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How to help your teen find the right college

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Helping your teen to find the right college can be a challenge as there are many aspects that need to be considered. Some aspects to consider are: would your child do better in a large scale environment or small scale environment, what are the budgetary limitations, the intended major if known, how far away your teen wants to be from home and the distance you as a parent also feel comfortable with.

When my two daughters went away for college, there was a lot of talking, negotiating and sometimes even arguing, but the depth of communication was necessary for my daughters and I to come to a mutual conclusion as to the best schools for each one of them.

Finding the right college for your teen is very possible if you take in account the following facets when discussing and determining the best fit college for your teen:

Big school or small school?

I just knew from my daughter's personalities and previous school experiences that one daughter would do really well in a large school as she was really outgoing, enjoyed meeting new people and was comfortable in most types of social situations. My other daughter I felt would do better in a smaller school because she tended to be more shy, she had a close knit group of friends and tended to not like large groups and situations where there were lots of people.

How much money do we have to spend?

We did not have a lot of money to spend on either daughter for college and my daughters did not want to take out students loans so we agreed that the first two years of college would be a community college. In terms of finances, it was one of the best decisions that we could have made, the cost of community college is substantially less than a public or private university and my girl's both received an excellent education at the community college.

Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?

Neither daughter was quite sure what they wanted their major to be when they started college so it was another good reason for them to go to the community college. Once they were done with community college, one daughter knew what she wanted to major in and the other one was still not quite as sure. The daughter who was confident in what she wanted to major in had a little easier time narrowing down her choices of colleges because only certain schools offered her major . The other daughter had a larger selection of schools to choose from but her issue was she was not sure of her major so figuring out the best fit school was a little more difficult.

How far from home?

This facet of choosing a college was probably the one that caused the most arguments, I felt that both daughters would do better being close to home. Yes, I would miss them desperately but that was not the reason I felt that they would do better living closer to home; I knew that they both enjoyed their independence but they both were also the types of teens that needed to come home on a frequent basis. Call it Mother's intuition or just knowing my kids, but I knew they would not do well if there was an extended amount of time that they were away from home. One daughter agreed immediately with me and she also felt it best if she went to college relatively close to home, however the other daughter argued with me quite a bit and stated that she wanted to be far from home. After quite a bit of arguing and negotiating, the hesitant daughter agreed that she would also probably be happier if she were closer to home. The funny thing is the daughter who argued with me about being too close to home is the daughter who comes home about every other weekend. Surprise, surprise.

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