Choosing the best-fit colleges today is a whole different ball game than back when we went to college. Many schools offer many courses of study- but we can be sure that every school doesn't offer every degree, and it's important to make sure that your child has many good options. So how do you know which colleges offer the majors that your children are interested in?
One of my clients, Debbie Z., a high school graduate, recently approached me regarding her four-year plan for Business Marketing at UC Santa Barbara- just before she was going to enter as a freshman! Because she hadn't done her research beforehand, she was devastated to find out that UCSB doesn't have a business marketing major. To avoid nightmares like this one, your soon-to-be-freshman needs to do his/her research!
- Select all of the possible majors that your children are interested in. They can take career tests to point them in the right direction. That way if they have a few options, they can change majors without having to transfer to different colleges. After selecting their majors, they can search for colleges that offer the specific degrees that they're interested in.
- Ask your children to begin their searches by visiting websites like www.collegeboard.com. These sites allow students to search for colleges by desired major. To start with, make a list of about 15 to 20 colleges. They can then begin narrowing the list by choosing colleges based on their locations.
- Check out the college websites with your children. Read more about the departments and programs. You'll quickly see that not all colleges are equal. One might offer a business administration degree while another offers a school of business with seven majors. Then look at the statistics regarding life at that school (living arrangements, geography, potential for local activities, etc). And finally, visit your child's top five colleges! Nothing is more explanatory than first-hand observations and tours.