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Tips for Parents

By Helen H. Heron
© Copyright by Helen H. Heron 2000, 2008

One of the most important contributions you can make to your students is to support them in making their own decisions about which college they should attend. If you have been discussing college choices with them during the application process, you are in a position to be very helpful. You will find two sets of questions that will help your student make the best choice in Tips for Teachers and Tips for Students. Use what works for you!

Look at College Countdown, A Planning Guide for High School Students to find out more about choosing colleges and universities and making good decisions. For ordering information, click here.


  • As your student discusses his or her options, use the questions listed in Tips for Students and Tips for Teachers as a basis for your questions. Give time for your student to think! Wait a long time for him or her to answer. Make supportive noises like "yes" go "go on." Do watch your tone of voice and body language!
  • Don't try and influence your student to choose your favorite school. Be sure he or she has a good selection of choices and let him or her pick.
  • Be sure the schools your student considers are accredited and have a good ratio of teachers to students. Did you find out if professors or graduate students teach the freshmen classes?
  • Does the school have a good reputation in that major? How many graduating seniors go on to higher degrees or are admitted to graduate school?
  • How effective is the job placement office?
  • Do discuss your family finances with your student. Remember that you are looking at the required parent contribution. An expensive but rich old school often offers families a better financial deal than the state universities can.
  • Tell your student you will do everything you can to help them get what they need, but they will have to earn what they want.
  • Reasonably, do your student's test scores and GPA fall in the upper one third or half of the freshman class.
  • Assure your student you will support their decision and if, by some chance it does not work out well, you student can transfer to another school after a year or two.
  • Tell your student you love him or her and are very proud!

Permission is given to reproduce this document in its entirety or quote portions as long as you reference the source, Helen Heron, author, and Heron Publishing.

Helen Heron, author of College Countdown, A Planning Guide For High School Students, at