College selection time can be scary — and exciting — for both you and your young adult. But with thousands of colleges in the United States, plus online and overseas options, college selection can also be overwhelming.
Discussing those options is a terrific opportunity for you to learn more about your children, and hear what is important to them. Take a few moments and discuss these questions with your student to identify a great college fit.
1. How would you describe your dream college?
They may not know. That’s okay. Give them time to think it through or talk it out. The goal is to get them thinking about what feels right to them, what may help them secure their dream job, and what kind of people they want to “do life” with for four years. Dreaming is the least expensive portion of the college selection process, so enjoy it. (Tweet this!)
2. Is there a friend’s college experience that seems especially positive to you?
The goal of this question is to encourage observation of others in college or recent college graduates — friends, cousins, neighbors, etc. — to help your student determine what they value. What outcome stands out to your student?
Did they go off and see the world? Did they graduate debt free? Have a blast? Land a killer job? Meet their mate?
3. What major would you choose?
With hundreds of majors to choose from, the opportunities range from the traditional, to ones that weren’t even offered when you were in school. Most admissions officers suggest students pursue a major that matches “their interests with their academic strengths.”
If they really struggle with this question you may need to first talk about what career they want to have once they graduate, and back into what major supports their professional dream.
4. How do you feel about owing money for your education after graduation?
This question helps them understand the price tag of an advanced education. It also gives you an opportunity to see how they think about money and finances. You may hear:
- I don’t want any debt when I graduate.
- I don’t care about some loans; I just don’t want to worry about money while I’m in school.
- I’ll pick a top school, and land a great job so student loans won’t be an issue.
- You only go to college once so I want to experience it all — I’ll figure out how to pay for it later.
- I’ll work hard and get good grades, ace the standardized tests, and get my college paid for. (Isn’t this the statement we’re all hoping to hear?)
5. Do you know your Money Personalities so we can honor that part of who you are in your college selection process?
Knowing your child’s Primary and Secondary Money Personalities will help you (and them) understand why they may prefer one school to another. Have them spend 10 minutes with our free, online, there-are-no-wrong-answers quiz to identify both. The way they view money will affect their feelings about certain colleges and scholarship opportunities.
To really ace the test and master their feelings about money before they’re armed with credit cards, pick up a copy of our new book, The 5 Money Personalities: Speaking the Same Love and Money Language. You’ll learn more about your student’s individual approach for dealing with money, understand the internal conflict of opposing Primary and Secondary Money Personalities, and learn about others’ approach to dollars and cents to help avoid conflicts with roommates or other co-eds about money.
Congratulations on this exciting new chapter of your lives! We’d love to hear about your biggest frustrations and greatest insights on college selection at info@TheMoneyCouple.com, on Twitter, or Facebook.