right arrow
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: ak2018 is a rising junior at Virginia Tech having transferred from George Mason University. He'll answer any question, including about his studies abroad or his research at NASA. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our July Checklists for HS Juniors and HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

Common versus uncommon parental restrictions on college choices


Replies to: Common versus uncommon parental restrictions on college choices

  • EllieMomEllieMom 1872 replies11 threads Senior Member
    @amiable wrote: The only real restriction we put on our sons was that EVERY SINGLE SCHOOL on the final list had to be one that they would be willing to attend if that school's financial package was the best

    That's ours, too. Exactly.
    · Reply · Share
  • awcntdbawcntdb 3553 replies0 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    @calmom - Our simple way of taking tests off the table, as deciding factors in their applications, and so that they fully understood the required standardized tests for admissions are serious deals. In the end, the restriction did not matter though - their scores were above the 50% mark of even the very top Ivys, so they were good to apply anywhere.
    edited May 2014
    · Reply · Share
  • MomzieMomzie 817 replies29 threads Member
    No school where the majority of your classes will be big lecture classes. They are a waste of time. (I was a grad student at an R1 university and know from personal experience how little many of these professors care about teaching undergraduates.)
    · Reply · Share
  • austinareadadaustinareadad 653 replies18 threads Member
    This may not be a very popular stand, but from the beginning I told my S that I would pay for him to go wherever I could afford on the condition that I could restrict what he could major in. He accepted that condition without an argument. I did agree that if he double-majored he could pick any for one as long as I had veto power over the other, and that seems to be where we are headed.
    · Reply · Share
  • awcntdbawcntdb 3553 replies0 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    @austinareadad - I bet you there are many a "basket weaving" major parents who now wish they took your approach.

    If it works for your family, who is anyone to complain? It not like you are beating him. Plus, you know your kid much better than we do.

    One thing I can guarantee - he is thrilled his college is being paid for. He is hearing the debt stories and that one major seems like an awesome, cheap alternative to debt.
    edited May 2014
    · Reply · Share
  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom 5668 replies338 threads Senior Member
    My kids must apply to one instate safety as an emergency backup. I also nixed d's idea of majoring in parks and rec. D is a high stats kid and I'm not paying for her to have a four year long summer camp experience! She's welcome to take some parks and rec type classes for electives but she needs to major in something that has a reasonable chance of getting a year round job that's above minimum wage.
    · Reply · Share
  • ordinarylivesordinarylives 3212 replies45 threads Senior Member
    Well, one restriction was that the kid had to visit the college before applying. The second was that the price had to be under $X.

    However, after years in TRIO, I have seen every restriction on @ucbalumnus‌ 's list, with 2and 4 being the most common.

    You have to be close to home or live at home--very common in low income families, and especially among the women in certain ethnic groups. The parents depend on the college student to help with things like picking up and watching younger sibs after school or on the income from the college student's part-time job. Sometimes, there is fear of a student not having the family structure to control behavior. This is very difficult when the student's family obligations prevent studying.

    You must major in (usually business or something medical). I hate this one the most, especially when mom and dad won't give up premed, not understanding that 1 it's not a major and 2 the 2.8 at the end of year one would indicate junior isn't going to have the grades to get into med school anyway. A kid who hates accounting isn't going to make a good accountant.

    I wish more of my students were more price aware. But their parents sometimes feel they'll make a whole lot of money just by graduation and are willing to go deeply in debt for a social work degree. Then again, my students' families are very different from the typical cc family
    · Reply · Share
  • planner03planner03 1335 replies24 threads Senior Member
    1. I wish affordability wasn't an issue, but unfortunately it is. Although I am not prohibiting S from applying to his top choice, Cornell, I have told him early and often we will NOT pay their price and his only way around it is to gain admission to another Ivy with better aid. (which Cornell will then match) The .ball is in his court.
    2. I placed no geography restrictions, S placed his own.
    3. S has placed his own prestige parameters.
    4. It has never, ever crossed my mind to dictate a major.

    Well, now that I think about it I guess I'm not much of a helicopter parent after all! Discussions are almost daily at this point, and I give my opinions but I feel that the choices are really for him to make. I am not really of the "bloom where planted" camp. Maybe I am just a bad gardener, but I have experienced a lot of less desirable outcomes!
    · Reply · Share
  • calmomcalmom 20885 replies168 threads Senior Member
    @awcntdb‌ -- Sorry, I'm still confused:

    I understand this part:
    so that they fully understood the required standardized tests for admissions are serious deals.
    That makes sense as a motivator -- before the test scores are in -- but if a kid put in their best effort and their scores still fell short ..... then it seems to me that the student is being penalized. (Assuming that grades and other stats are within range for the target school, even if their test scores aren't at the top for that school).

    But I don't understand this:
    Our simple way of taking tests off the table, as deciding factors in their applications

    It seems to me that the rule does just the opposite -- it turns the tests as to the absolute deciding factor. I'm not sure where my daughter could have applied other than absolute safeties with that rule - though also have no clue as to how one would determine top 50%. (The CDS data shows the 50% mid range, so it is easy to determine top 75% level -- but it could take a lot of digging through the data to figure where the 50% mark was -- unless you are just acting on the assumption that it is the mid-way point of the 50% range -- which would be a reasonable but likely mistaken assumption. Though I suppose that if you are just trying to create an arbitrary cut off point, it doesn't matter.
    their scores were above the 50% mark of even the very top Ivys, so they were good to apply anywhere.
    That's fine for you -- it means that you had a "rule" that meaningless -- (though again, I'm puzzled as to how you determine that 50% mark, unless you mean instead that you wanted the scores to be within the 50% mid-range.

    But for all of the other kids -- outside the realm of those who absolutely need to be seeking out merit aid --that seems like a rule essentially forces students to apply only to safeties and low matches. For kids whose SAT scores are significantly higher than their GPA's, that might be good parental planning -- those parents might realize that the kid could wind up in a college that is beyond their capabilities if they managed to get into reach colleges based on scores that outpaced their grades.

    But for the others -- those who do not have Ivy-quality scores and whose scores are either a good match for the GPA or whose GPA's (and other stats/accomplishments) were stronger than test scores -- then that rule would tend to force the kids into safety schools that would be unlikely to challenge them or provide room for growth.

    So that's why I asked the question: why a rule that limits the student to safeties? Obvious the Ivies are not safeties for anyone -- but lets say the student has SAT's of around 1300 / 1950. The schools where those scores are top of range are by definition going to be far less selective, and much more likely the places where the higher scores pretty much guarantee admission.

    I can see a parent who does want their kid at an absolute safety for other reasons --for example, if the kid has medical or mental health problems, or a learning disability - some kids really do need to get their educations in a low-stress and nurturing environment -- but obviously that wasn't your rationale.

    I can also see your rule making a lot of sense to limit the number of reaches - to help ensure that the college list is not top-heavy with reaches and to force a kid to seriously look at and consider safeties -- but in that case I'd be inclined to frame the rule differently - "at least # schools where the test scores are above average". (I did refuse to pay the application fee for an Ivy that I was certain fell in "not-a-chance" territory for my daughter; she got a waiver, applied, and was rejected ... so I was right to want to save my money on that -- but I certainly wouldn't have made that determination on test scores alone)
    · Reply · Share
  • SlackerMomMDSlackerMomMD 3085 replies9 threads Senior Member
    So far, no restrictions on location, majors, test scores, prestige.

    Cost is a limitation but D is free to apply to a college knowing that we can only provide X dollars per year.
    · Reply · Share
  • EllieMomEllieMom 1872 replies11 threads Senior Member
    @planner03 's description and approach reflects ours pretty well, I think. We didn't hand down a lot of a restrictions or edicts, we discussed criteria and impressions and what's important and why. D has a very clear sense of what she's looking for, and she's quite good at researching and analyzing costs and benefits of her alternatives. She's in the driver's seat when it comes to her college search, and I'm impressed with how sensible she is. But, for us, it's an ongoing dialogue.
    · Reply · Share
  • sevmomsevmom 8865 replies62 threads Senior Member
    We were willing to pay the equivalent of instate tuition. If either kid wanted a school above that cost, they were free to search for merit or take out loans to make up the difference. They both settled on instate schools, mostly because they liked their instate options and I don't think either wanted to do the work to pursue merit or take out additional loans. We had no restriction on what major we would pay for . Neither expressed any interest in going far away (all the schools either had any real interest in were within a 6 hour drive) but if they had, additional travel cost would have been factored in.
    · Reply · Share
  • SlitheyToveSlitheyTove 6187 replies161 threads Senior Member
    When D2 first started her list of possibles, there were a couple of schools that we thought would be a bad fit--one is tiny with few majors, the other works for students who can set their own goals and stick to them clearly without much guidance, which wouldn't be D2 (or most students--there's a very low graduation in 6 years rate at that school). In D2's case, it made much more sense to wait and see if she would keep them on the list or not rather than give a flat-out "no". One simply fell out of contention when she realized she didn't need it as a safety. The other fell out of favor after a visit. But if they hadn't, interesting to consider what we would've done if she'd wanted to go somewhere that we really felt didn't fit her at all.
    · Reply · Share
  • nickxxnickxx 142 replies11 threads Junior Member
    edited May 2014
    My parents didn't give my any restrictions necessarily, because they know that I will ultimately attend whichever college I choose. They did tell me that they would prefer me to go to a certain school but they were willing to pay for any school that I can get into as long as it's prestigious and challenging enough for me. I'm also not allowed to attend any schools that aren't either top 20 in my major or top 30 total
    edited May 2014
    · Reply · Share
  • frazzled1frazzled1 5611 replies247 threads Senior Member
    Affordability was our only stated restriction. Our kids knew what we could afford, and that we would not co-sign loans for them. We didn't restrict them geographically. Though each chose a school several hundred miles from home, none of them looked at schools on the opposite coast, nor even 1,000 miles away. Had they been interested in schools that far away, I don't know how we'd have felt ..... but I think we'd have been okay with it as long as the school fit into our budget.

    We didn't restrict majors, either. All of them chose majors they liked and could perform well in, and all have found employment in their fields (only one is in a STEM field, btw). I don't know how we'd have felt if they wanted to major in something exotic, and I'm thankful we never had to find out.
    · Reply · Share
  • CorinthianCorinthian 1808 replies63 threads Senior Member
    In our case we have been the ones pushing D to expand her list a little. In doing so, I have been conscious of how easy it is to fly to the school location. I've told D that I'd prefer she not go somewhere if it takes a 2-stop plane flight plus a lengthy car ride to get there. The other thing I've paid attention to is whether the school social life seems to be heavily dependent on Greek life.
    · Reply · Share
  • giterdonegiterdone 1398 replies12 threads Senior Member
    < 500 miles from home
    > 80% freshman retention rate
    > 50% 4 year grad rate
    · Reply · Share
  • picklechicken37picklechicken37 775 replies13 threads Member
    Student here. Going to college next year.

    I think it is interesting because my situation is the opposite of most of yours in a way (meaning I was concerned about money while my parents wanted me to go to my first choice- we could definitely afford either option).

    My parents wanted me to go somewhere where I would have fun, but learn and do well. They put no restrictions on me for applying,except for applying to a state flagship10 minutes away in case crazy things happened and I needed to be close to home. They ended up supporting what I wanted to do most of the way. I applied to schools all around the country. I visited most of them, and made sure I liked them before I applied. I also made sure to have a balanced list. I also did not apply to their alma mater, if that interests anyone.

    But making the actual decision was interesting. They wanted me to go to what was my dream school (for like a few years) and they also loved the school, but we would have been pretty much paying full price. I also got into a top LAC that was closer to home (although distance does not bother me). This school gave me a very large merit scholarship and a guaranteed research internship with a stipend, so I was more in support of that. Ended up choosing the more expensive dream school because the LAC couldn't quite satisfy what I wanted for research, and did not have as strong of a program. I also thought I would have more fun at the dream school. It has a football culture (my family loves college football, so that was actually a factor) and great school spirit. It is also very well regarded and has an incredible alumni network. It also has nice religious values.

    I think we made the right choice, but I was still hesitant about the cost, even though I know for a fact we can afford it without much of a problem.

    We also considered my state flagship because it is great for my major and gets a ton of research funding, but we decided it was not a good fit for me, and way too big. So fit played a large role too.

    @nickxx I think that is an interesting restriction. What if you don't get into any top 30 schools? Or what if it is not a good fit for you?
    · Reply · Share
  • nickxxnickxx 142 replies11 threads Junior Member
    @picklechicken37 My stats are high enough to get into a lot of top 30 schools. However if I don't get into any top 30 schools there are a few schools that are mediocre as a whole but outstanding in my major(business), such as Indiana bloomington. My parents' reasoning is that they want me to be challenged in college. High school taught me that I'm the type of person who slacks off when I'm not being challenged
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity