How to find the right college for your child

Finding the right college is rarely an easy process. Some students have collegiate goals set in their minds before they even begin high school, but for many the decision is made closer to graduation day. With so many colleges offering so many different programs, it can seem nearly impossible to help your teen find the right fit. However, there are plenty of great things you can do with your kids to help them make sure they’re choosing the right college.

Talk to your kids about what they want from school. Higher education is expensive today, and students should be going into school with a clear idea of what they want to gain from their years in college. Your teen may be looking for a major program in a specific area of study, or music and arts programs that will help develop creative abilities. Every student is different, possessing a unique mindset and an individual set of goals. Talk to your teen about his or her goals to get started on the process of choosing the right college.

Try to schedule a meeting with your son or daughter’s guidance counselor to begin talking about options. School counselors specialize in exactly this kind of work, and they’ll be able to provide you and your teen with tons of useful information that can help in the college search. Bring up your teen’s plans and aspirations and ask for recommendations of schools with strong programs in your teen’s area of interest. There may be a school in your very town that will be perfect for your teen. You may not know about it, but the school guidance counselor certainly does. Get school recommendations, application advice and plenty of other useful tidbits that will help you and your teen find the perfect school.

Think about what kind of environment will best suit your teen. Some students thrive in the big city, while others are more comfortable in quiet suburban and rural environments. The number one school in your kid’s area of study may not be the best choice if it’s in the wrong environment. Think about distance as well. Will your teen be okay with living out of state and being unable to visit home easily throughout school? These are big decisions to make, and they deserve careful consideration.

Go on as many campus tours as possible so that you and your teen can both get a good look at what prospective schools are offering. There is no better way to judge a school’s atmosphere, facilities and quality of education than by going for a visit in person. After every campus tour, talk with your teen about what seemed positive as well as what might have been undesirable about a particular school.

Finally, be sure to think about finances. Student loan debt can become a serious burden for graduates, and your teen should understand this before entering college. If your teen is already focused on a clear path through school, obtaining an online degree may even be a great option. Studying at Marylhurst online will typically cost much less than usual for a college education, and the degree obtained at the end will be just as valuable. This isn’t the right path for every student, but it’s definitely something worth considering when you’re trying to help your teen find the perfect school.


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