How to help your child choose the right college

Trying to figure out how to help your child choose the right college? You have come to the right place. Decision day is May 1, and if your child is still struggling to pick the school for him/her, never fear!

If you are here, then your child has already received their acceptances, declines, and waitlists. Let’s start from the beginning with the acceptances.

Your child has a list of acceptances, now is the time to go through them. Here is how you can help your child choose the right college from the list of acceptances they have received.

  1. Make a clean list of the colleges your child has been accepted to in excel or a spreadsheet software of your choice. Place the schools in alphabetical order.
  2. Are any of the schools on the list definite no’s for your child? Use the strikethrough tool to eliminate them.
  3. Start going through the rest of the list until you are left with three schools.
  4. Still have more than three? What do you prefer? Eliminate schools based on size, ranking, location, extra-curricular activities, and overall vibe until you are left with three schools.
  5. Delete all the schools from your spreadsheet with a strike through. You should have three schools left.
  6. Can you stack rank the three schools? If not, go through these criteria.

Sometimes you know things about your child they might not realize. Does your child prefer an urban setting or a rural setting? Do they do better in small classes or in larger environments? Look at the list and eliminate any school which isn’t the right setting or location for your child. Perhaps your child thinks a rural environment would be ok, but they love eating at urban type restaurants and going to the ballet, opera, and museums. Would they be happy in a rural setting? Probably not. They might need a more urban, or at least suburban, environment.

Is your child into attending sporting events? Maybe there is a school on the list with boring sports. If going to a big football school is important, eliminate the schools with the worst sports.

Is “going Greek” in your child’s future? Eliminate schools from the list with small or non-existent Greek systems. If they are the opposite, maybe eliminate schools where “going Greek” is an important part of the social life.

Is your child worried about being away from home? Maybe staying in-state or within driving distance is important. Eliminate schools with long flights from the list. Are you from a warm climate and living in the snow doesn’t appeal to your child? Eliminate cold climates from the list, or vise-versa.

Often when choosing the right college, the ultimate deciding factor is cost. How much does each school on the list cost per year? You will need to factor in travel costs such as airfare. If your child really cannot decide, pick the cheapest school. If your child protests, maybe that school should be off the list too!

Hopefully these steps help your child pick a college from their list of acceptances. If they were rejected form the schools they really wanted, and don’t seem happy with the acceptances, maybe consider a community college for two years. Your child can transfer to the school they really want for their junior year. This is also a good option for a child who doesn’t want to live away from home. Maybe they need more time at home before going away to college.

Stay tuned for more insight from this parent of a college student! Let me know if you have questions!

Thanks for stopping by!