Sunday, December 5, 2010

Applying for college - should I listen to my parents?

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Question:  I'm in the middle of narrowing down the colleges I'm applying for before the January 1st deadline, and I'm having a hard time!  My parents are urging me to apply to schools I didn't originally have on my list.  For example, my dad says I'll like the social scene at one school, my mom says that it's safe rat this other school. One school is suburban, another school is in the city.  How can I make this important decision when I have so much pressure from my parents!  (New York, NY)

Social Shrink:  Applying to college is both an exciting and stressful time.  First off, congratulations for making it to your final year in high school and planning for this exciting next step. It seems as if you have some idea of some schools you are targeting, the question is whether or not you will be applying to those schools in addition to any others your parents are pressuring you to apply to.
While it may be stressful to have your parents giving you their input 24/7, just note that this is a stressful time for them as well.  They obviously want you to be happy, they are anxious that you will be leaving them soon, and getting you into college is not something they have control over.

Listen to what your parents have to say, but you need to make the final decision moving forward.  Take the points your parents are bringing up and research them on your own.  

Some important factors to consider include:

(1) State school versus private school - this will determine how much the tuition is
(2) Is the college located in a safe area?
(3)What is the social scene like? Are there opportunities outside of the classroom?
(4) How many students are there (is it a large or small school)?  Is it urban or suburban?
(5) Does the school offer the courses you would like to study?

These are just a few of the factors you should weigh in on your decision.  Research the schools and make a list, chart, or spreadsheet so you can see all of the schools you want to apply to side by side.  With you doing the research, you are owning your college application experience and taking the lead for what will best suit your needs.  Show this to your parents so that it can help facilitate a conversation where you can outline why you chose each school.

This exciting time is your initiation into adulthood.  With that being said, take ownership of this process.  You will be happy with your decisions because you made them for you

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