Tips For Choosing The Right College For Your Child

Are you confused about how to choose the right college for your child while, at the same time, being supportive of his decisions? Here are some tips from an expert to help you out.

By Shashwathi Sandeep

Tips For Choosing The Right College For Your Child

The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think. – Albert Einstein

The college your child chooses will decide what his future will look like. So, as a parent, you are bound to be extra cautious in choosing the right one. As much as the parent in you wants to support him and guide him in this decision, the final say should be of your child. After all, college is the place where he is going to spend the next few years of his life. So, how do you help him and still give him the space to make your own decisions? We tell you what you can do.

To begin with, here are some factors you should consider while choosing a college for your child. Be sure to involve her at every stage of your decision.

Factors parents should consider

Quality of education:

First and foremost, you should look for the quality of education imparted by the institution, their teaching methodology and past performance of the students. You can possibly go on a college tour along with your child and see for yourself how the lecturers are, meet current students and get their opinions. If it is a foreign university that your teen wants to look at, then you can get in touch with the admissions department and get all your queries answered. Also, don't forget to inquire about the student-teacher ratio. It plays a crucial role in the quality of education he would get.

Finances:

This is one of the most critical decisions while trying to decide on a college for your child. Education is expensive, but you must not exceed your budget and choose a college you can afford. Talk to your child about your financial decisions. If she wants to go to a college outside your limitations, ask her to apply for student scholarships and loans.

Infrastructure:

College is mostly about academics, but without the proper infrastructure to support it, the learning process might not be as effective. While you are deciding on the colleges, be sure to check the classroom hygiene, the labs, open spaces, safety features, and so on.

Extra-curricular activities:

College life is not complete without some extra-curricular activities to enhance your child’s creativity. The activities could relate to music, dance, drama or sports. But, make sure that the college she is going to has classes on all the activities that she is interested in. If she is good at any of the activities, she can consider pursuing it professionally, as well.

Location:

Be sure to choose a college, which offers all the facilities you want and is also close to home. If travelling to the college takes a lot of time, your child will be exhausted before he even reaches college.

Once you are done shortlisting the colleges based on the above considerations, help your child decide on the best by asking him these questions.

Questions parents must ask their child

  • Why does he want to pursue the course?
  • Does the course interest her?
  • Is there anybody who has influenced him to opt for this course?
  • How does she think the course will help her as an individual?
  • Does he think the course would be able to get him a better job in future?
  • Does she want to study here or abroad?
  • If he wants to study abroad, what are his plans to financially support his education, in case you are not able to afford it?
  • What kind of extra-curricular activities does he want to pursue?

Once, you have received satisfactory answers from your child, both of you can start looking at colleges. However, at this stage, you may get confused with the options available to you and make mistakes. Rohit Manglik, CEO, EduGorilla, an online career guidance platform for students in Lucknow, gives tips on what parents should do.

Tips for parents

Visit the campus more than once prior to admission

Most parents just visit the college once before their child’s admission. This might make them take a decision based on incomplete information. Multiple visits to the campus will make parents more aware of different aspects of the college.

Don’t judge by what you see

All parents want to choose a technically well-equipped college for their wards. But they shouldn’t forget that appearance at times can be deceiving. They should ensure that the college employs the latest technologies and connectivity options. They need to talk to the teachers as much as they can, to get a better idea of their teaching pedagogy.

Ask many questions

Parents shouldn't be hesitant to ask a lot of questions to college authorities, like how they will support the child academically, emotionally and socially.

Ensure that the college focusses on extra-curricular activities

A good college lays equal emphasis on their academic performance as well as on their extra-curricular activities. Many times, parents choose a college based on its academic record, and don’t pay attention to the extra-curricular activities conducted there.

Do not be influenced by anyone

A parent’s goal should be to find the right college for their child, depending on his interests and choices. Most of the times, parents are influenced by the advice given by friends and relatives. Figure out what the child needs and select a college based on those needs.

“Parents should keep in mind that finding a perfect college for their child can be a difficult task. To make it easy, they should try to analyse the most important metrics for every college on their list rather than analysing each metric. It should not be about picking the best college but picking the best college for their child,” Rohit points out.

Parent speak:

It was very difficult to choose a college for our daughter. She wanted to go to a college where most of her friends were, though we knew that college was not right for her. We then took her on a tour of that college where she met the teachers and the students. She then decided not to join that college. The final decision was hers. – Sneha Jha, Chennai
My son wanted to live separately, near his college. At first, we were apprehensive as to how he would manage. But, he was firm in his stand and stated that he would behave responsibly. So, we supported his decision. He learnt to manage very well on his own. I feel that was one of the best decisions we made as parents too. – Parvati Limbekar, Bengaluru 

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