As a parent, you know that this is one of the most important decisions your kids will ever need to make from this point forward in their lives. Choosing the right college with their sights set on a career will have a major impact on everything they do going forward.
Although you have the life experience to know that there are no guarantees in life, other than death and taxes, kids tend to glorify college as the point in their lives when they are finally independent. But, are they really? While you can’t (or shouldn’t) force the school of your choice on your child, you can help them understand what to look for and hope they make the right decision for the right reasons.
Speaking of Independence
What many kids don’t realize is that even with a scholarship and perhaps student loans, their parents will still need to foot much of the bill. Unless your kids are going to school and working a full-time job, there is no way they would be able to meet all the expenses if they chose a school far from home. Even athletes on full-ride scholarships need subsidies from parents to make it through those four years.
While your kids may be living away from home, are they truly independent? In some cases, perhaps, but usually not. Therefore, as a parent, you might have some say as to which school they choose to attend. If it will be an extreme financial hardship for you to pay the costs of their education, their choices may be limited to what you can afford.
When Money Isn’t an Issue
You will read plenty of online advice that you can’t choose your child’s college for them. In fact, this is true when money isn’t an issue. However, for most parents, the skyrocketing costs of a post-secondary education will be a financial burden. For those parents who have been able to save for their children’s college years, you kids do have greater opportunities. While teachers, coaches, and advisors are offering suggestions, as a parent you can take them through sites like School Choices to see what other options are available to them. There are just so many decisions to be made!
School Rankings Matter
Are they looking to attend a public university or a private university? What is campus life like and how is that particular university ranked in the field of study they wish to pursue? For example, a Harvard graduate would probably never have problems finding a job but a graduate from some unknown and remote university might need to battle Yale and Purdue graduates. If money isn’t an issue, help them understand that their choice of colleges really does matter in the long run, and rankings are an important consideration.
Finally, remember that the more you press for the school of your choice, the less likely your kids will want to attend that particular college. It’s known as the “Paradox of Pushing Kids to Succeed”. Do what you can to guide them, but remember, the choice really is theirs.