Sometimes there is a difference of opinion between students and their parents about the academic competitiveness level of the student in relation to where the student plans to apply to college. The student may under-sell himself, thinking he is less competitive than he really is. Other times, students feel they are more competitive than their scores and grades indicate.
One step removed from the process and wanting the best for their student, parents are in a great place to help their future college freshman aim at the best schools for their circumstances. To avoid conflict, parents of students who are less competitive can keep the schools of interest to the student on their list but add comparable schools that have admissions targets within their competitiveness metrics. Parents of students who under-sell themselves, can follow a similar strategy of keeping the schools of student interest but adding comparable schools that are a little more competitive.
Colleges differ tremendously in academic rigor of courses and support services that help students succeed. Students are happiest and most successful at schools that meet their academic and social needs. Help your student carefully consider the options available at each college of interest in relation to what they need. You know your student best and have his best interests in mind. Work with him in a partnership to launch him successfully into the right college for his level of academic readiness and career goals.