Colleges are located all over the country, some in quaint little towns and some amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. Some are private institutions, others not. Some focus on co-curricular activities, others are more academic focussed. How do you help your child make a decision to best suit their needs?
1. Needs and Talents:
The best suited institution for your child is where they can discover and explore their talents. While narrowing down on a college, start a discussion with your child on the following questions:
– What am I looking for in a college?
– What do I hope to achieve if I enroll myself here?
– Do I prefer to live close to home or do I want to go away to school?
– Do I want to study at a large university or a small college?
Answers to these questions can be found in catalogues, brochures or websites. It would be even better if you were to visit the college with your child to get a real-life feel of things.
2. College Round-up:
While narrowing down on colleges, important factors to take into consideration are :
– The philosophy of the college and the type of programmes it offers. For instance, enquire about the specialisations offered, class strength, and career options after graduation
– Availability of a placement cell. Ask about the kind of recruiters that come to campus?
– Interactions with former students of the college. Personal accounts are vital for your child and they influence the decision to a large extent.
– Availability and interest rates of student loans.
3. Admissions Criteria and Financial Aid:
In most cases, colleges have similar admission requirements. However, a few colleges consider co-curricular activities as a factor in allocating seats at the college. Some colleges offer partial or full scholarships. Oftentimes, non-academic talents of students such as excellence in sports and music play an important role while awarding scholarships. Keep a lookout for these!
4. Support System:
Students are quite apprehensive when adjusting to a new environment. Here, the support system at the college plays an important role. College clubs and cells are comfortable zones for students to speak freely and not be judged. These groups also help with the onboarding process which include on-campus living and guides on the campus.
5. Stay Informed:
This is probably the most crucial factor to keep in mind while helping your child choose a college. Keep a ear out for the scholarship dates along with dates of entrance exam. If it is a specialised course, ensure that your child is attending mock tests and reads up on current events.
This is a stressful time for your child (and YOU!). Remember, a college with just a stellar academic reputation may not be the right fit for your child. Converse and listen to your child. Be a guide to your child. After all, this decision will shape the career they will eventually choose. The key is to make sure your child has the power and control over the process.