My husband and I graduated from Stanford University so our children have been asked all of their lives, “Do you want to go to Stanford?”. I realized when going through the college application process with my first son that while I loved my years at Stanford and would be thrilled if my children went there, what I really wanted for my children was a college experience that they loved. I wanted the best fit college for them.
After helping students navigate the college application process for the last four years, I have determined the following:
3 Things That Every Parent Should Know About Finding the Best Fit College
1. Fit the College to the Child (Not the Child to the College)
In addition to meeting academic requirements, it is important for students to begin to know who they are. Their selection of electives and extracurricular activities should expose them to different experiences.They need to discover their strengths and weaknesses (even straight A students aren’t perfect) as well as their likes and dislikes (parents can’t decide this for them) to be prepared to make decisions about major selection and career path. Lack of focus is a major reason students drop out of college or extend beyond 4 years which can waste both time and money.
2. School Counselors do not do Individualized Research of Colleges
While school counselors may give suggestions, it is the student’s responsibility to do detailed research of the college to see if the college meets all of their needs. In many states (especially here in Arizona where the average ratio is 1 counselor to every 750 students), individualized support is very limited. Furthermore, there are thousands of colleges to choose from and there is no way that a counselor can have direct experience with each of them.
3. Students Need Assistance with College Research
Students have several computerized tools that can assist in the college application process but they lack perspective that comes from experience. Furthermore, they can use emotional support. While students need to take a leadership role, parents and other trusted sources can provide input and review information to ensure that informed decisions are made.
Did you find this helpful? Have you been through the college search process with your child? Let me know your thoughts by commenting. You can also go to facebook or twitter to like and share this information with friends.
Pathways 4 Teens offers services to help students determine the Best Fit College and for parents to help guide students in the process. Contact Miriam at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-999-3892 or Visit www.pathways4teens.com for more details! Also follow us on facebook and twitter for more great information and tips on the college application process!