Family and the Ever-So-Stressful College Decision

It’s totally normal by the end of high school to want to get as far away from your home as possible. Even those with the closest and best relationships with their families are ready for the newfound independence that college brings. If you’re choosing between a few colleges it can be very tempting to tune out your parents and siblings. Everyone has their own opinion, but finances aside, it is really up to you to make the best decision for yourself.

Maybe your father is encouraging you to go to the school with good sports. Your mother is claiming she will support you no matter what, but is pushing you to pick a school close to home. Your older brother is trying to get you to go to his school.  Everyone, your friends included, have an opinion for what you should do. Your parents will attend campus visits with you and feel rejuvenated and nostalgic at once for their own college years. Maybe they will be pushing you to attend either their alma matter or a school with a similar vibe.

Go on campus visits. Bring your family on the tour. Stay with students. Sleep over with a friend in the dorm. If you don’t know anyone at the school, talk to your high school guidance counselor about introducing you to another alumnus who is at that college. If there is no one from your high school there, contact the college’s admissions office and see if they set students up with people to show them around campus. Go out with the students without your parents. Get a real feel for what college will be like.

Remember, as frustrating as this can all get, your parents and family mean well and are trying to use their wisdom to steer you through this stressful time. You might feel the weight of the world on your shoulders. The classic “paradox of choice.” If you had only got into one school you would have been happy going there; but now that you have a few choices you cannot seem to make up your mind.

Once you’ve done all of this, calmly talk to your parents. Don’t snap at them when they offer opinions. Talk to them about what makes sense geographically, financially, academically and for your quality of life as a student. All these factors have to be considered. Relax and chose and remember, this is not life or death. If you don’t like your school you can always transfer.

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