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How to Include Parents in Your College Search

How to Include Parents in Your College Search


During your junior year of high school, you probably are starting to think about going to a college or university. Although most of the application process falls on students, in many cases, parents play a significant role.

It's important to include your parents in the undergraduate application process without allowing them too much control. Below are some considerations to keep in mind as you have these conversations with your parents.  

Parent Experiences

If your parents earned an undergraduate degree, start with a few questions about their experiences. Their answers will help you determine the qualities you want in a college or university. Ask your parents about what they enjoyed the most, as well as mistakes they made or opportunities they missed. Though schools were different when your parents attended, their input is valuable.


Your parents are great resources for proofreading admissions essays. They can check grammar and spelling and provide general content suggestions. Your parents know you well, so they'll know if you effectively communicated your personality in your essays.

A word of caution, admissions officers can tell when an essay was written by an adult, so if yours is inconsistent with the voice or tone of your application, your chances might be compromised. 

Geographical Restrictions

Even if you have your heart set on a far-away school, it might not be the best fit. Your parents have moved and traveled more than you have. They can give you a better idea of the hidden costs associated with living far away. For example, even with financial aid or scholarships, flying across the country multiple times per year can be expensive.

A school a few hours away might be more feasible. Also, take your relationship with your parents and family into consideration. Many students grow homesick their first year of living on campus. 

Financial Circumstances

This is perhaps the most important factor when it comes to your parents’ involvement in the application process, since they're likely to pay all or part of your tuition and other expenses. Even if you receive financial aid or a scholarship, you'll still need your parents to help fill out various forms.

It's important not to let your financial situation at home limit your choices. The most prestigious, expensive schools often have generous financial aid packages, so your parents might be able to help you navigate the options available to you. 

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