art and drama. I have a new blog– beespeakersaijiki.blogspot.com.

    All the Best,

  7. I love it when parents come up to the reference desk and say, “I need 3 books on [insert esoteric historical figure here] TONIGHT…I have to write my son’s report.” And their son is in middle school.

    We also had a ton of helicopter parents at college admissions, too.

  8. So, I have a 13-year old who is obsessed with insects. I mean, really obsessed. Would an entomology prof ever consider taking such a kid on as an unpaid intern for a summer?

  9. At 13, probably not. I have to answer to the Feds for the money they gave me, and an adolescent in the mix is just not reliable enough.

    But there are plenty of other things for him/her to do in an entomology department–camps, bug house, tour guide, rearing butterflies. He can also start his own 4H club, and be the expert.

    And parents contacting a prof for a 13 year old is perfectly understandable. For a 21 year old…not so much :)

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