Choosing a College: Tips for Parents and Families

by Allison Oster

The excitement of opening those college acceptance letters can quickly be followed by a sense of anxiety. How does a student choose a college that will best support who they are and especially, who they want to be? And as a parental figure, how do you support your child in making the right choice for them?

Whether your student is focused on their dream school or is still unsure where they want to attend, the following resources offer tips and important information to keep in mind when choosing a college.

Visit Campuses: Spirit of Place

If you haven’t yet visited all the campuses your student received acceptance to, it’s time to go. Experiencing firsthand what the campus is like, meeting faculty, observing class lectures, seeing dorm rooms, and eating on campus can help them get to know the community and see if it feels like a fit.

Decisions, Decisions: Narrow Down Your Choices

A few school options likely stand out as top choices, but what should you look at to ensure the best overall fit? For some, location is very important, or whether a certain major is offered, but there are many factors to take into consideration when selecting a college, including financial aid offers, career preparation, extracurricular opportunities, and more. The following articles offer a helpful breakdown of things to look at when comparing schools.

Begin with the End in Mind: Preparing for Graduation

Throughout the decision-making process, keep in mind the most important aspect of the college journey—graduation. You want to ensure your student’s experience is taking them one step closer to graduating, and graduating on time. What is the graduation rate at each college? Will they be able to get the classes they need to stay on track? What resources can help support their academic goals?

Though you hope your child selects the best school where they will thrive, it’s ok to remind them that this is the first step; it doesn't mean they’re required to stay all four (or two) years. After the first year, if your child is unsure whether the college they chose is still the best fit, there is the opportunity to transfer.

If APU is among your student’s top choices, don’t hesitate to reach out to our admissions representatives for more information to help your decision. And if you haven’t yet visited our campus, schedule a tour today!

Allison Oster ’01, M.A. ’05, is the senior editorial director in the Office of University Relations.