The College Deal-Breaker

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What is your student’s college deal-breaker? My daughter’s college deal-breaker had nothing to do with academics or college rankings. From the time she was small, she wanted to go to college in Boston. Coming from Texas, that was a bit of a surprise–especially since she had never visited Boston.

But when college decision time came around, Bentley College beat out SMU because of location. My son’s college deal-breaker came when a buddy of his in the Marine Corps told him a college in Texas had “hot chicks” and a party school reputation. Perhaps neither was the best criteria to base this decision, but they demonstrate this fact: emotion plays a factor in choosing a college.

The deal-breaker

Students choose a college for all number of emotional reasons: football team, picturesque campus, “it just feels right”, and more. One college student told me she transferred freshman year because another school had a sink in the freshmen dorm rooms. That was the first time I’ve ever heard that described as a college deal-breaker.

While parents are thinking academics and cost, their college-bound teens have that deal-breaker in mind.

It might be Greek life, or the fact that it’s the #1 party school. But trust me, there’s a deal-breaker in the back of their head. And you might be surprised to find out what it is. All this time you thought they were looking for a college with an excellent engineering program, they really wanted a college where the girls outnumbered the boys!

What does this mean for you as a parent? 

Talk to your college-bound teen. Find out what their deal-breaker is and help them choose a perfect-fit college that addresses it. There’s nothing wrong with having a deal-breaker, but it’s your job to guide them to find the college that makes them happy and provides them with an education that benefits them in the future. If the college with the sink in the dorm rooms also values your teen and offers an excellent program in her chosen field of finance, you’ve found that “perfect fit” college!

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