Deciding which college to attend can be frustrating sometimes on the students’ part. So, so this when parents play a critical role.
If you notice that your child is having a hard time choosing a college, talk to them and exchange thoughts. That way, they will feel they are not alone. However, if you are also clueless about when or how to start helping them with the selection process, I have prepared some helpful tips below:
Do Not Pressure Your Child
College selection can be both a stressful and exciting process for students. As a parent, you have to understand your child’s situation rather than pressuring them to pick a specific school. It will only add more stress to them.
You can show your child that you believe and support the ability to make good decisions. Besides telling them that you are happy to guide and assist them, it is also helpful telling them that you are confident that they can make the best decision.
Evaluate the Academic Opportunities
For sure, your child has already searched through the academic offerings of every college. However, you can still do additional research before the final decision. Help your child research the academic opportunities’ breadth and depth at a college.
You and your child can evaluate the course selection, minors and majors offered, and accessibility of the faculty. You also need to consider the study board programs and undergraduate research opportunities.
Consider the Location
Some students want to attend college far away from the town they live in, while others may want to go to school close to their homes. Most teens prefer enrolling at colleges 50 miles away from their homes.
Location is one of the factors affecting your child’s decision in college selection. You and your child should talk about the advantages and drawbacks of the location of every college, whether it is near or far.
Make A Financial Aid Offerings Comparison
Attending college can be a huge investment. However, it does not necessarily mean that parents pay the entire tuition. You can take advantage of financial aid offerings, but you still have to compare them.
Once a student is accepted, the school sends a financial aid award letter with details about the works-study options, scholarships, grants, and loans. That letter lets you know the amount due after subtracting grants and scholarships or net cost.
You and your child should compare these award letters from various colleges. It will help you get the best deal. In most cases, the award letters show the one-year enrollment cost. It would be better if you have an idea of the total four years of enrollment cost for each college.
Discuss the Money-Related Matters
Once you are done reviewing the award letters, the next thing you should do is to discuss the money-related matters of attending each college with your child. When talking to them, ensure that you are detailed and honest. It is best to treat them as adults.
You can create a spreadsheet that includes a comparison of each college’s cost. It is also a great idea to include how much debt your family will take for each option. Do not forget to discuss the implications of each loan debt.
Research Career Outcomes
Doing some research will help parents figure out whether a specific college can help their children reach their dream careers. For instance, if a college offers internship opportunities, your child may have better career outcomes. You can also take a look at the recent graduates’ starting salary data or job placement rates.
Visit or Take a Virtual Tour
Visiting the campus offers an opportunity to have ideas of what it feels like to study in a particular college. Besides experience a school, the tour enables the parents and teens to ask further questions regarding student life, academics, and more. Virtual tours are also recommended.
The process of choosing a college requires deliberation and additional research. The decision made can affect your child’s life in the next four years or over. Believe me; your child needs your help. Even if they say “the decision is mine” or “I got this,” they still need your advice and guidance. Before the enrollment season gets closer, ensure that you have already discussed the selection. It will help you and your child make a well-informed decision.