Advice for Parents of Teens During the College Search

It’s a grueling time to be a parent of a high school student when you’re helping your child or student look for the right college. Picking colleges to apply to can be a daunting task, but what else should you keep in mind when helping your teen search? We’ve compiled a list of some items you may not think of during your college search.

Don’t worry if your teen doesn’t know his/her major yet.
Your teenager might be struggling with knowing what he or she wants to do as a career. That’s okay! Make sure your teen picks a school that’s strong in any of the areas that interest him or her. The first year is their time to explore those areas of interest and try to connect with one or two that will give them the opportunity to succeed and feel confident.

Check out more than just the campus.
It’s always important to make sure the campus is in a good location, is safe and feels right for your teenager. However, also look into the resources that the school offers out side of good professors and accolades. Consider things like:

  • Is there a good clinic on campus for health/safety?
  • What extracurriculars can your teen get involved in? Intramurals, networking, volunteering, etc.
  • What is the alumni network like?
  • What if your teen is struggling academically? Where can they go?

Save and teach your teen to save.
Talk to a financial advisor about what options your teen has for paying for school. The more information the better. If you are fortunate enough to save for your child’s school, explore what that looks like for you and your family.

On the flip side, encourage your teen to put money away from a high school job, if they have one. When they get to campus, if their course load allows them to get an on-campus job, encourage them to do so. Last, help them set budgetary guidelines before they get to school. This will help them set boundaries and prevent them from signing up for that credit card they think is a great idea!

Explore all your options for scholarships.
There are scholarships for almost everything! High school involvement, nationality, race/ethnicity, religion and more. Help your teen apply for as much as they can. A little bit goes a long way and those big textbooks are expensive!

We know, it’s a big task and an even bigger decision – probably the biggest your teen has ever made! Take it one step at a time. Start with one school and evaluate how you’re both feeling. It doesn’t all need to be decided in one day.

Our college coach has been through the college admissions process thoroughly. She hosts workshops and private strategy sessions with parents and teens. If you are struggling with this process, contact us for a consultation. We’re happy to help.