How involved were you picking schools?

<p>Just wondering how involved you were in picking/helping pick colleges for your children?</p>

<p>Son #1 was very independent but we discussed it and pros-cons.
Son #2 was very stubborn and wanted to apply to only 3 schools (2 reach, 1 sorta safety) and I basically forced him to apply to 3 more schools (turned out 1 reach, 2 match) and I still feel cranky he didn't apply to another safety.</p>

<p>In picking schools my sons had criteria and I did some research and made suggestions but basically our only limitation on them was financial...we can afford only so much so meeting need or merit aid was essential.</p>

<p>However, my friends researched colleges and presented their child with a list of FIVE to choose from and he was only allowed to apply to those five. Money was not a factor for them.</p>

<p>This seemed weirdly interfering to me. Picking the college your kid attends for four very formative adult years seems super controlling and also a recipe for a lot of resentment in the future. BUT the kids seems really happy where he is so I could be completely off base.</p>

<p>Your strategy and thoughts?</p>

<p>Every family dynamic is different. Finance matters to you, not to others, and you can’t judge that is the only factor people should consider, there maybe other factors which could be just as important to other families. To me, using finance as a factor to determine where a kid goes to school is just as controlling, and this applies both to people who could or couldn’t afford it.</p>

<p>Fairly involved. Neither son was overly into the whole process. I came up with ones I thought would be good for them based on what they expressed interest in (size, location, major, etc) and their stats. They each added at least one on their own. DS1 ended up at the one he added to the list. I knew about it and liked it but didn’t like the fact it was over 500 miles away. Still waiting to see where DS2 will end up. When he finds out where he’s in, we’ll figure out the pros and cons for each school. It’s important to us that he picks the school that feels the best for him as we think he’ll do better if he’s happy where he lands.</p>

<p>Hey-you’re on CC, where parents not only research and help kids pick their schools, but have spreadsheets detailing every possible permutation that might come up, predict where the kids will get in, and speak in the royal “we” when they talk about classes chosen, extra curriculars, applications and essays. So the answers you get might be a little skewed.</p>

<p>My older D picked her colleges on her own, researched them on her own, and I didn’t see a single essay. She applied to five, got into them all. Her dad, my ex, and I split touring them with her, she made the final choice. In the end it wasn’t the best choice and she has chosen a completely different path that involves a vocational program at a CC close to home-she did THAT on her own too, and she’s very happy, doing well. </p>

<p>But as oldfort says, everyone is different, and to many my approach would be too hands off, to others 5 applications would be about 6 times too few, etc., etc. I think you did fine, if maybe a little too involved in forcing your kid to apply to more schools. You can only go to one, after all.</p>

<p>Old Fort</p>

<p>Since my son’s don’t want to take out loans or work full-time, being clear about our financial limitations (we can pay our EFC which is about 30% of our take home but not much more) doesn’t strike me as controlling, just practical. We can’t pay with money we don’t have.</p>

<p>They are, of course, free to work and/or take out loans, they chose not to (except work study).</p>

<p>I am pretty sure I didnt say it was the only factor in choosing. It was our only LIMITING factor. Anything else was up to them.</p>

<p>Having said that, obviously everyone’s family dynamics are different. That’s why I asked.</p>


<p>Fairly involved. S1 knew what he wanted to study (comp sci). He wanted top academics (esp. science), top computer programs. He was happy to give him a suggested list of where to apply, which was very easy to put together. He made the final selection about where to attend with no advice from us.</p>

<p>S2 didn’t have a clue what he wanted to study, but did about size and location and feel (not to preppy, not too Greek). In the course of looking at likely colleges he found a major that seemed to jive with his interests (International Relations). He had lots of input, though again I did most of the work in suggesting schools. He had the final say in where to attend as well.</p>

<p>I’d have been fine if they had done more of the initial college research.</p>

<p>sseamom, I think our approaches were fairly similar. I forced DS2 not because I care where he goes, but because he would totally and absolutely crushed if he didn’t get in anywhere and I thought with his list (2 ivies, one sorta safety) the chances were too iffy (for the safety) to risk it. </p>

<p>Your CC comment made me laugh…although the folks who picked the school for their child aren’t on CC. I think the political/religious bent of the school was very important to them, which is why they made the list. The college he attends has a very small/mostly inactive CC site.</p>

<p>Some kids are really into the process, others are not. My son wasn’t really the type to have done tons of research and would have just gone almost anywhere. I wanted him to understand the different types of schools, because at 17 - he really didn’t have a clue. I’ve got 30 years on him, I’ve been thinking about it since he was born, I have way more knowledge of many, many colleges. Why wouldn’t he want the benefit of my expertise? So he visited schools and he figured out what he liked and didn’t - then I researched and found school for him to look at - he visited, we discussed pros and cons and he chose. And I could tell him - okay - if you like this school, you’d probably also like that school.</p>

<p>My d is nearly the same - she has a criteria, but doesn’t know a schools reputation in the real world like I do. She had no idea how to start looking. We also started by visiting and she started figuring out her criteria. </p>

<p>If I’m going to be paying, and I understand their temperment, strengths/weaknesses, what the schools have to offer - why would I be hands off at the final push? I chose where they were educated through high school - they have to earn their spot and they have the final choice, but why wouldn’t I help out now? </p>

<p>Does this mean they shouldn’t use a guidance counselor either if parents researching is too invasive?
BTW… my son would have never found his current school and he’s so thrilled to be there now.</p>

<p>I facilitated a lot. My son had a few characteristics he was looking for: geeky not Greeky, not a big sports thing and small class sizes with discussion-based focus. I read the Fiske Guide and sticky noted schools I thought he might like. He then chose where to visit and where to apply and then…where to attend. He seemed to learn so much about who he was and what he wanted in the process, but I do think I helped. Not all kids are open to this much parental input. I’m thinking boys accept more than girls.</p>

<p>The Fiske Guide played a big role in our search. D1 loved to look through it (she considered this and college visits to be a kind of shopping, which she loves). :slight_smile: So she made a lot of those choices of where to visit, although I made some suggestions and she was agreeable. In fact, I found the school she ended up attending when we had visits to other schools in the area planned, and found we had an extra day on our hands – I looked in Fiske and suggested it.</p>

<p>D2 didn’t want to look at Fiske – when I offered it, she asked if I would go through and pick some schools that would be a good fit. No surprise, she likes me to pick library books for her, too! I flagged about 50, and we talked about each and narrowed the list to 20. Visited quite a few of those. Her final list of 8 contains 7 that we jointly agree on, and one that I asked her to apply to because I think her areas of interest are growing in a direction that is suited by that school in junior/senior year. She is fine with that. She had one college she wanted to apply to that I vetoed based on several factors (but I did check with her to make sure she doesn’t think she will be on a therapist’s couch saying mom did not let her apply to her “dream school” in 10 years). She said it is not her dream school, and she is okay dropping it.</p>


<p>I may be speaking out of turn, but I don’t believe Oldfort was at all criticizing your choice to limit your search circle using a financial filter, she was just saying it is a very controlling filter, not that you were being controlling by using it. Finances are tricky because you can apply that filter, but no one knows how it will all play out in the end given outside scholarships, internal scholarships etc, until the process unfolds. </p>




<p>We were full-pay and did not want our D to eliminate a school just because of the financial aspect; however, we were not willing to pay for just any school, even though we could. There are schools that are 57K per year that in our view, are not worth it. We told her that she could only go to those schools if she got merit aid. Other schools, however, we were willing to pay for. D came up with her own list of colleges of interest; however, we did tell our D upfront prior to the application process which schools we would not pay full-freight for.</p>

<p>We have always parented in such a way that our kids make a lot of their own choices, within limits we set, so it naturally followed to the college choice. The limiting factor for us was money. They knew what we could pay, and we let them choose schools within those limits. They are not researchers and I am, so I did the research for them and gave them some options I thought they might like but encouraged them to go to college fairs and talk to admissions people from many schools, which they did. As it turns out, both boys wanted to stay close-ish to home (one is just twenty minutes away), and both got great scholarships to schools in our state. </p>

<p>To me, your friends’ involvement seems overly-controlling, as well, but probably because it is so counter to the way we interact with our children. Honestly, until I happened on CC when researching National Merit scholarships, I had NO idea that parents were as involved as they are in their kids’ “journey” to college. That is not in any way a judgement, just a statement of fact. I am amazed at how much so many parents here know about the process. Sometimes I feel like I should be paying a consulting fee. LOL!</p>

<p>Happykid was delighted to leave the research to me. When I gave her the list of places that offer her relatively rare major, and weren’t in locations she didn’t want to consider, if she couldn’t find the info she wanted in three mouse clicks, it was off the list. We visited two in state, and two out of state. She applied to two. She got into both. In state was affordable. She loves it there.</p>

<p>I did most of the research mainly because I had more time to do that. The kids had pretty clear ideas of what they wanted in a school so that helped a lot. I would find schools for them, they would look to see if they liked them and if so, we would visit. They narrowed down their final lists and after they applied and got accepted, then we started making the hard choices. In the end it comes down to money. They knew exactly how much they would have to spend of our money and found plenty of choices that worked for them.</p>

<p>Anyone else shocked by how little input and support some parents IRL provide to their children re choosing a college? I know some parents that put more effort into helping a child pick a prom outfit than on helping him/her pick a school. ;)</p>

<p>We are fairly involved in DS3’s application. The factors considered were:</p>

<p>1) His strength and ability
2) NPC and scholarship opportunities
3) Program reputation of the schools
4) Impression from the tour & discussions on CC
5) Curriculum</p>

<p>He applied: One State school + 3 matches + 5 reaches(Ivies)</p>

<p>He believes that he would be happy at any of these schools. We had a lot of discussions. It has been a great opportunity for us to get closer to him.</p>

<p>I don’t get how a parent could do all the research and present a kid with a list and have it work out, because as much as our kid might tell us about what they MIGHT want, we are not them, and boy, they can throw some curveballs. Giving input based on our having lived longer is one thing but that’s not at all the same as actually making the list.</p>

<p>My D picked a couple I’d never even heard about, but when I took a look, they were exactly what she had in mind. She also looked in some states I never would have thought she’d want to live. I know her pretty well-but my list, had I made one, probably would have only included one of the schools she applied to. I wouldn’t have done it any other way.</p>

<p>My younger D’s school has the kids start looking at careers, colleges and the whole application process in 6th grade. At first it’s more like" what do you want to be when you grow up?" By 8th grade, they’re looking at the true cost of attending certain schools, scholarships and discussing merit aid. By high school they’re doing practice applications and essays, and by junior year they have test prep built into their curriculum. They’re encouraged to make college lists-they own the whole process-and parents are walked through it, not the other way around. I love it.</p>

<p>My dad was in the WalkingTessie camp–he just paid the fees and helped me fill out the FAFSA. I picked out the schools I applied to, I did the research, I applied and wrote the essays. He visited with me, and I made the final choice. That was that. He also never helped me choose my classes in college, I just told him I was taking X Y and Z. </p>

<p>Not sure why it’s so appalling that some parents don’t help, to me it seems weird for parents to be so involved. None of my friends’ parents were particularly involved either, we all just did it on our own</p>

<p>“Some kids are really into the process, others are not. My son wasn’t really the type to have done tons of research and would have just gone almost anywhere. I wanted him to understand the different types of schools, because at 17 - he really didn’t have a clue. I’ve got 30 years on him, I’ve been thinking about it since he was born, I have way more knowledge of many, many colleges. Why wouldn’t he want the benefit of my expertise? So he visited schools and he figured out what he liked and didn’t - then I researched and found school for him to look at - he visited, we discussed pros and cons and he chose. And I could tell him - okay - if you like this school, you’d probably also like that school.”</p>

<p>This. Exactly. I know these places. My kids didn’t. Their GC wasn’t going to be of help, nor their friends. I gave them a list of maybe 12-15 schools that I thought they should consider–they were welcome to research and add additional ones. Some of the schools I thought they’d like never took off (Wm&Mary, the Maine LACs). Others did.</p>