Choosing the right university is a stressful time for both students and their parents. Follow these simple tips to find how you (as a parent) can lend support and help overcome the stress:
Show your child that you are there to support them through the process and be participative. Understand that college search is exhausting and tiresome. It will take time and energy to reach a decision, and even that may be changed many times. Your child may feel stressed out too. Consider all aspects and guide your child to make the right choice. Talk about their interests and what they want and have healthy arguments evaluating all aspects.
Talk about Expectations
Before you get down to visiting colleges and making decisions, sit down with your child and have a healthy discussion about expectations and limitations. Talk about financial support, what is available and other options which can be explored. Understand you child, his concerns about choosing the college and what interests he has. Avoid any arguments and try to form a common ground which will help everyone get along in making the right decision. Remember, the decision rests with your child but you have to trust them and provide them with the necessary support that they need from their parents.
Don’t Rely On College Reputation Alone
As a parent, don’t guide or pressurize your child to choose the university with the best reputation. It may be the best and there’s no arguing that there are many. What parents should concern themselves with, is putting their child’s interests first. Maybe the right college with the right reputation is not a fit for your child. Maybe he’s different from the lot and another lower ranked university would suit his preferences and interests better.
Its okay if your child doesn’t choose what you thought was best for them. Expect anything to happen. Don’t be too harsh on yourself or your child if they choose to walk a different path from what you planned for them. Understand and respect their decisions.
Don’t focus on a limited no. of colleges and end up having left with one option to decide for. It’s okay to have many options and gradually cutting down your choice to a few. Initially, keep yourself open to other colleges and schools and be considerate. Welcome any suggestions from friends or family who have through the process recently. You may get useful advice from them and learn from any mistakes they made. Talk to other parents you know whose kids attended or are attending the colleges on your list. Tap into any source for information and don’t limit yourself to catalogues.
Get Maximum Out Of College Visits
Make it a point to visit colleges. This will enable you to obtain first-hand information. Observe the campus environment and visit the labs and libraries. It will help you make an informed decision. If it is not possible to visit each and every college, limit yourself to at least visiting the top few choices. Visiting the campus may give you a lot more information and clear any concerns and doubts which may otherwise arise from browsing the catalogue. You can also, stop by the gas station and chat with a few locals on what they think about the college. It will give you a general idea.
Let Your Child Decide
As a parent it’s important that you provide the support and guidance necessary for your child to make a decision. But, leave the end choice up to them. No matter what the counselor, information guides, and evaluation points out to, your child has to live with the choice and has every right to make their own decisions.