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Common versus uncommon parental restrictions on college choices

ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 76,633 Senior Member
We know that, for a "traditional" student attending college soon after high school graduation, parents have absolute veto power over the student's college choice, unless the student gets a full ride merit scholarship.

But what actual restrictions do parents tend to place on students' college choices? (Mentioning such restrictions does not necessarily mean approval.)

* Baseline affordability is an obvious restriction. However, we do see lots of sad stories in April from situations where this was not discussed or mentioned until the student has a bunch of acceptances that are too expensive.
* Location appears to be a common one, since it appears that many parents do not want their college student kids to go far from home. Some parents want the student to stay home and commute, even if a more distant school is less expensive overall.
* Parents preferring high prestige colleges is sometimes mentioned, with students complaining of emotional abuse or parental threats to not contribute if they consider a less prestigious college (including anything that could possibly be a safety for admissions, or even if the less prestigious college is a better academic fit for the student).
* Parents restricting the students to specific majors is sometimes mentioned.
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Replies to: Common versus uncommon parental restrictions on college choices

  • moonchildmoonchild Registered User Posts: 3,296 Senior Member
    We had no restrictions- no medical issues or other things that would prevent kid from making a choice.

    Dh and I liked all of the colleges on our kids' lists; they were pickier than we were. One went 3000 miles away, the other went 90 minutes away, yet we saw both of them about the same amount over the four years- although it was certainly easier for the one close to home to come and go over the holidays. Holiday travel is a bear, which is something kids don't often consider or think they'll care about. The kid on the other coast spent two Thanksgivings at school, primarily because travel then is so difficult and time is limited.

    We never considered restricting the kids to certain majors or using prestige as a measure of suitability, but I'm sure both factored into their decisions.
  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 Registered User Posts: 6,751 Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    We set a baseline for the combined SAT M/CR at the top of the mid-range of 1200 minimum.
  • awcntdbawcntdb Registered User Posts: 3,553 Senior Member
    1. We set a restriction early on they could not apply to a school where they were below the 50% of score averages. They had to be at the 50% mark or higher. Turns out both DSs made that moot for all schools, so they could apply wherever. However, that was a limitation they know existed before they took any standardized tests.

    2. We also set the restriction they could not attend a school where they would not be really challenged and engaged academically.
  • HuntHunt Registered User Posts: 26,918 Senior Member
    Some parents don't want their kids to attend the sports arch-enemy of the parents' alma mater.
  • awcntdbawcntdb Registered User Posts: 3,553 Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    ^^ Or to the acknowledged academic rival school of the parents' alma mater. That was never a restriction we set, and my one DS obliged and did just that. But, he went one step further - did not even apply to his parents' alma mater.
  • nervous momnervous mom Registered User Posts: 37 Junior Member
    We also wanted our children to be at the 50% or higher for both M and CR parts of the SAT. If at the 90% or higher, we wanted to see a fair-sized cohort of similar peers, such as might be found in the honors college of a large research university.
  • VSGPeanut101VSGPeanut101 Registered User Posts: 886 Member
    This is tongue in cheek but I've told my daughter she can go anywhere but party schools....for me that's Northwestern (I'm a u of c alum) and Duke (too much lax-bro culture).
  • SlymladySlymlady Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    No community college
  • awcntdbawcntdb Registered User Posts: 3,553 Senior Member
    edited May 2014
  • Irishmomof2Irishmomof2 Registered User Posts: 963 Member
    Any restrictions we have are purely financial.
  • RChandlerRChandler Registered User Posts: 50 Junior Member
    My Bro's restrictions:

    Only European school he's allowed to go to is Cambridge(Oxbridge Rivalry)
    Top 15 in his choice of major(Finance)
    No Pre-law/Pre-med
    No public schools other than UVA/UMich/UCBerkeley(There were private school restrictions but they were a ton of those)

    I think these seem reasonable except for number 1. My parents have nothing against European schools but we believe that other than Cambridge/Oxford US schools are more academically strong. And oxford was out as my family is heavy Cambridge(This was more a light hearted restriction). The public school restriction - my family has money, and prefers private schools as Wall St. recruits more heavily from there.
  • Much2learnMuch2learn Registered User Posts: 4,772 Senior Member
    We did not place formal restrictions.

    However, we did discuss issues like:
    1. We did not want to pay a lot more money for a college that looks fun, if she is not getting a better education in return.

    2. Choosing a school with programs that match her interests.

    3. Choosing a college that would be challenging, but not so difficult that she was only studying and not getting involved in clubs, or research, or social activities, and enjoying the college experience.

    4. Choosing a school with good access to internships and real world experiences

    5. Choosing a school with strong job placement when college is done.





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