You would not abandon your teenager to choose and purchase a car-right? There are consumer, safety, quality and cost issues to oversee. Imagine what could happen if you turned your teen loose on a car lot with no supervision, direction or guidelines to purchase an item that could cost $30,000 or more?
My question to parents is: If you would not let your child drive a lemon-why would you let your child attend one? For this discussion, a lemon is a car or a college that is not a good fit, over-budget and may not deliver what is needed.
While many teens have great judgement and organization skills, just as many are in a situation where their executive function has not fully kicked in. This means they might not consider all of the variables before making a decision and the decision may be less based on logic than you like. As parents, provide parameters in geography, cost, safety and other variables to provide a framework for college choice and selection. Unchecked, students can choose colleges from which they will never graduate and/or for which they will incur more debt than is reasonable.