Choosing which colleges to apply to depends upon two factors. You want to find a school that is the right fit and at the right price. The good news is that there are over 5,000 colleges and universities in the US from which your teen can choose. The bad news is that there are over 5,000 schools from which your teen can choose. How do you narrow it down?
If you are like me, you get overwhelmed just picking out a wall color when there are so many different shades of gray. The thought of helping my teen select an affordable college would make my head explode if I didn’t know the easy way to figure it out and quickly narrow options.
When I work with families to help narrow down their choices, I present them with several questions. Here’s some of what I ask parents and teens when helping them determine a right-fit college:
- What major are you considering?
- What careers do you hope to get with that major?
- How far away from home do you want to be?
- What type of college setting do you prefer?
- What is the ideal school size?
- Is the student good at asking for help?
- Do they excel being surrounded by other bright students in a challenging class or being near the top of a less competitive group?
- Is prestige important?
I ask each family member these questions separately to help determine where some gaps in thinking may lie. With this method, we can have open discussions to figure out the best solutions.
To help find a school at the right price, I inquire about the family’s annual college budget. What is the maximum they are willing to pay? Then my team and I do lots of research. You can’t determine the cost by looking at prices listed on individual college websites. Read my blog, The Cost of College – Sticker Price vs. Net Price, to learn more. Plus, there are all kinds of scholarships available to students that can help lower their net cost. You just need to know what to look for.
I encourage you and your teen to have a discussion using the right fit questions listed above. If they aren’t sure about some of the answers, go on college tours to get a feel for the campus and sit in on some classes. It’s like finding the perfect outfit; you have to try on several to find the one that fits just right. I have several blog posts on college tours if you’d like to check those out.
Does your family need help finding the right fit, right price college for your teen? Schedule a complimentary College Assessment plan call to learn more about our Take Action Package. It includes a customized college planning guide, assistance with college essay writing, and help for your teen to stay on track and gets applications in on time.