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How Parents & Grandparents Negatively Impact Kids’ Before College

By Christina Nicholson

Getting your kids/grandkids ready for college and helping in the decision making process is something every parent is involved in and today, more and more grandparents are involved… and it is happening in many households right now. But, many parents and grandparents are making mistakes when it comes to their children’s future (and their own wallet) and may not even be knowing it. A former university president offers some tips for how parents can make the most of this time with their kids – the right way.

Expert says parents and grandparents can save time and money by making sure they ask their future college students the right questions, avoid common mistakes

Making the wrong decision about what to study or where to go to school can have costly and time-consuming consequences. Switching majors or schools or even going back to school after you start working can all jack up the cost of obtaining a higher education and subsequent student loan debt.

  • More than 50% of college students will change their field of study
  • 33% of students will transfer to a different college before graduating
  • About seven in 10 students today graduate with debt 

Parents and grandparents often fail to ask their children the right questions.  Joe Schmoke, founder of University Research and Review (www.urandr.org ), a free college selection service, offers these key mistakes parents and grandparents should avoid:

  1. Not questioning their kid’s decision – When your child is applying for schools, it’s natural to want to let them make their own decision, as they are about the head out into the world on their own. But it’s still your job to help guide them in the right direction.
  2. Ignoring the numbers – A college education is one of the most expensive purchases many people will ever make, but too often people don’t pay attention to the price. Consider whether the schools you’re looking at fit your budget and what options are available to pay for them so your child is not drowning in debt when they graduate.
  3. Basing their decision on the wrong reasons – Ask your child why they want to focus on that specific major or school. If it’s just because a friend is doing the same, or you want them to go there because you or a relative did, that may not make the most financial or practical sense. An objective test, like URR’s, can help guide them in the right direction if they’re not sure.
  4. Assuming college is right for everyone – Just because you want your child to go to college doesn’t mean it’s always the best decision for them. Everyone’s circumstances are different – some people may benefit from working for a year or two before going to school, or they may decide college is not for them. 

COLLEGEChoosing a college and field of study is very emotional and personal, but the advice you get is coming from one of URR’s advisors, who have more than 280 years of experience combined.

Days after the survey is complete, a report suggests recommended fields of study and about five schools, out of the more than 7,000 colleges and universities in the United States. The service is tailored to a variety of end users, including high school students, current college students considering switching schools or majors, or professionals interested in going back to school. URR’s results are unbiased and never favor one institution over another, ensuring an even playing field and unbiased suggestions from URR advisors.

COLLEGEChristina Nicholson


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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