The Norman Transcript

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February 22, 2014

Help your child pick their own college

NORMAN — Q. How in the world do you help your kids decide what college to attend? Neither my husband nor I went to college, and we do not want our kids to go somewhere just because they like the football team.

Sam and Juanita, Oklahoma City

Dear Sam and Juanita,

We are so glad you are not expecting your child to go to a certain school. We can’t tell you the number of times this has caused trouble in families with parents “deciding” what school their kids will attend and what their majors will be.

First the question is: are they eligible for the Oklahoma Promise scholarship? If so, you should let them look at the list of all the schools within Oklahoma. This scholarship is a huge help when it comes to paying for college.

Second, we suggest they get online and take a career interest inventory. They may already think they know what they want to be when they grow up. These interest inventories are many times enlightening and give them other options they may have never heard of or thought about.

From there, a Google search of colleges that offer those degrees, high school courses that should be taken to be successful, requirements of the curriculum and school entrance requirements and costs will further help them narrow their choices.

Of course, money is always part of the equation. If you are helping with costs, do not forget to figure in trips home. Out-of-state and private school tuition often limits the possibilities. We have told a zillion kids that the cost of the school needs to be in line with the degree sought. For example, if your student wants to be a teacher in Oklahoma, there is no need to get a Harvard degree. Working in education, like some other careers, has a starting salary and it increases (sometimes … slightly) with years of experience. If they are $100,000 plus in debt from a high-dollar school, they will spend their entire career paying off student loans.

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