Preparing Your Child for College
Choosing a college
No matter the type of college, selecting a school is a big decision. Many things will factor into your child’s choice. Parents can help with the process by listening, asking questions, and providing their perspective. Here are a few other ways to make sure your child chooses the college that will help them succeed in life.
- Know your options
Not all colleges are the same. Depending on the career path your child is pursuing, sometimes a community college or vocational school is a better option than a four-year college. Talk to your child about what they want to do after college, or schedule some time with your child’s high school counselor about the types of schools that best match your child’s interests. Visit this site for more information about preparing for college.
- Tour a college
Most colleges host organized tours for high school students. They give students and families a chance to see the campus and hear from college students as well as college staff. Tours are a great way to get a feel for a school. Contact the college to schedule a tour. Or most colleges allow self-guided tours whenever you want.
- Set some guidelines
Colleges are in every state, and college tuition can vary widely, especially when comparing public and private schools. It’s good to have an open conversation with your child about factors such as distance, cost, and their choice of major. If your child wants to be an engineer, be sure the college offers a program that matches their interests. If travel could be an issue, look at colleges that are nearby. And, if your child has a passion for a career that doesn’t earn a lot of money, make sure they don’t attend an expensive college using student loans. That may make repayment difficult due to the low salary.
- Create a list
Picking a college is one of the biggest decisions your child will ever make. The decision-making process can be stressful for students and parents. It’s helpful to sit down together and compile a list of pros and cons for each school. Consider things like location, size, cost, financial aid packages, housing options, and choice of majors. Then look into other items such as college ranking, reputation, culture, lifestyle, social activities, and diversity. Hopefully one college will rise to the top of your list. But, ultimately, your student should feel at home at their college. Don’t rule out good old-fashioned gut feel. Here are some more suggestions to help you choose the best fit.