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How to narrow down your teen's college search

Did you know there are more than 7,000 colleges in the U.S.? That's a lot to choose from, and your daughter may be feeling a little overwhelmed as she nears the end of her homeschool program and begins her college search. As a parent, you can help make the process a little easier by asking her key questions that can eliminate schools that aren't a good fit:

Do you want to stay near home?
Location is the best way to quickly cut down the size of your teen's possible-colleges list. Would your daughter prefer to stay close to home? If so, how close? Or is she looking for more of an adventure? Has she always wanted to live in a particular state? Any college or university that doesn't fit her location specifications isn't worth applying to, so cross it off the list.

Do you have a particular major in mind?
Next up, the all-important major discussion. While it's absolutely OK if your homeschooler has no idea what she wants to major in just yet, if she does have a clear path in mind, that's something she'll need to consider when applying to schools. For example, if she knows she wants to major in engineering, she should not apply to any colleges that don't offer that major.

How important is class size to you?
Your teen has had the benefit of having a very individualized education thanks to her homeschool program. Is this something she would like to continue with in college? If so, she should only apply to schools with very small class sizes. However, if she's looking for something a bit different, a large university may be more up her alley.

What is on your must-have list?
Prior to beginning her college search, have your daughter make a must-have list. What must the college she attends offer? This will of course include her major of choice if she has one, but it can also include things like certain extracurricular activities or a robust athletic program. You can eliminate from the running any schools that don't offer these things.

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