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Six College Selection Tips for Parents

What happens if your child gets accepted to more than one college? Dr. Frank Leana, education director at Howard Green & Associates, offers the following suggestions:

  • Avoid forcing your own preferences. Parents tend to push kids to go to the most prestigious school or the one that is closest to home. It's important for parents to separate their own needs from those of the child.

  • Revisit the schools. Encourage your child to stay overnight, attend classes, and check out the social life. His or her experiences will have more value than the college guidebook's description.

  • Check with alumni. Solicit additional feedback from high school friends who are attending any of the prospective colleges.

  • Trust your child's instincts. If one school feels particularly good, trust that feeling. How a child responds to a certain campus affects his happiness, which affects how successful he will be.

  • Don't make an emotional decision. Encourage your children to make their choices independent of what their friends do. Remind them that they've made many friends in the past and will make more in the future. All students approach college with similar fears, and it is in such times that people come together and form new friendships.

  • Avoid making a decision based solely on cost. Deciding between a state school and a costlier private college should be confronted during the junior year when you begin your research. Remember: A well-endowed private university may offer better financial aid than a state school.
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