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A Parent’s Place in The College Quest

CCEdit_TorreyCCEdit_Torrey Editor Posts: 141 Editor
Dave Berry explores how involved parents should be in the college application process: https://www.collegeconfidential.com/articles/a-parents-place-in-the-college-quest/
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Replies to: A Parent’s Place in The College Quest

  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 1,702 Senior Member
    I agree @ucbalumnus that there should be full disclosure ahead of time so there is no misunderstanding if a student will have to take out loans and what that will mean to them in the future. I have seen a few kids get into their top choice with barely any aid and now are buried in debt. The parents let them apply everywhere they wanted without fully explaining that there were just some choices they couldn't afford. Now one friend is over 100K in debt. And they had good instate options. This needs to be worked out ahead of time.
  • lvvcsflvvcsf Registered User Posts: 2,234 Senior Member
    It agree. The first responsibility is to determine what you as parents are willing to contribute to to y our child's education. Since the process has evolved so much since we were applying to universities I think it necessary to understand how things work and are different in regards to cost, standards, processes such as common application etc. Underestimating the cost of college, and not understanding how financial aid and merit aid work make it difficult to determine what may be realistic when your child applies to colleges. I don't think parents need to be involved with choosing colleges beyond ensuring your child has a good safety unless they want your input.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,449 Senior Member
    In my opinion, the parents' primary responsibility is to know their child & to listen to his or her concerns.

    Beyond this first, and most important, duty is to make sure that the student is aware of the different types of applications--rolling admission, SCEA, EA, ED & RD--and their implications.

    Financial concerns next. Third, not first.

    But involvement of parents in the college application process should have begun many years before by encouraging healthy study & lifestyle habits.
  • lvvcsflvvcsf Registered User Posts: 2,234 Senior Member
    edited January 9
    "In my opinion, the parents' primary responsibility is to know their child & to listen to his or her concerns.

    I agree with this.

    "Beyond this first, and most important, duty is to make sure that the student is aware of the different types of applications--rolling admission, SCEA, EA, ED & RD--and their implications.

    Financial concerns next. Third, not first."

    I think it's important for parents to understand all aspects of the process for the purpose of being able to discuss the financial side of this decision. There are legitimate reasons for applying SCEA, EA, ED or RD or rolling admissions for that matter and I think understanding them is important. However, I don't see it as more important than the student understanding the financial situation. How a student chooses to apply will directly be related to their financial constraints. For a student to attend a university two things need to happen, they need to be accepted and it needs to be affordable. The first part is on them, the parent is normally going to play a huge part in the second.

    "But involvement of parents in the college application process should have begun many years before by encouraging healthy study & lifestyle habits."

    I agree with this with one addition. I think it's important that the student want to attend college rather than feel it's expected. I think the desire can be nourished more so than created.



  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,449 Senior Member
    @ucbalumnus : I think that you have misinterpreted my post above.
  • natty1988natty1988 Registered User Posts: 148 Junior Member
    How much parents should be involved depends on the parent and the student. Some kids need a lot more parental involvement then others. That said I don't think parents should be uninvolved either. Parents need to be clear about the financial aspect and if the kid is expected to take out loans, get scholarships, work, etc. All in all there is no one size fits all solution...
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,449 Senior Member
    @ucbalumnus : Maybe my post above will be more clear if I had included the fourth step = apply to schools.

    Therefore, the financial discussion has occurred prior to filing applications. I just disagree with college being relegated to primarily being a financial concern. While finances are important, college is first & foremost a life changing educational experience.
  • TheBigChefTheBigChef Registered User Posts: 301 Member
    I have a good friend who took a total hands-off approach with his kid. He ended up going to a good school in a tough major. Both the school and the major were bad fits. He didn’t return sophomore year and is currently taking classes at the local community college. Not the end of the world, and I think things will work out in the end, but I know my friend deeply regrets not getting more involved in process. He feels he could have helped his son better understand what he was getting himself into and perhaps steered him toward a school and major that were better fits.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,064 Senior Member
    edited January 9
    Publisher wrote:
    Therefore, the financial discussion has occurred prior to filing applications. I just disagree with college being relegated to primarily being a financial concern. While finances are important, college is first & foremost a life changing educational experience.

    Most families will have financial limits, so parents should know before the search process (and before determining whether ED is a realistic option) what they are, so that they do not encourage the student in expensive directions and have to back out of any explicit or implied promises later, or send the student to a college where the life-changing experience of huge (co-signed) debt will be the main result.

    For example, try not to be like this parent:

    Summer between 11th and 12th grade: "Money is not a factor in the decision."
    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/1789885-best-schools-for-math-comp-sci-with-undergrad-research.html

    Later, student has been admitted EA to an expensive private school that is his first choice: "The problem is the money." Note that the list in the previous thread was mostly of comparably-expensive schools, with a few less expensive in-state publics.
    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/1866912-need-advice-on-college-choice-etc-p1.html

    Note that the article linked in post #0 barely mentions parental cost limitations at all.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,449 Senior Member
    @ucbalumnus : Again, you are misinterpreting my posts.
  • 1NJParent1NJParent Registered User Posts: 678 Member
    edited January 9
    I never get involved in my kid's schoolwork (other than advises on course selections, and topics outside and beyond his HS curriculum), but I do get involved in his college search and planning. I know some kids do that on their own, but I don't think kids in HS have the necessary knowledge and experiences to navigate the convoluted world of college admissions. Has the process become overly complicated? Absolutely yes.
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