How You and Your Child Can Choose the Right College

Entering the university is one step away from the real world. Although education is a preparation for the career we take in adulthood, university education is that crucial groundwork of studies, training and research for your child’s soon to be chosen field. Choosing a college that offers the best curriculum along with other factors such as cost, environment, location, extra curricular activities and reputation is important.

Research

To research on your prospective college and everything that comes with it is the first and most important step you can do. Bearing just enough knowledge about the possible institutions of learning will not do. You and your child have to be armed with sufficient information about the school/s you are considering. There are several methods on doing your research which can be easily accessed:

1. Internet research – If you’re worried that you aren’t in good terms with the World Wide Web, without a doubt, your teenager is rather well-endowed with the knowledge of the internet. College websites usually contain information on the campus’ history, courses offered, activities, locations, achievements, and even an alumni section in case you’re interested to know if anyone who matters to you went to the same school.

2. Oculars – on site visits to campuses is another good way of research. Schedule some time to visit your prospects and let your teen gauge for himself how the school’s environment appeals to him. By going to the campus yourselves, you can see first-hand the structure, students, and even the neighboring areas, which are just as important because this will be your child’s neighborhood for most of the next four (or more!) years of his life. A point to remember is to avoid going to only one campus. This is in order to have proper bases for comparisons. Seeing all schools in your child’s shortlist will give him ideas on how one differs form the other, and which one by far, is the best he has seen. It will make deciding less mind-boggling.

3. Reading materials such as the college’s official newspaper and/or newsletters are also helpful in providing you with some background about the college. School publications have stories on the school’s current events, celebrations, updates and more, so this will shed light on a lot of campus happenings. If these are things that your kid is interested in, it might be a factor for his decision of choosing where to attend. You can ask for copies at the registrar’s office or alumni office. If allowed to visit the newspaper office, the better, as you can possibly get hold of old copies of the school paper. Perhaps you can even get some inside scoop on the school’s what-have-you stories.

Consider the practicalities

Is your teen going to live in the campus or at home? Is he going to stay in a nearby dormitory or apartment? How is the transportation availability going to and from the campus? What’s the area like?

These are just some questions you and your kid need to consider before making a decision. Things should be fairly easy for your kid, especially on his freshman year because this is when the adjustment period only starts to kick in. Even if his studies itself is manageable, and he doesn’t encounter any interpersonal difficulties, practicalities like the living arrangement and the school area can pose some concerns if not adapted to easily. Your child could possibly not enjoy college life as he should if other things were difficult for him to handle.

Set your worries aside.

Many parents start worrying about college finances even before their children start walking. It’s true that it’s no joke to send a child to the university. It is not referred to as the higher learning for nothing. But don’t let financial worries limit your child’s plans for college.

There are various financial aids colleges offer to students who are in need of tuition assistance. Scholarships of different kinds and student loans are widespread in almost all schools, especially the bigger institutions and the national universities. If you think your kid will benefit from such aid, do some research on this and as early as possible, upon application, also include your kid’s request for assistance.

It’s hard to say when a university is perfect for your kid until he starts attending the school. And he’s really the only one who can say if life in the campus of his choice is the right decision he made or not. So before realizing the effects of decision-making, make the process of choosing carefully. There is plenty enough time before college. If you think you as a family should start the college talk in your child’s first year in high school, by all means, go ahead. Bottom line is, you as parents, and your child should be able to have available options to choose from, time to weigh the pros and cons, and the right mindset to finally make the choice, which hopefully, will be the best one your child will make in his entry to young adulthood.

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