Jump to content

Menu

Do you make your child appply to a safety school they don't want to attend?


cjzimmer1
 Share

Recommended Posts

So this college search stuff has been a chore.  DS has dragged his feet.  I would like him to take more ownership of the process but it's just not happening.  He's an introverted homebody and I think this is just so overwhelming for him he just wants to ignore it all and hope it goes away. So far we have identified 2 schools he would consider attending.  One he is sure to get admitted to but unless they offer him huge scholarships he will never be able to afford to attend (well unless he took student loan beyond the federal ones and/or parent loans that we aren't in the position to take).  This school is nice but is not a "wealthy" school by any means.  School number 2 is highly selective (but not IVY school) but DS stills exceeds their average profile.  I think he stands a reasonable chance to be admitted unless they weed out on a financial basis.  They guarantee to meet full financial need without loans for our income but they are not need-blind so obviously they can only admit just so many needing very large financial aid packages. 

 

So in our city is a HUGE university that DS could attend and live at home.  It is rated very highly for both of his possible majors.  However, he is adament that he doesn't want to attend there.  I can't really blame him as the average class size for generals in in the hundreds (did I mention he is an introverted homebody?), however because it is in state and he could live at home, he could attend with only taking the federal loans.  He said he would rather take a gap year than attend here but he has a high need for intellectual stimulation I'm not sure that is a good idea (but then again a year to mature emotionally may be to his benefit).  So my husband and I are undecided whether to make him apply to a school he doesn't want to go just to have a safety (and he may learn to like the school once he adjusts to new surroundings, he just doesn't like the idea of change at all).

 

Obviously we will keep looking for other possibilities but there is really only a couple of months at most to figure this out and it's taken us a year to get this far.

 

Thoughts?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would not make my child apply to a safety he clearly does not wish to attend. Have you discussed his reasons why he does not want to attend the local school?

 

I would, however, strongly encourage him to research safety schools and find one or several he can see himself attending if the other applications fall through or if finances do not work out. Make sure he is fully informed what you can and cannot afford.

  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My introverted homebody is currently thriving at the local community college.  By the time she finishes there, I think she will be ready to tackle a large state school.  The CC has much smaller class sizes than the intro courses at the state universities and by the time she transfers as a junior, the upper level classes at the universities will be much smaller than the intro courses. 

 

Just offering another possible option.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did not make my youngest find a safety school as there really weren't any that met what he wanted and definite affordability for us.  However, he had a Plan B he was happy with and that was taking a year off to work if Plan A didn't work out.

 

As long as he had a Plan B and knew that could be his path, I was satisfied.  Plan A worked out for him... I'll admit to having been concerned while we waited - even though Plan B was there.

 

I see no need to force attendance at a school they don't care to attend.  That's not a good recipe for good grades or great memories.  It can be a recipe for stress.

 

That's not at all the same as attending a second (or third - or 10th) "choice" school.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the kid isn't ready to take ownership of this process and do the work, he is not ready for college.

 

Parents should be minimally involved, in my opinion. Sure, you have to help procure some documents and other tasks, but the young adult should drive the process and do the work.  Otherwise, I'd say to get a job until he is ready. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Parents should be minimally involved, in my opinion. Sure, you have to help procure some documents and other tasks, but the young adult should drive the process and do the work.  Otherwise, I'd say to get a job until he is ready. 

 

With the immense complexity of the college application process, even very ambitious, motivated, college ready students can easily get overwhelmed and need a lot of parental support.

The semester DD applied to colleges was horribly stressful for the entire family. Dealing with college apps was more difficult and stressful than anything I do in my professional life as a college professor.

 

 

  • Like 26
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the kid isn't ready to take ownership of this process and do the work, he is not ready for college.

 

Parents should be minimally involved, in my opinion. Sure, you have to help procure some documents and other tasks, but the young adult should drive the process and do the work.  Otherwise, I'd say to get a job until he is ready. 

 

First, let me say that I disagree with the above.  Some students (and I had one like this) are just reluctant and don't like change.  They won't take ownership of a college search process because they don't understand it and deep down are fearful.  If you the parent feel like your child is ready for college and would succeed there academically, then I don't see anything wrong with leading them through the application process.  Real decisions of which college to attend are 6-7 months off.  My experience and that of my IRL friends is that boys, in particular, usually seem to need more help with the process.  I would also suggest that it looks like from your signature line that this is your oldest child.  If so, he probably doesn't have much sense of what college is all about.  I know my oldest didn't.  My next one, having toured many places with his brother, dropped his brother off at a dorm, etc. was much more mentally prepared for what lay ahead when it was time for him to apply.  JMHO.

 

If I were you, I would make your son apply to the local safety.  You obviously can't make him attend there, but at least it would give him options come spring time.  He could still decide on a gap year, but at least the door to the local place wouldn't be closed.  My rationale for this is that in my experience, children who are 17 yo are rapidly changing.  I saw this with my kids at that age.  What they thought they wanted in October of senior year was not the same thing they wanted come April or May -- so I say keep some options open.  I also have one IRL friend whose dd applied to only one college in the fall because she was very convinced it was the school for her.  After the holidays, she started to have regrets, and by graduation, was not at all happy with her choice.  She ended up going there for one semester and is now in the process of transferring.  All of this drama could have been avoided had she applied to a few more places last fall.

 

Best wishes during a tumultuous time!

Brenda

  • Like 19
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's wise to have many possible options in the fall, so that you will have choices come spring.  I've seen several young people neglect the "safety" part of their potential college pool, with serious consequences and a lot of scrambling as a result.  

 

Applying to college is way, way more complex now than it was when I was doing it for myself.  I don't think it's realistic to think that every kid is going to be able to manage it without significant parental oversight and involvement.  There's a whole lot to consider, a ton of questions to ask, and many possible scenarios to plan for.  This goes double if you need significant financial support to attend.  OP, be as involved as you feel is necessary to ensure your child is in a good-fit environment next year, even if his first choice (and second, and third...) falls through.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 I can't really blame him as the average class size for generals in in the hundreds (did I mention he is an introverted homebody?), 

 

On the other hand, sometimes the large classes can be good for introverts because they can be anonymous in the crowd and may be less likely to be called on to participate verbally or be expected to "get to know" their classmates.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I did not make my son apply to any particular schools, but I encouraged him to cast a pretty wide net. Part of that had to do with the fact that he was applying as a performing arts major and, at many schools, needed to be admitted to the college and then audition for the program of his choice. I was also concerned about finances, since I knew that, unless he got significant scholarships, most of the schools about which he was most enthusiastic were not feasible if we had to pay the majority of his expenses out of pocket.

 

Despite my best efforts, he more or less refused to apply to any of the state schools I wanted him to try for as financial safeties. Eventually, we had a conversation in which I explained to him that I hoped his strategy would work out and that I was 100% behind his decisions, as long as he really and truly understood that, if the right combination of college acceptance, program admission and scholarships/aid did not coalesce around any of his preferred (pricey, private) schools, his only available back-up plan would be to finish his associate's at the community college where he was already dual enrolled and then try again for transfer admission to a four-year college in a couple of years.

 

He assured me that he was fine with taking that chance, and we let him proceed as he wished. (I will also say that the looming shadow of spending another one or two years at the community college served as a nice motivator for the days when my son was having trouble working up the energy to tackle whatever application process tasks were on the agenda.)

 

In his case, it worked out. He applied to (as I recall) 11 schools, was accepted at nine and, once the dust settled, had his pick of financially feasible offers from three colleges he liked. He chose his favorite and is now happily attending his second year there.*

 

So, while I don't think I would "make" a student apply to a school he actively dislikes and does not want to attend, I would have a very honest conversation about exactly how many stars would need to align to make any of his choices workable and what the default would be if things don't work out at the schools to which he is choosing to apply.

 

 

* Interestingly, the school he is now so happily attending was one about which he was not very enthusiastic initially. We had done a quick, informal campus visit, and he was unimpressed, but I strongly encouraged him to keep the school on his list, because I really wanted him to have at least one option in state. He didn't object, because the school took the Common App, and their program audition didn't require him to prep anything he wasn't already working on for other schools. The tide turned when we did an official visit on the same day that he auditioned. He got to meet some faculty members and really see the campus in a more thorough way. By the time we were driving home that evening, all three of us (my son, my husband and me) were convinced it was the right choice for him. From that point on, we were all just kind of holding our breath hoping the details would work out. So, I'm not averse to nudging, but I don't think it's productive to force the issue.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the other hand, sometimes the large classes can be good for introverts because they can be anonymous in the crowd and may be less likely to be called on to participate verbally or be expected to "get to know" their classmates.

And if he really wants smaller classes, has he checked to make sure the local university doesn't have options to make that happen? Many large universities have all sorts of options to help avoid large classes including honors colleges, honors courses, special freshman sections of courses, etc.
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And if he really wants smaller classes, has he checked to make sure the local university doesn't have options to make that happen? Many large universities have all sorts of options to help avoid large classes including honors colleges, honors courses, special freshman sections of courses, etc.

Dig around on the website to find the listing of this semester's courses. You should be able to see the sizes of the class sections there. (You may find this under 'course catalog' or something similar.)

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

With the immense complexity of the college application process, even very ambitious, motivated, college ready students can easily get overwhelmed and need a lot of parental support.

The semester DD applied to colleges was horribly stressful for the entire family. Dealing with college apps was more difficult and stressful than anything I do in my professional life as a college professor.

This is our experience regarding to complexity. Let's just look at letters of recommendation for an example.

 

DS has needed

2 letters submitted via an online portal for a major scholarship. One never showed up despite the teacher submitting it. This required weeks of working with the scholarship reps and the teacher to get it resubmitted via email.

2 letters via another online portal

3 letters via a third online portal

3 letters via a fourth online portal

3 letters submitted with a hard copy application package (This one just changed the deadline and also shifted to requiring official score reports vs copies of the student's report.)

3 letters uploaded BY THE STUDENT to an online portal

Up to 5 letters submitted via a link from the Common Application

 

So the kid is managing various deadlines with a host of different methods of submitting similar information. Time zones and the need to often email someone 2-3 times to get a response add to the complexity. In some cases he's working with a teacher to send a letter via 5-6 different means.

 

Many schools list differing requirements depending on if you're looking at the main application requirements or the requirements for homeschoolers.

 

I love when my kid is on the ball and excited about college. But there is a ton of scutt work involved too.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we originally opened the college discussion, the big university was his first choice because he figured he could live at home and save money.  Even after visiting the school he was fine with the idea.  However to give him a view of the other side, I had him tour a small engineering school that my sister went to (but doesn't have the branch he is interested in).  He was impressed and disappointed all at the same time, he liked what he saw but disappointed it was over so fast as he wanted to explore more.  It seemed to open his eyes to the differences.  Than I ran some financial aid calculators and showed him that attending a private school can actually be cheaper than the local university.  He really really wants to do this without loans (what can I say, my practicality has rubbed off on him) and it's a given he would have loans at local university.  So between the huge factor and having to take loans he has written off the school (he may very well at his first choice school too but he is aiming high for one of their full scholarships, university is too big and too competitive for any real chance of getting something like that there).  Also he stresses about new social situations.  When we did an overnight stay at one of the other schools, he tried to back out at the last minute because he didn't want to spend the night in a room with someone he didn't know.  I made him go anyways he had a great time but the anticipation of an unfamiliar situation is hard on him.  While the university is not my first choice for him, I do believe he will be able to adapt and thrive there once he acclimates and he would have the emotional support of living at home until he reaches that social comfort level. 

 

I'm glad to hear others doing more than a little hand holding.  I pretty much ran with the process when I went but I did have the advantage of watching two older siblings go through the process.  I hadn't considered it would be harder for the first one because they didn't really understand the process but that is exactly where we are at.  I think I reminded him about 6 times about contacting teachers for letters of recommendation and he finally said "What am I suppose to ask them?".  I didn't think it was that hard but that's what every step has been like.  He really doesn't know what he should be doing when.

 

We have considered the community college but with an engineering major there are fewer general credits needed and with the number of AP's he has there was only 2-3 classes the community college offers that he could take before needed to take classes directly at the university.  It wasn't worth the bother of applying and then transferring when it wasn't even worth a semester of classes.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

I'm glad to hear others doing more than a little hand holding.  I pretty much ran with the process when I went but I did have the advantage of watching two older siblings go through the process.  I hadn't considered it would be harder for the first one because they didn't really understand the process but that is exactly where we are at.  I think I reminded him about 6 times about contacting teachers for letters of recommendation and he finally said "What am I suppose to ask them?".  I didn't think it was that hard but that's what every step has been like.  He really doesn't know what he should be doing when.

 

 

I think it can be a little paralyzing to have to write an email, asking for a favor of someone, especially if you feel like you are troubling them, even more when it feels like your fate depends on a recommendation from that person.

 

Young adults aren't necessarily born knowing how to write business letters or things like cover letters or letters of introduction.  Back in the day, I had a good amount of exposure, because I took a year of typing/business writing.  But fluency with emails and texts to friends doesn't necessarily mean fluency with writing important correspondence.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd probably print up the application and put it on his desk!  ha :)  Just try it with a light attitude of, "Why not?  Might as well keep all options open!"  As an introvert/homebody, he might enjoy being able to live at home for his first year or two, and the giant class size might even make it easier for him (he can be relatively anonymous).  Also, maybe a big university has some online options?

 

Another thing, has he ever actually been on the campus?  Maybe if you two went there for some special event or two, he might see some neat aspects to it and find it not so overwhelming.

 

A lot can change between now and May.  This may not be the school for him, but if he is really uncertain about everything, it doesn't hurt to have several options.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would not.

 

Community college is the safety of all. I'd let them know that and let them make their decision. At 18 they can work.

 

I wouldn't force a child to apply. That said, if he's just reticent and tired of the whole process, I might take him out to dinner and let him vent and see where that took us.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Another thing, has he ever actually been on the campus?  Maybe if you two went there for some special event or two, he might see some neat aspects to it and find it not so overwhelming.

 

A lot can change between now and May.  This may not be the school for him, but if he is really uncertain about everything, it doesn't hurt to have several options.

 

Yes he's been there many many times.  He's taken summer classes they offer for middle school students, he's attended a least half a dozen science outreach days there, he volunteers at every football game in the concessions area for fundraising for a different activity he is in.  My mom used to work there and we visited often, local homeschool groups take lots of field trips there because they offer tours in every department and we've visited several of their museums.  So aside from sitting in on actual classes there, I think we've got the familiarity down.  But I think  the familiarity is some of the problem because he doesn't appreciate the party atmosphere nor the extreme liberal mindset that is prevalent on campus (think naked bike rides with groups of over 50 people, and yes this is a real event although it's not part of the school it is the mentality that is there).  Now obviously with a large school there were be people of all backgrounds and interests but these are some of the less desirable to him traits of the school in addition to it just being big.

 

 

But yes I can see things changing, like I said at first this school was acceptable to him and now it's not.  Who knows maybe it will swing the other way again.  One of his friends from church is considering applying there so perhaps that will make it more palatable to him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes he's been there many many times.  He's taken summer classes they offer for middle school students, he's attended a least half a dozen science outreach days there, he volunteers at every football game in the concessions area for fundraising for a different activity he is in.  My mom used to work there and we visited often, local homeschool groups take lots of field trips there because they offer tours in every department and we've visited several of their museums.  So aside from sitting in on actual classes there, I think we've got the familiarity down.  But I think  the familiarity is some of the problem because he doesn't appreciate the party atmosphere nor the extreme liberal mindset that is prevalent on campus (think naked bike rides with groups of over 50 people, and yes this is a real event although it's not part of the school it is the mentality that is there).  Now obviously with a large school there were be people of all backgrounds and interests but these are some of the less desirable to him traits of the school in addition to it just being big.

 

 

But yes I can see things changing, like I said at first this school was acceptable to him and now it's not.  Who knows maybe it will swing the other way again.  One of his friends from church is considering applying there so perhaps that will make it more palatable to him.

 

Oh my, I wouldn't go for naked bike rides either!  Given that he is very familiar with the campus, then I guess I wouldn't push it for now since he is so adamant about it.  I'd wait it out and see how things evolve.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So the kid is managing various deadlines with a host of different methods of submitting similar information. Time zones and the need to often email someone 2-3 times to get a response add to the complexity. In some cases he's working with a teacher to send a letter via 5-6 different means.

 

Many schools list differing requirements depending on if you're looking at the main application requirements or the requirements for homeschoolers.

 

I love when my kid is on the ball and excited about college. But there is a ton of scutt work involved too.

 

Exactly, and then add on the fact that all of this is happening during a student's senior year, alongside all of the other craziness that comes with that time.

 

I know my son was carrying a full academic load, including three dual enrollment courses, prepping for two CLEPs he needed to finish up a couple of remaining high school requirements, volunteering at a local museum, singing with his choir, dancing 15 or more hours a week, preparing for and attending dance competitions (including a major one that took place Thanksgiving weekend, smack in the middle of application season), travelling for campus visits and auditions and perhaps, just occasionally, sleeping and eating and seeing his friends. And the one-two punch of applying as a performing arts major and needing to manage deadlines for in-person and video submission auditions plus choose, memorize and prepare all of the various pieces required by all of the different departments required us to devote a wall of the dining room to an oversized calendar just to make it possible for me to keep track of what needed to be done. It would have been extremely difficult for my super-busy teenager to handle solo.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can't comment on the safety school bit, but I wanted to say that an introverted homebody CAN be comfortable at a large school, so maybe work with him to find some ways to carve out a niche for himself. I'm very introverted but loved my huge school. Yes, there were a lot of people, but really, the campus didn't feel crowded or huge; you didn't see all forty thousand undergrads at once (except at football games, haha). I was in a ridiculously small major (my year, we graduated three out of ten thousand or whatever, and there were none the year before), which meant that I got a lot of personal attention from both the advisor and the upperclasswomen when I was a freshman (although if he already has an intended major, this might not help). I was also part of the honors program, which helped shrink the school and get that personal touch as well. All the advantages (libraries, programs, activities, flexibility to cross disciplines, dining options, etc.) of a large state school, plus all the advantages of a small personal program. (And some chuckles -- one semester I took a large basic biology class of about 1000 people, and the following semester, I took a graduate-level seminar, led by my advisor, with three other students -- kind of surreal the contrast between the two.)

 

A couple of things I did notice about the size. Sometimes those big classes were nice because they let you coast a little and not have to be "on" all the time. That 1000 person biology class? I was taking it while writing my senior thesis, taking multiple other classes that weren't my strong areas, and working three jobs, while maintaining a serious dating relationship. It was nice to just have an easy class with no class participation grade. In contrast, most of my upper level classes for my major were 20-30 person classes, where participation counted, and the professor noticed if I didn't show up. As introvert, I felt a lot of pressure to make sure I contributed even when I didn't feel like it. Also, our campus was big enough to have everything. You could be anything you wanted, and you wouldn't be alone. We had partiers, and we had lots of Christian outreach and fellowship groups, and plenty in between.

 

So it's not all bad for us introverts. Maybe he could find a way to become attached to the school? (Otoh, my introverted brother set foot on my campus as a high school student and was completely overwhelmed. So ymmv, of course, but I wanted to offer some positive encouragement.)

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing you might mention to him is that the giant classes might be the perfect thing for him.  He could get his intellectual stimulation, and also blend into the crowd.  I am an introvert, and I loved the giant classes.  Also, even though the classes are so big, as long as you don't wait until the last minute to ask questions, they are exceedingly helpful.  

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We made our ds apply to the "safety" University that's 15 min away and that's where he is attending now. He was NOT thrilled with it until we went to their Engineering School day, took a tour of the Engineering Honors Dorm and met with Professors in his major. We also found that the Honors kids have smaller classes. Classes like Engineering Calc 1 which usually have 200 kids in them, have a smaller Honors Calc 1 with 20 or 30. Those things combined with the massive scholarships they offered won him over.

 

He is young (just 17) and is living on campus in the Engineering Honors dorm and we have found that the close proximity to home has been a huge blessing.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, let me say that I disagree with the above.  Some students (and I had one like this) are just reluctant and don't like change.  They won't take ownership of a college search process because they don't understand it and deep down are fearful.  If you the parent feel like your child is ready for college and would succeed there academically, then I don't see anything wrong with leading them through the application process.  Real decisions of which college to attend are 6-7 months off.  My experience and that of my IRL friends is that boys, in particular, usually seem to need more help with the process.  I would also suggest that it looks like from your signature line that this is your oldest child.  If so, he probably doesn't have much sense of what college is all about.  I know my oldest didn't.  My next one, having toured many places with his brother, dropped his brother off at a dorm, etc. was much more mentally prepared for what lay ahead when it was time for him to apply.  JMHO.

 

If I were you, I would make your son apply to the local safety.  You obviously can't make him attend there, but at least it would give him options come spring time.  He could still decide on a gap year, but at least the door to the local place wouldn't be closed.  My rationale for this is that in my experience, children who are 17 yo are rapidly changing.  I saw this with my kids at that age.  What they thought they wanted in October of senior year was not the same thing they wanted come April or May -- so I say keep some options open.  I also have one IRL friend whose dd applied to only one college in the fall because she was very convinced it was the school for her.  After the holidays, she started to have regrets, and by graduation, was not at all happy with her choice.  She ended up going there for one semester and is now in the process of transferring.  All of this drama could have been avoided had she applied to a few more places last fall.

 

Best wishes during a tumultuous time!

Brenda

I absolutely agree with this. My Mom and I totally drove the process of my brother applying to colleges. We even typed the application for him while he wrote his essays. He got into Yale and graduated with High Honors. I agree with Regentrude--it's a very complicated process and can be daunting for a 17 year old to manage.
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would not make my child apply to a safety he clearly does not wish to attend. Have you discussed his reasons why he does not want to attend the local school?

 

I would, however, strongly encourage him to research safety schools and find one or several he can see himself attending if the other applications fall through or if finances do not work out. Make sure he is fully informed what you can and cannot afford.

This is how we handle it. "Here are your statistics. Here is the amount of money you have to work with from us. Would you like help researching schools that have your major/program and some of your wants but also are financial and academic safeties?"

 

So far the two graduates and the senior have all been amenable with help. Sometimes figuring out why they need a safety and whom that safety should be can be quite overwhelming with over 3000 four year institutions in the USA.  We have talked a lot about student loans here as well and the need to accept the school that ultimately keeps the student loan bill down to the federally backed ones...no parent plus loans, no private Vanguard/Sallie Mae loans. They have also been coached about meeting scholarship deadlines.

 

It's not the same world as when I applied to college when things were a bit less competitive and applicants generally were all put in the "scholarship pool" and only occasionally had additional hoops to jump such as auditioning for the music department or providing an art portfolio, etc. It's more tricky these days so I find the kids need more guidance than dh and I did.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

With the immense complexity of the college application process, even very ambitious, motivated, college ready students can easily get overwhelmed and need a lot of parental support.

The semester DD applied to colleges was horribly stressful for the entire family. Dealing with college apps was more difficult and stressful than anything I do in my professional life as a college professor.

Well, I respect you a lot, and understand you are a British citizen, so maybe your entire experience was different.

 

Personally, I had no involvement from a parent at all, nor did my spouse, when we did the whole college thing, back in the day. 

 

My oldest did it all alone, insisted on doing so,  and would not have had it any other way (more in the pipeline, so that's our first experience).   That one got into the university of choice. and jumped through many, many hoops to get it done.  As mentioned, I did things as directed, insofar as retrieving and forwarding documents, and other tasks. 

 

So, YMMV.   I laugh to think of this oldest one, who is a force to be reckoned with, by the way, allowing anyone else to drive the process or manage anything at all. 

We just don't roll that way, I guess. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it can be a little paralyzing to have to write an email, asking for a favor of someone, especially if you feel like you are troubling them, even more when it feels like your fate depends on a recommendation from that person.

 

Young adults aren't necessarily born knowing how to write business letters or things like cover letters or letters of introduction.  Back in the day, I had a good amount of exposure, because I took a year of typing/business writing.  But fluency with emails and texts to friends doesn't necessarily mean fluency with writing important correspondence.

I agree.  We have to teach them how to conduct business.  This is important.  Then we make them do it.  They can write notes about what they are going to say.  I model it. Then I expect them to do it.  Late teens is pretty late to do this, but better late than never. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would have your ds apply if for no other reason that the school is in town. One never knows what might happen to prevent a student from going off to school. He may also change his mind upon discovering friends who are going there (more than he knows of, I bet) and/or upon discovering some great opportunities in 'learning communities' on campus either in honors or in his major. Take the tours, go to the open houses, etc, *especially* since it was on his radar at one time.

 

Our kids applied to the local school even though they didn't want to go but appreciated having it as a back up. The fact that it was a safety was gravy.

 

Speaking as an introvert, I wish I had some large classes when I was in university. My classes were all 30 students, max, and I was frequently called on in class, dying a little inside each time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I respect you a lot, and understand you are a British citizen, so maybe your entire experience was different.

 

Personally, I had no involvement from a parent at all, nor did my spouse, when we did the whole college thing, back in the day. 

My oldest did it all alone, insisted on doing so,  and would not have had it any other way (more in the pipeline, so that's our first experience).   That one got into the university of choice. and jumped through many, many hoops to get it done.  As mentioned, I did things as directed, insofar as retrieving and forwarding documents, and other tasks. 

So, YMMV.   I laugh to think of this oldest one, who is a force to be reckoned with, by the way, allowing anyone else to drive the process or manage anything at all. 

We just don't roll that way, I guess. 

 

I am not British, I'm German, but an American citizen. Growing up in East Germany, I did not have the privilege of selecting among  different schools in different locations; we were allowed to submit one wish for one major at one school, and the government allocated the slots according to their policies. So no, my personal experience does not compare.

 

I am glad your oldest was able to go through the process on her own. Our experience with DD was grueling.

Probably the most difficult step was selecting among the many different schools the ones to which to apply. It can easily make a student freeze in fear of making the wrong choice. Knowing that one has the stats for a top school and but that it is nevertheless akin to playing the lottery and coming up with a strategy to hedge one's bets is another aspect that was very stressful for us. I imagine the situation will be much easier for DS who is not attempting to attend a school of this caliber.

 

The problem was not the writing of the essays (I think she had to write over 20, as most schools required not only the Common App but also up to five school specific writing supplements), the sending of emails, watching deadlines, filling out forms. That was tedious and a lot of work, but she did that all herself. I did not read the essays, contact any schools, check up on deadlines.

 

But getting over the hump to decide on a selection of schools with strong programs in her desired majors, creating a good mix of reach and safety, encouraging through the rejections and the waiting until positive decisions at the end of March, that required a lot of parental involvement for us.

 

ETA: And then of course there was the direct responsibility for the school portion of the newly rolled out version of the Common Application... a nightmare to figure out and get to work (which was a very common sentiment among homeschooling parents that fall).

  • Like 13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was almost completely hands off in the college app process with my oldest, a '13 graduate.  I regret that decision.  She ended up in a fine place for her, but we could have definitely done better financially if I had been watching more closely.  There were doors that closed that she probably would have enjoyed going through. Oh well.

 

I also handled my college apps myself back in the day, as did most people then, I think.  I definitely could have done better with more oversight!  I was a National Merit Finalist, but did not research my scholarship options at all, and graduated with a fair amount in loans. 

 

So my second daughter graduates this year, and she is getting help (which she welcomes.) She's a busy kid, extremely caught up in her sports and academics, and we live in geographically isolated area.  It was hard for her to wrap her head around the various college options, and she wasn't super interested in researching, though I see her getting much more invested as the months pass! I know she will do well, and I'm glad she will have plenty of choices (as a wide net is being cast here too, for financial reasons, and also because of her initial uncertainty about what sort of school she wanted.)

 

As someone said above, I would probably push the application to the safety school (technically a safety school should be one that can be afforded and that the student wants to attend, but I understand what you mean in this case), but would not force attendance.  The student may eventually be pleased to have it as an option when all is said and done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree.  We have to teach them how to conduct business.  This is important.  Then we make them do it.  They can write notes about what they are going to say.  I model it. Then I expect them to do it.  Late teens is pretty late to do this, but better late than never. 

 

Well yes, I do expect him to do it and have been modeling it for many years.  I might even say that he is doing pretty well with it.  

 

That doesn't mean that the enormity of what is riding on some of the correspondence doesn't weigh on him.  Nor does modeling and expectation turn a complex process into a simpler one.  One requirement at a time he is working through it, corresponding with military officers, congressional staff, and college professors as needed.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

OP,  the local university options aren't great.  Even so, we are encouraging ds to apply to the local state school, in part because he will have largely maxed out the suitable academics available at the local community college.  There might still be some semesters of calculus for him to take, but he will have completed the highest college chemistry and I'm not sure if they will offer calculus based physics next year.

 

So the local university is the school he could go to if other options don't come together or if he should have an injury that would prevent him from living far from home.

 

We live in the most remote island archipelago in the world, so being a couple hours drive from home doesn't work for us.  It's local or a 6-12 hour flight.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding student led vs adult led apps, IME both at home and seeing thousands of kids at school, it's almost always best if a knowledgeable adult helps out.  This is not always a parent if the parent is not up on the process.

 

Students (and non-knowledgeable parents) are often swayed more by sales techniques (that free t-shirt!!!), location (it's right across town from us/it's in a dream city), or sports teams (Top 20 in football automatically means top school, right?).

 

Knowledgeable adults know to check out programs (where have recent grads gone/what sort of classes are offered?), finances (can we afford it?), and tend to pay more attention to important deadlines.

 

I feel for students/families who don't have knowledgeable folks to glean info from.

 

Some students are "go-getter" enough to figure it all out themselves and end up at the best spot for them.  Many others end up with high loans or unaffordable choices (most common mistake), poor fits, and/or mediocre degrees wondering why that degree didn't lead to their dream job (second most common mistake).  It's not surprising that many students have a fear of "getting it wrong."  It happens.

 

Having someone to glean info from =/= doing it all for them.  There's a happy medium.

  • Like 13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My DC attend/attended public high school. There is an expectation that parents will be involved. I attended the same school over 30 years ago. The expectation of parent involvement did not exist then. Dh keeps saying we should not do anything. Honestly, we just have to look at my oldest and know based on experience that won't work. However, on the school blevel before counselors will put together transcripts and school packs there is a huge form titled "parent information". I point to that and tell dh, dd can't apply and have transcripts if we don't do our part. Besides a lot of general stuff there are a few extended questions for parents to answer. Basically, its to get extra info that the students might not talk about--jobs, family stress, fun interests, etc. It helps the counselor put together recommendations. There are over 600 students in dds graduating class. Anyway, I think sitting down going through the process really makes the parent think about what the child is going through. To get dd started, we started visiting schools when dd was in 9th grade. I work many weekends so I knew there was no way I could spend a whole spring or fall and get that done. Doing it early and spaced out over time really helped. That visit we did was fall of junior year. The gradual process helped her get used to the idea and be ready to take over some stuff now. She started looking at applications in August and getting my advice for essays. She was in the lead, but if I had not laid the groundwork with those college visits I'm certain she would be dragging her feet now and I would be pulling her through. I helped dd warm up to this point, a lot of kids need that warm up. Even if that student doesn't need help starting, some involvement is expected, so I wouldn't stay out of it completely.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would ask that if he doesn't want to apply to the safety school, would he then be okay with attending the local CC for two years instead.  If he prefers that option, and 2 years at CC and two years in-state would be affordable, then the application isn't necessary.  I'm guessing he would not prefer this and then I would ask him to apply just as a back up.  The choice of whether to attend or not would be his, but at least he'd then have the option should he not get better offers.  I'd also encourage him to find a true safety, affordable, easy enough to get accepted, and he'd like to attend.  Not all students end up with a true safety, but in that case you have to at least encourage applying to a wide variety of schools to get the best chances for good options.

 

I'd schedule a visit at the local university and arrange for him to sit in on classes in his major.  The more familiar he becomes with the university, the more he'll be able to picture himself attending there.  As he sounds like a really strong student, he'll hopefully have some very nice options when acceptances and financial aid offers arrive, but a strong local university can be a nice safety.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am not British, I'm German, but an American citizen. Growing up in East Germany, I did not have the privilege of selecting among  different schools in different locations; we were allowed to submit one wish for one major at one school, and the government allocated the slots according to their policies. So no, my personal experience does not compare.

 

I am glad your oldest was able to go through the process on her own. Our experience with DD was grueling.

Probably the most difficult step was selecting among the many different schools the ones to which to apply. It can easily make a student freeze in fear of making the wrong choice. Knowing that one has the stats for a top school and but that it is nevertheless akin to playing the lottery and coming up with a strategy to hedge one's bets is another aspect that was very stressful for us. I imagine the situation will be much easier for DS who is not attempting to attend a school of this caliber.

 

The problem was not the writing of the essays (I think she had to write over 20, as most schools required not only the Common App but also up to five school specific writing supplements), the sending of emails, watching deadlines, filling out forms. That was tedious and a lot of work, but she did that all herself. I did not read the essays, contact any schools, check up on deadlines.

 

But getting over the hump to decide on a selection of schools with strong programs in her desired majors, creating a good mix of reach and safety, encouraging through the rejections and the waiting until positive decisions at the end of March, that required a lot of parental involvement for us.

 

ETA: And then of course there was the direct responsibility for the school portion of the newly rolled out version of the Common Application... a nightmare to figure out and get to work (which was a very common sentiment among homeschooling parents that fall).

Sorry, my mistake on the nationality.  I did remember the right continent, anyway.  ;)

 

I do know the German system works very differently. 

 

I also recognize that even my own kids are different from each other and more support may be needed with others.   Mine just picked out the schools and demonstrated why they were viable choices and then did it all.  There were not that many though.    I guess it could get very complicated if one applied to ten or twenty schools.   

 

Mine had attended an on-campus school the last couple of years of high school, so I didn't have to do that school portion, as all grades were gathered by this school and presented on the transcript (whether college classes or other schools), so that was handy. 

 

At any rate, the different perspectives on this are interesting.  Being a person who makes decisions and makes things happen - and having at least one kid who is exactly the same, I guess I expected that more kids were like this when it came to college.  I can't imagine having to prod the kid along. That's really what I was responding to in my comment.   

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well yes, I do expect him to do it and have been modeling it for many years.  I might even say that he is doing pretty well with it.  

 

That doesn't mean that the enormity of what is riding on some of the correspondence doesn't weigh on him.  Nor does modeling and expectation turn a complex process into a simpler one.  One requirement at a time he is working through it, corresponding with military officers, congressional staff, and college professors as needed.

Well, it's always good to get a second or even third set of eyes on important documents.  I have always stressed that as well, and even for myself, if it is really important, I will make sure my spouse and perhaps my oldest reads through it as well.  That's just wisdom, as we don't always catch our own mistakes, especially when we have been staring at the page for awhile. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, it's always good to get a second or even third set of eyes on important documents. I have always stressed that as well, and even for myself, if it is really important, I will make sure my spouse and perhaps my oldest reads through it as well. That's just wisdom, as we don't always catch our own mistakes, especially when we have been staring at the page for awhile.

You make a great point here. Taking the lead on something doesn't have to mean doing the whole thing alone. Dh and I have simply read and written a lot more than ds has. It is helpful to have us look at something and point out where it might not read as intended.

 

I even have someone read some of my emails because I default to a brusque that is harsher than I intend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

School applications were a partnership. Her filling them out and me administrating/keeping up with deadlines.

 

Did applied to her safeties before we visited. When we did, she hated them so much that she decided that the local CC was going to be her safety rather than the 2 state schools. It would have saved us $100 if we had visited before the app deadline.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Regarding student led vs adult led apps, IME both at home and seeing thousands of kids at school, it's almost always best if a knowledgeable adult helps out. This is not always a parent if the parent is not up on the process.

 

Students (and non-knowledgeable parents) are often swayed more by sales techniques (that free t-shirt!!!), location (it's right across town from us/it's in a dream city), or sports teams (Top 20 in football automatically means top school, right?).

 

Knowledgeable adults know to check out programs (where have recent grads gone/what sort of classes are offered?), finances (can we afford it?), and tend to pay more attention to important deadlines.

 

I feel for students/families who don't have knowledgeable folks to glean info from.

 

Some students are "go-getter" enough to figure it all out themselves and end up at the best spot for them. Many others end up with high loans or unaffordable choices (most common mistake), poor fits, and/or mediocre degrees wondering why that degree didn't lead to their dream job (second most common mistake). It's not surprising that many students have a fear of "getting it wrong." It happens.

 

Having someone to glean info from =/= doing it all for them. There's a happy medium.

 

If any of you saw my thread about getting my son's documents in order for a Real ID from the DMV, you'll know I'm about hyperventilating right now. :) There are so many opportunities that can fall through the cracks, it makes my head spin. I nearly gave myself a panic attack thinking I missed the deadline for PSAT this year. Why didn't the school notify me!? They knew I wanted him to take the PSAT. Oh, that's right PSAT10 is Feb-March.

 

I'm in the same boat. Luckily, he's only a sophomore, so things change, but we have a mediocre university 15 minutes away that I hope to use as a safety.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I also recognize that even my own kids are different from each other and more support may be needed with others.   Mine just picked out the schools and demonstrated why they were viable choices and then did it all.  There were not that many though.    I guess it could get very complicated if one applied to ten or twenty schools.   

 

Mine had attended an on-campus school the last couple of years of high school, so I didn't have to do that school portion, as all grades were gathered by this school and presented on the transcript (whether college classes or other schools), so that was handy. 

IMHO, it's not that your oldest did it all, it's that the guidance counselor at his B&M school did all the stuff a homeschool parent has to do. There's a lot of stuff that the school (or the parent) MUST provide for a college application. Neither a B&M based student nor a homeschooler can do this stuff on their own no matter how much of a self-starter they may be. They can't produce their own transcript or GC's letter.

 

A homeschool parent is also responsible for being their student's guidance counselor. It makes perfect sense that a homeschool parent must be more involved in the college selection process than a parent of an outsourced kid. Schools do provide college nights, alumni visits and some (perhaps quite a lot) of guidance about selecting an appropriate college. If you homeschool through high school you have to provide this information on your own.

  • Like 11
Link to comment
Share on other sites

After moving to the US to get married, I only applied to the University of Texas at Dallas (which has a higher incoming freshman SAT average than UT Austin, the flagship), which was where my wife applied. I applied in, I dunno, April? I took the GED in March or April, so I obviously applied very late (I took the SAT in January). I ended up with a full scholarship (which surprised me, especially given I applied that late).

 

So, take-away... do you have to apply this early for your local school? I think UTD prefers if you apply earlier than April, and if you want to get in their honors program you *have* to apply earlier, but local state universities don't always require applications as early as the fall (I suspect they hope to get some students who failed to pick a safety and are just finding out in the spring that they need to scramble and get in somewhere).

 

Also, if your son ends up not being admitted to the universities he wants to attend, he can apply elsewhere (probably including your local U, though I think there are some schools that only do fall admissions) to be admitted for the spring semester, rather than wait until next fall. Or do community college, or work, or w/e. It's not the end of the world if he has to do something else for 1-2 semesters because he didn't pick a safety.

 

So, anyway, I probably wouldn't force him to apply. I'd strongly recommend applying to a safety, but sometimes learning a lesson the hard way is better... including that mom isn't always going to be there to rescue him from poor decisions, and that as a grown-up, he really needs to start being responsible for himself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So this college search stuff has been a chore.  DS has dragged his feet.  I would like him to take more ownership of the process but it's just not happening.  He's an introverted homebody and I think this is just so overwhelming for him he just wants to ignore it all and hope it goes away. So far we have identified 2 schools he would consider attending.  One he is sure to get admitted to but unless they offer him huge scholarships he will never be able to afford to attend (well unless he took student loan beyond the federal ones and/or parent loans that we aren't in the position to take).  This school is nice but is not a "wealthy" school by any means.  School number 2 is highly selective (but not IVY school) but DS stills exceeds their average profile.  I think he stands a reasonable chance to be admitted unless they weed out on a financial basis.  They guarantee to meet full financial need without loans for our income but they are not need-blind so obviously they can only admit just so many needing very large financial aid packages. 

 

So in our city is a HUGE university that DS could attend and live at home.  It is rated very highly for both of his possible majors.  However, he is adament that he doesn't want to attend there.  I can't really blame him as the average class size for generals in in the hundreds (did I mention he is an introverted homebody?), however because it is in state and he could live at home, he could attend with only taking the federal loans.  He said he would rather take a gap year than attend here but he has a high need for intellectual stimulation I'm not sure that is a good idea (but then again a year to mature emotionally may be to his benefit).  So my husband and I are undecided whether to make him apply to a school he doesn't want to go just to have a safety (and he may learn to like the school once he adjusts to new surroundings, he just doesn't like the idea of change at all).

 

Obviously we will keep looking for other possibilities but there is really only a couple of months at most to figure this out and it's taken us a year to get this far.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

I have a homebody introvert attending a state university.  It's pretty big.  She just said today (again), "I love going to a big school.  You can be so anonymous."  She also doesn't think she'd like a dorm situation where she can't just be at home and "recharge" in silence.  A big school, close to home so she could live here, was abslutely perfect  for her and we NEVER would have dreamed that.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a homebody introvert attending a state university.  It's pretty big.  She just said today (again), "I love going to a big school.  You can be so anonymous."  She also doesn't think she'd like a dorm situation where she can't just be at home and "recharge" in silence.  A big school, close to home so she could live here, was abslutely perfect  for her and we NEVER would have dreamed that.

 

As I think I mentioned earlier, I am an introvert.  I never understood the appeal of going away to college and living in a dorm.  That sounds like a level on Dante's hell.  It seems obvious now, but I never connected my disgust with the dorm idea to being an introvert.  Of course, while in college I never met anyone who actually in a dorm who liked the idea either.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IMHO, it's not that your oldest did it all, it's that the guidance counselor at his B&M school did all the stuff a homeschool parent has to do. There's a lot of stuff that the school (or the parent) MUST provide for a college application. Neither a B&M based student nor a homeschooler can do this stuff on their own no matter how much of a self-starter they may be. They can't produce their own transcript or GC's letter.

 

A homeschool parent is also responsible for being their student's guidance counselor. It makes perfect sense that a homeschool parent must be more involved in the college selection process than a parent of an outsourced kid. Schools do provide college nights, alumni visits and some (perhaps quite a lot) of guidance about selecting an appropriate college. If you homeschool through high school you have to provide this information on your own.

Not really.  All the "guidance counselor" did was forward official transcripts when and as directed to do so.  That's it.  This one was not home schooled throughout high school, by the way, so that may have been unclear.   We had to handle procuring AP official records, SAT, and ACT records, forwarding them, etc. 

 

Maybe other people have more involved guidance counselors who do more.  I don't know.   

 

I do know that we did most of the work here, insofar as determining what was necessary and getting it done. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As I think I mentioned earlier, I am an introvert.  I never understood the appeal of going away to college and living in a dorm.  That sounds like a level on Dante's hell.  It seems obvious now, but I never connected my disgust with the dorm idea to being an introvert.  Of course, while in college I never met anyone who actually in a dorm who liked the idea either.  

Agree with you.  A dorm sounds like a nightmare, and I arranged my university years so I never had to live in one. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...