W I S C O N S I N T E C H N I C A L C O L L E G E S Y S T E M | 7 W I S C O N S I N T E C H N I C A L C O L L E G E S Y S T E M | 6 W I S C O N S I N T E C H N I C A L C O L L E G E S Y S T E M | 7 Suzanne Shaffer, creator of the website Parents Countdown to College Coach, recommends following these steps to avoid the conflict that results when parents become too influential in choices:3 Let your children live their dreams. Children have their own dreams they should be allowed to pursue. Accept that your child may not have a clear reason for their decision. It may not appear to be a logical choice, but parents should be ready for their child to say, “It just feels right.” Value > hype. Value is much more important than the bragging rights and prestige associated with college choice. Huge debt has longer lasting effects than short-lived pangs of prestige. Discuss—don’t dictate. Set parameters on cost and provide encouragement to research colleges, but don’t dictate or push for a particular college or degree. Assume your children are capable of making this decision for themselves. Many parents struggle with their child becoming independent, but they need to understand the child is directly affected by their own decisions. Parents who do their best to stick with these guidelines provide their children more room to discover who they are on their own terms—increasing the likelihood for future career happiness and success. Parents are a resource. Parents will want to provide assistance and encouragement to their students, but keep some distance from the situation, according to scholarly research by Lopez and Andrews. This allows students to be more active in the career selection process and make independent decisions about their own futures.2 Want to learn more? Visit our website for more resources: wistechcolleges.org Encouraging happiness and independence. W I S C O N S I N T E C H N I C A L C O L L E G E S Y S T E M | 6 Section 1 Find the right path