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Involving Your Parents in Your College Search

In addition to resources like Fastweb and your school counselors, there is always help to be found from your parents.

Brady Keane

December 22, 2014

Involving Your Parents in Your College Search
Choosing between colleges is certainly one of the hardest parts of senior year for many students, as it is hard to narrow down your college list. However, in addition to resources like Fastweb and your school counselors, there is always help to be found from your parents. We all know that our parents can be annoying sometimes, especially in the process of something so stressful, but their experiences at college can, at the very least, help you know what to look for on your college visits.

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Alternately, if your parents did not attend college, they still have helpful insight to share. You may want to ask questions about experiences they regret missing or wished they could have experienced. Although your parents can be helpful, it is important to remember that the ultimate decision is yours. However, here are some different questions you can ask your parents to at least have a basis to go off of when beginning your search for the right college.
1. What was your deciding factor?

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It’s true that everyone will have a different key reason for deciding their college, but it will help to know what your parents used as the turning point in their decision making process. What was the single most important part in their decision?
2. What did you enjoy most about your college?
Ask your parents what stood out the most in their college experience? Was it the student life? The professors? The athletic department? What made their experience while at college so special?

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3. What did you not like about college?
It’s definitely important to take both sides into consideration… You cannot overlook the negatives. Ask your parents what they hated in their four years away from home.
4. What was missing in college?
Try and find out if there was anything they wish they would have had at the college they attended. This can also be important in helping you determine your own college decision. These are just a few questions to get you started in a college talk with your parents, but it is important to remember that you need to make your college decision based on what is best for you. As you go talk to your parents, make a list of questions you have about a particular college that you can ask while on a visit. It will also help to make a checklist of things that you would want to find in the perfect college for you. At the end of the day, your parents can provide a lot of wisdom on a cloudy subject that might have you stressed out towards the end of the first semester of school. However, if you can make a checklist and talk it through with your parents, you will be in a better position to narrow down your own decision. If your parents did not attend college, they’re opinions can still offer lots of insight into what they feel they missed out on. You can use these and apply them to your search as well. Remember, ultimately, these answers pertain to their college wishes and not your own. Your college decision is your own and not theirs! Think about asking questions like the following:
1. What type of college experiences do you think students benefit from the most?
As a high school senior, it can be hard to determine which collegiate experiences benefit a student with away at college. Though they did not attend college themselves, your parents will undoubtedly have a bank of knowledge regarding experiences they missed over the years. Ask your parents to share this information with you, and find out what they would like to see you be involved in as a college student.
2. What do you think I should look for in a college? What should I avoid?
Your parents, whether they attended college or not, will certainly have their own opinions that they would be interested in sharing with you. Surprise them by asking their advice on aspects you should and should not look for – even if they’ve already offered it up. It’s a different story when you seek out information, and they might offer you more in-depth answers as well.
3. If you could travel back in time, which type of college would you choose? Why?
Gain insight into what type of school your parents would have attended. Many students attend a parent’s alma mater, though it’s certainly not required. It may be useful to learn which type of school your parents would have gone to, had they attended college. Their answers could help lead your search in the right direction.
4. What do you feel you missed out on most in not getting “the college experience?”
As someone who did not attend college, your parents are in a unique position to give advice on the lack of the college experience. Whether they regret not attending college or not, ask them to share what they wish they could have experienced. Again, their answers will help give you a place to start in your own search.

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