Choosing a college is one of the first adult decisions your child will make. You and your co-parent will have a say in it -– at least in narrowing down their choices to what you can afford. However, the choice should ultimately be theirs.
If you and your ex have kept your child’s college fund on track since your divorce, you’re understandably feeling pretty good about that. You’ve even worked out how you’ll work together to get financial aid. Now that your child is in their final year of high school, it’s time for the college tours.
Divide and conquer
Navigating those tours of campuses as divorced parents can be challenging. You likely both want to see the schools your child is applying to -– or at least strongly considering. It’s typically best to limit those to their top three or four at most. The application fees alone can be pricey. So which parent goes with them?
Many parents divide the list of schools, with each accompanying their child to one or two. Your child should have a say in who accompanies them where. If they’re looking at your alma mater, you’ll likely be the one to go with them. If they’re considering a school with a good engineering program and that’s your ex’s specialty, having them take that school makes sense.
Remember who these tours are for
The purpose of these college tours is to give kids a feel for the campus, atmosphere, people and surrounding community. It’s a chance to talk to students, faculty and those involved in admissions. Many schools have planned events for prospective students.
Remember that your child is anxious enough about making the right choice. The last thing they need to worry about is angering or disappointing one of you or causing conflict. Once your child decides on a school – and gets accepted – the parent who didn’t go on the college tour might want to take them for another visit. Or, one of you may want to drive them there at the beginning of the school year instead.
If those college tours are still a decade or more away, it’s never too early to start planning for how the two of you will work together to save for college. You two should also encourage your child’s academic and extracurricular achievements, so they’ll be able to choose from the best schools.