Parents' Corner

Parents -- Help or Hindrance in Choosing a College?

As parents, you are a critical part of what your children choose. Here are some ways you can help instead of hinder what is probably the first, most important decision your child will have to make.

Let your child know it's his or her decision, not yours.

Parents should evaluate their own goals for sending their children to college. However, "They need to recognize it's the son or daughter who will be attending the institution, not themselves," advises Carol Loewith, an educational consultant.

Let your child clarify his or her own values.

Parents are responsible for many of their values their children hold. But now that their child is assessing what he or she thinks is important, it's time for parents to step aside and allow the child to stand alone. "Parents can't be objective because they're too invested in their child," suggests Dr. Gary Ripple, Director of Admissions at Lafayette College.

Lead your child to trust his or her own instincts.

Later in life your child will have to rely on his or her own decision own decision- making capability. Now is the time to strengthen that skill. "Even a large expensive decision about college starts with the facts, but the final choice is much more intuitive," says Ripple. Parents have to let their son or daughter know their feelings can be trusted.

Let your child do the lion share of the work.

"When they're dropped off on campus, students are the ones who will have to make college work," Ripple reminds parents.

Brought to you by the American School Counselor Association                                          Source: Charlotte Thomas, Career & Education Editor, Peterson's