Smart Q & A: Parents Divided About Choosing a College

Ask Smart College VisitQUESTION:

My husband and I differ about where our daughter should attend college. He feels strongly she should chose the best school among those offered and I want her to be happy with her choice. Both schools are good schools. How can we all get through this?


First, I think it is important for you both to define what “best” truly is!  Often times, best is defined by a designer label like and Ivy or Tier I school with a prestigious name.  In my opinion, relying on the label of a school is a false mindset.

While there is no denying that well-known schools can offer an outstanding academic experience, so can less well-known colleges and universities.  The most important part of the college selection process is knowing the students and finding a college that suits them academically, socially, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

IStock_000014240323XSmallThere are so many factors that go into the first step of the college decision making process when crafting a list of potentially suitable schools.  Size, location, outside interests, culture of the campus and of course, the bevy of options the institution offers for you!

If your daughter is majoring in a particular field, a larger research facility may play a more significant role.  Smaller colleges may provide more one on one attention that your daughter may thrive on.

Lastly, given our economy  one would be smart to consider internship or networking opportunities at the school they are considering as well as the percentage of fellowships for graduates.  Most importantly, help your daughter weigh her options for herself with both parents lovingly offering guidance, support and open communication.  You can then narrow the choices together when considering cost or factoring financial aid.  There are over 4,000 colleges in the US alone, “best” is just an indicator of a publicized ranking, “best” for your daughter is what really counts!

Dorine Russo is an independent college admissions counselor and founder of The Collegeologist.