6 Factors to Consider When Choosing a College With Your Kids

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Most parents make the mistake of choosing a college or university without involving their kids in the decision-making process. This often gives rise to many disappointments for the kids. They may be so disappointed that they do not enjoy college life and fall into depression. Feeling frustrated and lost, they find themselves performing poorly in their school activities. Fortunately, this situation can be avoided by simply asking for your children’s participation in deciding on a college and valuing their opinion.

One way to ensure that you have chosen the right academic institution for your children is by involving them in the process of examining and choosing schools. After all, it is their future.

6 Things to Consider With Your Kids When Choosing a College

1. Your children should make the final decision in choosing a college.

It is great if you decide to involve your kids in choosing the right college for them. Your guidance, input, and advice, as well as your interest in the entire process, is important. It shows how much you care for your children’s future as well as what happens in their lives. However, the most important thing to keep in mind is that your children are responsible for making the final decision. They have a right to attend the college of their own choice, and you should let them if there is no valid reason not to.

2. Do not force your kids to choose a college that you think is best.

Involving your kids in the process of choosing universities is wise, and it is something that should be applauded. However, you must be careful not to force your children to settle for the college of your choice. Just because you still cherish the fondest memories of your college years does not mean your children should be destined to attend that same institution.

Avoid saying such things as “It will be good for you” or “You are going to enjoy being there” because you don’t really know that for a fact. They are individuals with their own thoughts and ideas of what they would like to accomplish in life. They may also have a very good idea of where they would like to receive an education that will help them reach their goals. It may surprise you to learn that some prestigious academic institutions that you believe would have a huge positive impact on your children’s life turn out to be the exact opposite. There are many factors to consider when choosing the right university for your children. How reputable an academic establishment is should not be the only determining factor in making the final decision.

3. Talk about your kids’ concerns before choosing a college.

You must talk about any concerns that your kids may have and address them. They may be concerned about leaving their friends behind, failing to make new friends, and wanting to go to the same college as their friends. These are all valid concerns that you must listen to and address. Encourage them to think of what is best for them in the long run.

4. Consider your children’s interests and give sound advice.

Your children may be battling with the decision of choosing between two or more programs offered. This is where your guidance and well-informed advice can be a valuable asset. Help your children make the right choice by asking relevant questions. For example, “Why are you interested in this Degree program?” “What could happen if you chose B instead of A?” Consider where their strengths are as well. Once you have the answers to the relevant questions, you can begin offering advice. Suggest the benefits of choosing one over the other and talk about career prospects for each program.

The decision you and your child make should be based on the end goal you both desire. This would require a great deal of self-examination. You might find it helpful to see what educators, Michael B. Horn and Bob Moesta, have to say on the subject in their book, “Choosing College: How to Make Better Learning Decisions Throughout Your Life.”

5. Understand the programs offered by the preferred institution.

Do proper research before finalizing any decision. Learn what programs the preferred college has to offer. Have a thorough knowledge of the kind of education your children will be receiving. Also, find out how well previous students have performed.

6. Consider location.

Location is important when choosing the right university. Consider distance and talk about it at length with your kids if it could be a determining factor.

Recommended Reading

The Truth about College Admission: A Family Guide to Getting In and Staying Together

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Galotti, Kathleen M. “A longitudinal study of real‐life decision making: Choosing a college.” Applied Cognitive Psychology 9.6 (1995): 459-484.

Horn, Michael B., and Bob Moesta. “Choosing college: How to make better learning decisions throughout your life.” John Wiley & Sons, 2019.

Kathy Adams, Author

Kathy Adams

Hi, I'm Kathy. Thanks for visiting Your Guide to Parenting. As a parent myself, I understand the challenges that we all face when trying to help our children along the road to maturity. I'm here to help make the journey a little easier for parents and...

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