For prospective students who have received a number of offers from multiple colleges, deciding which one to attend often requires additional research and deliberation. Parents definitely have a role to play in their child’s college decision, but they shouldn’t try to take control of the process. We’ve put together a list, highlighting many of the ways parents can help their child think through their college decision.
Choosing a college is an exciting but also stressful process for many prospective students. During this time, parents should try to be understanding, rather than adding more stress by pressuring their child to choose a particular school.
DON’T COMPARE YOUR CHILD TO OTHERS
This may be easier said than done, but parents shouldn’t compare their child’s college acceptances, or rejections, with those of their friends’ children. Doing so will just add more stress to prospective students – every student is different, unique and has different passions and interests.
DISCUSS AFFORDABILITY – IN DETAIL
Parents should be honest and detailed when talking with their child about college costs. It can often be beneficial fort families to make a spreadsheet, comparing the cost of each college. Including information about the level of debt a student or family would have to take out for each option would also be valuable. It’s important for students to be aware of the implications of student loan debt – whether it’s yours or theirs – it could have an effect on their college experiences i.e. studying abroad, work study, or flying home less frequently.
EVALUATE ACADEMIC OPPORTUNITIES
Students have most probably spent some time looking into the academic offerings of each college they have applied to, however, it can’t hurt for families to do some extra research before a final decision is made. Parents can be on hand to help their child explore the breadth and depth of academic opportunities offered at a college; majors and minors offered, course selections, and undergraduate research opportunities. And for those students who aren’t sure what they wish to study, families can explore how easy it is to switch majors at particular institutions.
RESEARCH CAREER OUTCOMES
Families can do some research to help determine whether a school will be able to help teens reach their career goals. Internship opportunities are one factor to consider. Exploring job placement rates and starting salary data for recent graduates can also be useful. And if a student wishes to move onto graduate school at a later date, families can look into grad school outcomes for a college’s recent alumni.
TALK ABOUT LOCATION
Some students may wish to attend school close to home, whilst others may wish to study further away from where they grew up – it’s different for everyone. Sitting down and discussing the pros and cons of the location of each college on their list, can be beneficial for students and parents alike.
FOCUS ON THE FIT
Many factors are involved in ensuring you get the ‘right college fit’ – academics, extracurriculars and campus culture, to name a few. It is important for student to choose a college where they believe they can succeed; this type of fit matters more than a school’s brand name of any other factor. Parents can encourage their child to approach the decision in this way.
DON’T PESTER YOUR CHILD
Asking your child about their college decision every day can stress them out. However, since there is a deadline, parents should check in regularly to make sure their child is progressing towards a final decision.
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