Being a parent you want to be involved in your teen's college decision process, but at the same time you want to refrain from taking over and choosing for them. Here are four ways you can help your teen while not being controlling:
1. Visit colleges
Arguably, the most effective way to learn if a college is right for your student is to actually visit it. Unfortunately, depending on the college, planning a visit can be challenging. But, if you can afford the time and money, it is definitely worth the investment as doing this can help your teen immensely with their college decision. Alternatively, you could reach out to a student from a college you or your teen are interested in, and learn about what it's like going to college there.
2. Discuss Finances
This process is a great time for a conversation about finances with your teen. Talking about costs will help them view their education as an investment with financial implications, regardless of means. Talk about the main costs associated with College such as tuition and housing, and how student debt loan is a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously.
3. Know your student
Some teens can be more independent than others, but regardless, if you are a parent reading this post then you are likely one of the people who knows your teen the best. Whether they are being unrealistic or leaning towards a college for the wrong reasons, teens may sometimes get carried away with their college planning. Knowing your teen's likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses, you are able to offer a unique, effective perspective that may help your teen stay realistic and responsible about their college goals and decisions.
4. Communicate Effectively
Communicating effectively not only refers to sharing your opinions with your teen, but also listening to and trying your best to understand theirs's. This can be a very stressful process for your teen, so establishing trust and open lines of communication early on, can serve both of you well. Providing this support may require patience, but its worth it if it means your teen will share more with you about the process and their thinking, which will enable you to help them more.
Ultimately, it's your teen's responsibility to choose their college, but by doing the things above, you can help reduce their stress, consider the right things, and make the smartest choice.