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90 percent of parents choose their kids' colleges on the web

Dave_BerryDave_Berry Posts: 1,315CC Admissions Expert Senior Member
edited November 2012 in Parents Forum
"Nearly all parents (90 percent) researching colleges and universities for their kids are turning to the web for information, according to a recent survey from a number of market research groups.

Of the surveyed parents, 82 percent said they plan to play a pivotal role in helping their children make the final decision about college. Only 17 percent said they will entrust their child to make that decision independently." ...

>>Only 17 percent said they will entrust their child to make that decision independently.<<

Are you among that 17 percent?

90 percent of parents choose their kids' colleges on the web
Post edited by Dave_Berry on
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Replies to: 90 percent of parents choose their kids' colleges on the web

  • PhilovitistPhilovitist Posts: 2,737Registered User Senior Member
    The poll is poorly framed.
  • HImomHImom Posts: 18,988Registered User Senior Member
    We're in the 17%. Happy with the choices our kids made--they were as well. One thing that was a surprise to us & a friend (but in ways probably shouldn't have been) is that even though older sib got great merit award at the private U he attended, younger sib was accepted but NO merit award at all. Didn't have heart to tell younger sib she couldn't attend, but full freight has been a stretch!

    Extremely small sample size for the survey--less than 500 people & likely a great deal of self-selection.
  • BCEagle91BCEagle91 Posts: 22,762Registered User Senior Member
    I offered our son full-pay private vs cheap state U. He chose cheap state U.

    Daughter let me make the choice for her.
  • Sue22Sue22 Posts: 2,322Registered User Senior Member
    I think it's the reporting of the poll that's at fault. Here's the original study:

    https://www.noellevitz.com/documents/shared/Papers_and_Research/2008/EExpCirclingOverEnrollment08.pdf

    The results referenced:

    • I am helping with some of the research and paperwork 56%
    • My student is doing most of the research and paperwork 30%
    • I am doing most of the research and paperwork 13%

    Who will make the final decision?
    • We will discuss the options and agree upon a particular school 82%
    • It will be completely up to my student 17%
    • I will make the decision for my student 1%

    IOW, a parent who fills out FA information (necessary for the majority of students), or who discusses affordability with their student is counted as "choosing their kid's college". This was not what the original study reported. My child has already asked my opinion and that of DH on his choice of ED school. The ultimate choice will be up to him but we did give him our input.
  • allyphoeallyphoe Posts: 733Registered User Member
    Also, "I'm helping with some" is not inconsistent with "my student is doing most." The first choice would better be phrased as "my student and I are doing equal amounts."
  • toledotoledo Posts: 4,156Registered User Senior Member
    I can't imagine deciding on a school WITHOUT the internet. I guess there could be some students who grow up knowing they want to attend Big State U. Count me in the 56% doing research, as I happen to believe it's very important and very time consuming. My kids gave me ideas of what they wanted. This changed over the months and after several campus tours. Count me in the 17%, where my students made the final decision.
  • SteveMASteveMA Posts: 6,079Registered User Senior Member
    HImom--according to the poll you are not in the 17% or you would not be here :D.

    I don't know where we fit. Our kids came up with the kinds of colleges they wanted, size, location, programs, etc., I did most of the online research finding schools that met their criteria, they looked at those results and gave the thumbs up, thumbs down. We visited their top choices together. We sat down with them and figured out how much we were willing to pay for college, they picked which schools to apply to based on that. DD will be making her final choice tonight. She applied to 9 schools and has to pick today (recruited athlete)-waiting for the numbers from one last school. She has 5 schools within the acceptable dollar range. Her #1 is not our #1 for her (the school we are waiting on). The final choice will come down to money. That isn't an option on the poll.

    Unless a student does all of their own research and there are no restrictions financially and the parent just signs the check each fall, no family fits in the 17%.
  • atomomatomom Posts: 3,578Registered User Senior Member
    Students can make the final decision--but that decision is strictly limited to colleges that their parents/they/scholarships/FA can/will pay for. (And where they applied/got accepted). A very small decision for my kids--with plenty of parent participation and veto power.
    IMO, very few college decisions (except for independent adults returning to school) are "completely up to the student."
    Even "allowing" a student to attend a financial stretch school is participating in the decision--the student is hoping parents will say YES/agree to pay, but parents COULD say NO in this situation.
  • geeps20geeps20 Posts: 3,250- Senior Member
    My S chose and merit aid was a significant factor for him, even though we told him we could afford whatever he chose. It was good feeling knowing we didn't raise a spoiled entitled brat.
  • psych_psych_ Posts: 1,418Registered User Senior Member
    Although I did the vast majority of the college search and application process myself--my parents even refused to give me a ballpark figure re: finances, so I had to aim low and guess-I can't imagine why anyone would make that decision without consulting their family, if they have the option. I mean, I still ask my parents for ocassional career and life advice--IMO, consulting with friends, family, mentors, etc., before making a major life decision is mature, not coddled.
  • whenhenwhenhen Posts: 4,123Registered User Senior Member
    I find it hard to believe that any parent whose child is considering more than just the community college wouldn't discuss the various college options. It's irresponsible to let a non financially independent child make up to a $250,000 decision without some sort of discussion about the various strengths of a school and other things the money could go towards.

    Even most people in the 1% would probably discuss costs with their kids before signing the check. Unless this survey sampled only the parents of Andover Prep, I don't trust its findings
  • LakeCloudsLakeClouds Posts: 560Registered User Member
    Choosing which colleges to apply to is an incredibly complicated process for an adult no less for a teenager. I wonder how well a job those students who don't have support are able to do?

    In terms of using the web for information, not sure why this is such a big finding in 2012. Maybe in 2002 it would be newsworthy. Of course people use the web, but visiting the school is a must especially before making a final decision.
  • annasdadannasdad Posts: 4,825Registered User Senior Member
    I did the basic research for my D, based on criteria she specified. (Had to teach Russian, no more than six hours away - real easy criteria). Came up with a list of about a dozen schools, after eliminating a few where she stood no realistic chance of admission. DW and I set a budget as to how much we could contribute. From that point on, D made the decisions, and the final choice was hers. As it happens, I agree with the decision she made, but even had I not, I believe that it's her life and she's entitled to make her own important decisions about it.
  • glidoglido Posts: 5,082Registered User Senior Member
    Unless you have a really rich kid, parents have to be in on the decision. Would you just let your kid go to the autoplex and pick out any car, if you had to pay for it?
  • HImomHImom Posts: 18,988Registered User Senior Member
    We told S that we needed him to get significant merit aid if he didn't want to go to in-state flagship. We also told him he could try applying to dream Us, just to see what would happen if he wanted to, but we weren't sure we could afford it even if he were accepted. We were happy he ended up going to a school he enjoyed WITH significant merit award--he chose to summarily toss acceptances that didn't provide significant merit awards without any discussion. Even with the award, his college expenses were significant, since he attended an OOS private U.
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