Choosing a college can be an exciting but overwhelming experience for kids. College is entirely different from high school. Even when kids know what they want, it can still be confusing for them to select a school that is right for them. In some cases, children can be scared to decide because of the level of expectation their parents have for them. For others, the idea of going to college and being on their own can be scary. As a parent, you must ensure that your child feels supported. Here are some ways on how you can guide your child:
Know What Your Child Wants
Sometimes, parents can be too eager to help that they would often decide for their kids. Usually, children will choose what their parents want. Don’t make this mistake. Before you even search for a school for your child, make sure to ask your child what they really want. Have them come up with a list of what they think is an ideal college for them. Do they want a college near your home? Does a sports team entice them, or will they prefer to have a school with top of the line academic programs where they can help them become competitive when they graduate?
Once they come up with their criteria, go over it with them and rank them according to priority. Remember, don’t rush your child to come up with their list. Allow them to think this through as this is a crucial step to help them choose the best college fit for them.
Make a List of Possible Schools
Once your child has the list of requirements, start making a list of possible schools that meet all the requirements. It helps narrow down your list when considering some factors, such as financial aid requirements, graduation rates, and student loan default rates. You may also want to check the college’s salary outlook to ensure that your child can have plenty of job opportunities when they graduate. You should have at least two to three schools that are a good fit for your child.
Plan a College Visit
Take the time to go with your child during a college visit. This will help them ease some of the worries and apprehensions they may have. College visits are worthy investments because it will help your child get a feel of the school. Ideally, you should only go to schools on your list. You don’t want your child to fall in love with a school that may be too expensive or impossible to get to. During the visit, take the time to ask about their programs and what sets them apart from the rest. You may also encourage your child to sit in on a class or explore the dining halls to let them get a feel of the school’s culture and environment and see whether it meets their expectations.
Encourage Them to Send Applications
Applying to colleges can also be expensive. For some students, sending out 20 applications is normal, but if your budget does not permit this, you may encourage your child to send at least six to 10 applications. The schools they should apply for must include two safe schools, two reach schools, and two to three good fit schools. Guide them when researching about increasing their chances of acceptance. Allow them to come up with their own strategy.
Once your child’s college application status is in, be there for your child. Whatever results may come, make sure that your child feels supported and guided. Whatever school they choose, your support should be there. Remember, a parent’s support is crucial in ensuring a child’s success.