In this new article entitled “Helping Your Kids Choose the Best College for Them” author Richelle Joelin details some important factors to keep in mind while choosing a college and shares a few tips as well on how to navigate the preparation process to truly guide your kids as they start the next chapter in their lives.

College is where your kids can truly flourish and make memories that last a lifetime, so it’s no wonder families start preparing for this period years before. The move from high school to college can also prove to be a challenging transition for many teens. And while personal interest and potential for success are among the top five factors that influence student college choice, there are other considerations you should help them recognize. This article is perfect for parents who want to give their kids all the help and guidance they need to start the next chapter of their lives.

Things You Should Both Consider:

  • Location & Price

According to the College Board, the tuition fees for state colleges and universities average at $10,230 for state residents and $26,290 for everyone else. When it comes to private, non-profit colleges, expect tuition fees to be around $35,830. And as for community, technical, or city colleges, average fees amount to $3,660. Additionally, if you’re considering sending your child to a faraway school, boarding costs range between $8,660-$12,680 a year. This is why you should take into account location and pricing when choosing a school, as these costs can start piling up quickly. Additionally, look into financial aid offers and scholarships, as well as work-study opportunities. If they really want to enter a certain university, talk them through what it will entail and treat them like an adult; be honest and open about your financial status.

  • Course Options

As mentioned before, 74% of students think that the programs of study available are a crucial factor in deciding for a college; and it’s very much valid. It’s likely that they’ve already spent quite some time looking into the academic offerings of each college they applied to. So, encourage them to delve deeper into the majors and minors of course selections as well as the range of course offerings. Also, research on additional hands-on programs offered by the schools, such as mentoring programs, summer camps, business fairs, workshops, and labs. Doing these will give both of you a wider view of each college’s academic offerings, and whether they suit your child.

  • Culture

Oftentimes, the fit matters more than the location or prestige. The school your child chooses should have opportunities that fit their interests, personality, and career goals. As parents, you should also consider the school’s administration, preferably those led by professionals with a background in higher education leadership. After all, having empathetic and supportive administrators can define the overall culture of a university. Moreover, such professionals are competent leaders, able to guide students with compassion. Aside from school administrators, keep an eye on other avenues for student support. For instance, some colleges employ career and mental health counselors to guide students through study, work, and relationship problems. At the end of the day, you want your kids to be in a place that promotes a healthy work-life balance.

 Reminders For You

As a parent, this transition can be an emotional and exhausting experience. Even so, remember that this is for the good of your child. So, first and foremost, maintain open communication with them and answer any questions they might have. But don’t ask about their decision every other day, as this can add to the stress of handling admission processes and ultimately making the big decision. Let them take things one step at a time. One great way to keep each other updated is to dedicate one night a week to talk about how applications are going and whether there are any new discoveries to discuss.

Finally, you should be there to guide them throughout the whole process, but don’t pressure them to pick a particular school of your own preference; this is a common mistake among parents. Just because you were happy in your alma mater doesn’t mean it’s also where your child fits in best. Be confident that they will be able to make a sound decision, and remember that they are their own person.

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By: Richelle Joelin