Parent College Coach Tip #41: Be the Voice of Reason

Parents, when your child is choosing a college, you need to be a voice of reasonWithout strong parenting and some tough love, your student might make some illogical college choices: going after a name, following a boyfriend/girlfriend, or choosing a college because it’s a party school. Be strong and remember that you are the parent and often they need a slight dose of reality to snap them back into the realization that this decision is an important one and be the voice of reason..

Here are the three components of a logical college list: reach schools, best fit schools, and safety schools.

Following a name—the dream team

So many students believe that attending a college with a “name” guarantees success. It’s your job to help them understand this is not necessarily true. The best college is the college that fits their academic, social and financial goals. It could be a “name”, but it most likely won’t. Those colleges have low acceptance rates and give little financial aid. I’m all for dreaming but when it comes to a college list, practicality and logic reign.

Following the money—the best bets

The colleges that populate this part of the list are colleges that would put your student at the top of the applicant pool. Of all the reasons, this is the most logical. After careful research, these colleges should be ones that offer everything on your student’s list: financial aid, academic fit, and an emotional connection. It’s not all about the money, but it sure does make the final decision easier.

Following a whim—the sure things

So many students add colleges on a whim just because they can’t decide. This happens more often than not when choosing the safety schools or sure things. These colleges could end up being the colleges that accept them and/or give them the most financial aid. Discuss the choices and make sure that these colleges are colleges your student wants to attend. It will relieve pressure and stress if they offer admission.

Turning illogical choices into logical ones is a delicate balance. Guiding your student in the right direction without forcing is the key. It’s easy—about as easy as threading a camel through the eye of a needle.

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