Choosing the Right College/University for Your Child

The time comes when every parent has to assist their child in making the right choice of university or college. This all important decision should not be left until the last moment but requires considerable time, thought, and research. When you consider the fact that three to four years of your child’s life plus an investment of thousands of dollars into his/her education is required, it is prudent to get involved as a parent.

So how do you ensure that you’re making the right decision?

The first thing that parents need to do is know your child. You should know what his interests and gifting are. If your child loves the Arts, then you cannot be, or should not be forcing him to pursue the Sciences. You should also know whether or not your teen works best independently or in a group setting; or whether he learns better in a small classroom setting. Is your teen easily distracted and lacks self-discipline or is he focused and disciplined? All these factors will play a major part in your choice of college or university.

Secondly, much research has to be done on the programs that your child is interested in and compare and contrast each college/university’s offering of that program. Which ones are best geared towards his career goals and which subjects are a better fit for what he’s interested in.

Thirdly, cost is usually a significant factor in coming to a decision. Therefore, after narrowing the choices down based on the first two factors, you must compare the cost of your child studying at one particular college as against another. In addition to tuition, your finances will determine whether or not your child can attend a local college/university or one away from home. Can he attend the more expensive Ivy League university or will it be more affordable for him to attend an equally reputable but less expensive one?

Fourthly, it is also a good thing to consider campus spirit as you’d want your teen to enjoy campus life. What clubs does each university/college offer and what opportunities are there for self-development or for community service?

Lastly, it is good to visit the various campuses and get a feel of the environment in which your teen will be. On campus tours, you’ll meet professors and lecturers and hear directly from them on their accessibility.