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When Parents Talk, Most Students Listen When It Comes to Choosing a College

February 12, 2006

They often cover the application fees, pay for college visits, and even foot a large part of the tuition bill, but how important are parents in the actual decision of where to go to college? It turns out that for many students, the answer is very important.

In a survey of 580 Lunch-Money.com users, more than 70 percent considered their parents' input either very important or somewhat important in their college decision. In fact, only 1 out of 6 respondents said that their parents had no impact on their decision.

"While there is an urge for many high school seniors to assert some independence as they get ready to head off to college, this is one of the biggest decisions most have ever made," Lunch-Money.com president Mark Rothbaum said. "It's natural to lean on your parents for some help and advice."

This trend has not gone unnoticed in college admissions offices. Many schools have looked to capitalize on a parent's influence, sending "prospect cards" directly to the parents of college-bound high schoolers or setting up chat sessions dedicated to parents of prospective and admitted students.

"Admissions offices are more and more viewing the questions and concerns of highly involved parents as opportunities to be embraced," Rothbaum said. "It may be the student who's going to college, but it's often the family that's making the decision."

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