Article | 1:44 min read

How Involved Should You be in Your Child’s College Decision?

Life Events

It seems like just yesterday you were teaching them how to write their name. Now, it’s time for them to start thinking about college. Whether you’ve been waiting for this day for years or you’re dreading a quiet house, odds are that you’re pretty proud of them for reaching this point.

A mother and daughter are hugging each other at the back of their car

You want to be involved in your child's college decision, but where should you draw the line between helpful and helicopter? There are some topics on which you should have a major say, but you should know when to back off, too.


According to Forbes, the average cost for four years at a public university is currently $113,548. Four years at a private college averages at $237,364. That's a big difference, and those numbers are only going to grow. In 2030, costs of public and private universities could total to $292,024 and $459,364, respectively [1].

Your 18-year-old probably won't have that kind of cash lying around, so the cost of college will fall on you. You want them to have every opportunity they deserve, but somethings just may not be financially feasible. Sit down with your future college student and compare the costs of in-state and out-of-state tuition. It's important that they remain informed throughout this process.


You'll also want to discuss scholarship opportunities. Encourage them explore all options for easing the burden of tuition. There are plenty of resources you can provide to guide them. Make sure they have an understanding of the wide variety of scholarships. If they understand the importance of their role in this process, they shouldn't need much of an extra push.


You know them better than anyone, so you'll know if they're the type who might need reminders to get things done. Early admission, scholarships, financial aid-once a deadline passes, there's really no going back. Check in with them and make sure they're staying on top of their tasks. They might think you're hovering, but they'll thank you down the road.

College is ultimately your child's choice. But that doesn't mean that you can't be involved. This is an important time for both them and you. Let your child make their own decisions, but don't be afraid to give your own input and advice. After all, you've got a couple years of experience on them.


[1] College Costs Could Total As Much As $334,000 in Four Years, Forbes


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