Whose Choice Is It?
As featured by Healthy Living Magazine
As May 1st college deadlines rapidly approach, it is now time for seniors in high school to make decisions. The choice is now theirs, but you as parents can help them to navigate this process. In many ways this is the beginning of letting your student go. It is a time to teach your student about what kinds of considerations should go into their choice. Financial aid, the family situation, the school’s geography, “best”fit and many other sound realistic criteria specific to each student will be a part of this process.
Over the years I have heard many parents at the beginning of their college search, say their student will go to the least expensive, “sticker price”- period. However, I urge those parents to also look at other considerations, some of which will be led by the student themselves. Sticker price should not be the only criteria to be considered, what is also important is merit based and need-based financial aid, and other student unique incentives. Just because a school may be more financially appropriate, it might not be the “best” fit for the student. Although parents are often the ones to determine how a college education will be paid for, the student’s input is a crucial ingredient to this process. Perhaps they themselves will have to pay for their education.
As students complete their high school career, hopefully they have been given opportunities along the way to make decisions about their future. Living a healthy life includes the ability to successfully navigate options, but also recognizing opportunities as they present themselves. Selecting a school is quite a process for everyone. Long and short term considerations abound, and no one feels the pressure more than the student about trying to pick the “best” school for them.
This needs to be a collaborative endeavor, as truth be told, it is the student who will live, work and set up their community at their chosen school.
So, how do you as a family make this decision? Here are several questions to consider.
- Does the college offer the major, or academic interests expressed by your student? Does it “fit” them academically?
- Has life outside of the classroom been explored? Clubs, activities, social scene, community relationships?
- Is this a fit geographically? Is it too far? Too close? Has climate been considered? Where they live plays a significant role in their success at college.
- Has the school awarded merit based aid/or family need-based aid?
- Can your child “see” themselves at this college?
Hopefully, many of these questions have been asked along the way as schools were selected as possibilities. As a parent you will feel challenged by the decision of which school is the right one. Decisions for 18 year old students are difficult, and we’re not only referring about college choices!! That being said, it is clear that this a time in their lives where what they think not only matters, but is the key to their success as they move forward into this next phase of their life.