Your child will make many important choices in his or her lifetime and choosing the right college or university may be the most defining one. It may also be one of the last decisions in which you, as the parent, will play a major role with your child. To help him or her choose wisely, consider engaging in the following conversation starter with your high school aged child. If you start the conversation before it is a pressing subject to him or her, you will be considered more of an expert because no one else has yet begun to claim that position regarding post High School plans.
What is the most important factor in choosing a college?
The obvious responses may include cost, degree plan, and location. Encourage your child to also consider the reputation of the college for upholding the same values your family considers paramount. In other words, if you have been intentional about school choice, church attendance, or even the extra-curricular activities in which your child has been involved to this point, the same intentionality needs to be used in the college choosing process.
Why do you want to go to college?
This is a legitimate question for your high school student. He or she needs to contemplate their motives right now, before they move into a dorm room. College is a very challenging place because the core values of your son or daughter will be tested. Honestly knowing why college is the appropriate next stage is important and you need to have an honest conversation. Academics are important and there are many good universities for any degree plan. Help them choose the right college while also encouraging the values you desire them to attain.
What is your idea of a “college experience”?
Listen to your child’s response and consider what he or she is expecting from a “college experience”. College campuses are microcosms of society as a whole and choosing the college that depicts the society in which your child will thrive is very important. For example, if going to a college that requires weekly chapel attendance helps promotes your values; you may not feel comfortable sending your child off to a school where church is not even present on campus.
The college campus is very likely where your son or daughter will make their first life-changing decisions. You want to ensure they are surrounded by an environment that inspires choices that reflect the family values you hold dear. So begin your own research and include praying specifically for your child to make the right decision. May this conversation starter help you direct future conversations that will help your child make the right decision about the college to attend.