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Seniors: The Importance of Parent Check-Ins

Though talking to your parents about your college choices can be awkward, doing so is very important as it can avoid confusion, frustration, and gets everyone on the same page.

Collegize Weekly Activity:

Talk to your parents about your college plans, interests, and their willingness to help you pay for college.

The College Scoop!

In most cases, students let parents know their plans for college and parents are receptive and supportive. At this point you do not have to have a college list that is set in stone, but you should start having ideas about what types of schools you can Get Into, Get Out of, Afford, match your S.E L.F. interests, and fit with your current Wants/Desires. Refer back to your 20 researched colleges for references to schools that may or may not be best fit for you.

So What Should I Say to my Parents/Family?

Discuss with your family members your college list, why you are interested in certain colleges, and what you were looking for in a college experience. Share what types of schools you feel are your best fit and what led you to make that conclusion. It is still early, so do not worry about having everything figured out. Just share where your head is and what you are thinking about doing. You should also ask your parents how they plan to contribute to your college goals financially. Your family members may have thoughts and opinions of their own about which colleges should or should not be on your college list since they may be providing money. Family members may also ask that you consider adding or removing colleges based on their perspective and interests.

Should I Change my College List Based on the Wants/Desires of my Family?

Talk to your parents about the 5 Factors and remember that some of their recommendations may fall within the Wants/Desires section of the 5 Factors. Assess each of your parents recommendations based on those 5 Factors. First look at whether you can Get In and Get Out of the suggested college. Parents often make really great college suggestions that students may not have thought about but they can also be overly-focused on the Can I Afford It question and do not put enough weight on Getting Out, your S.E.L.F. interests, or your Wants/Desires. Not adding every family member college suggestion to your final college list is fully reasonable if the college does not fit with your ideal of best fit. At the same time, Factor 3 is Can I Afford it and parents play a major role in paying for college. You must balance making a good choice for yourself and financially for your family.

What if my Family Says they Can Not Afford a College?

Parents are often concerned with college costs and minimizing loans and expenses for you and for themselves. Though college cost is important, it is 3rd in determining best fit behind Getting In and Getting Out. Keep in mind the decision to apply to a college is different from the decision to attend that college. If you believe you can get in and graduate from a college in 4 years, It is still worth applying even if affording the college does not seem likely. Getting scholarships, financial aid, grants, and even reasonable student loans is possible to make any college within financial reach. You should not be stopped from applying to a college because of finances. However, if you are not able to secure enough funding to graduate in 4 years with less than $50k in student loans, then affording that college is out of reach and you should not attend even if you get in and believe you can graduate on time.

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