It is never too early to begin thinking about the college search journey. It is easy to become overwhelmed by this process if you do not have a guide to help you sort through the options. Here are three ways that you can help your teen narrow down their college options so that they can find the perfect choice for their needs:
Know Their Interests
While it is understandable that your child might not know exactly what they are going to want to major in when they get to college, it is a good idea to narrow down some possible fields of study. Knowing their interests will help to guide your search as you look for colleges that offer the best schools for their needs. So although you want to focus on the university as a whole, it is also vital to look at the individual schools and departments as they relate to your teen’s interests and possible career paths.
Once you have narrowed down your teen’s interests, you can begin to conduct a methodical search. Be sure to search around and keep in mind that colleges tend to be competing for the highest ranking on Google by working off of ranking factors. Thus, it is important that you factor in the specific elements that are important to your student. High school guidance counselors, the internet, and college fairs are all good resources as you begin to wade through the mountain of data and rankings.
Consider Their Personality
Even if a school is the best academic fit for your child, it may not be the best personality fit. If your child does not feel that they fit in at the school, you may be setting your student up for heartbreak after a short time on campus. For this reason, it is important to critically consider your child’s individual personality and how it will meld with the vibe of the school, campus, and overall student body. Ask questions about the campus culture and extracurricular activities. For example, kids who like to socialize with smaller groups of friends may prefer a more intimate classroom setting. Or students who value a big-time athletics experience will probably enjoy a university that is part of a major conference.
The college search process should not be taken lightly. You do not want your teen to end up in a situation in which they are not happy and then have to start over again the next semester. With the right research, you can find the perfect fit for your teen’s interests.
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