When the time comes to start discussing college options with your child it is good to be there to help prepare your child for the next step in their athletic and academic career. A parent’s role throughout the sports recruiting process is to lead the student-athlete in the right direction, not tell them what to do or where to go to school.
Attending a university will be a big step in your child’s life and most importantly it will be a decision that they make with the help and guidance of a supportive family.
What Type of School is the Best Fit for You?
Choosing the right college is not an easy task. A good first step is to consider the different types of college institutions–private, public, and junior colleges. Private institutions tend to be more expensive than public colleges and, in most instances, they are considered more prestigious because of exclusivity and higher academic standards.
According to Forbes Magazine the top private institutions in the country are Princeton, Williams, Amherst, Stanford and Harvard, with tuition and other costs well over $50,000.00 a year. On the other hand, public universities tend to be more affordable for students who live in-state since they are funded by the state taxpayers.
Listing out costs of each school will give your child and you a better sense of what the cost breakdown will be, either by semester, quarter or year. Don’t forget to consider out of state fees if your child plans to travel out of state for school.
Have You thought About a JC?
Another possibility for higher institutions is the junior colleges or community colleges option. These schools are typically smaller and are set up to be 2-year programs with students having a transfer agreement in place for a 4-year university where they can go on to complete their undergraduate degree.
Students may prefer to get their feet wet in a junior college right out of high school in a smaller environment that still offers athletic programs and collegiate competition. Again, finding the right college for your child will be a unique process because each student-athlete and family has different needs in higher education.
Size and Location Do Matter
When helping your child make the big decision of which is the best college for them of course you will have to consider school size and school location. Talk with your child to get a sense of what they would prefer in college and be sure to consider all their needs.
As a parent you have a good sense of all the special criteria that will be beneficial to them in the long run. Finding the right wording and right time to bring up such matters may prove to be the difficult part in the college search.
Other Factors to Consider
Location: Will your child have to fly or drive? Can they take public transportation? It may seem like a waste of time to discuss and have to consider these minute details, but in reality this is another expense that will need to be considered when budgeting for college.
Will your student-athlete live on or off campus and have access to transportation? The setting of the college is also a factor for your child to consider, especially if they are used to living in a large city. The opposite can be true as well and your son or daughter may not want to live in the big city if he or she is used to a small town atmosphere.
What interests does your child have? Have they thought or considered what major they would like to study? If they are interested in a specialized field they will have to find the colleges that offer that major. Your child may also want to look and call the department to see the average class size for any given major that they are considering. Some students excel in a small classroom while others do perfectly well in a large class setting; it all depends on your child’s needs in the classroom.