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Storygirl

How being full pay affects thinking about college

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2 hours ago, perkybunch said:

Gently, does she know that you think that?  It looks to me like you've decided that since she has no other goals than to do the next thing, that you won't pay for 4-year university.  It's your money.  But does she know that unless she shows some enthusiasm and picks a direction, that she won't go?  Have you told her and is she okay with that?

Yes, we have discussed it quite a lot. She has very little to say in response, other than, "okay."

It's not that we won't pay for a four-year university. It's that we don't think it's wise to pay a fortune for a four-year university degree for someone who perhaps could prepare for life in a much less expensive way by getting a two year degree (or by following another alternate path). There is a two-year option that we think would work well for her. And she could consider some lower cost four-year state schools.

Because it will cost us a fortune. And we have three other children to educate. And retirement to save for. And not just retirement, but the likelihood of long-term care for Alzheimer's (runs strongly in my family). And one child who has enough disability that he may not be fully self-supporting as an adult. And so on and so forth.

It's the whole picture of our finances, not just that we don't want to pay for her to have a four-year degree. I'd love for her to have a four-year degree if that is the best plan for her, and we would be willing to pay for it.

She has been told all of this. I'm sure she's tired of hearing about it, actually. But has she taken it in, and does she really understand it? I'm not sure she really comprehends the vastness of the money that would be required, though we have discussed numbers.

I was caught by surprise my freshman year when my dad expected me to pay for some things, but he had never had one conversation with me about what he expected or what I should save up for. I vowed I would never do that to my children.

If anything, I communicate too much with her, and she gets tired of hearing it.

Edited by Storygirl
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Let me preface this by saying that I don't have high school age kids, so just as the only perfect parents are the ones who haven't yet had kids, I may be changing my tune in five years.

i agree that not all kids are driven, but the more general question for me is: how much ownership do we need to see from our kids before we support them in an activity? This is something I already struggle with, even with my 10 year old. He is a compliant child, and also has a wide variety of interests. He will say yes to most things that I pitch to him, just because it sounds cool to him. But, I won't continue to pay for an activity, take time out of my day to drive to/from the activity, etc. unless I see some real internal motivation from him. Showing up to guitar or soccer class once per week isn't enough. If you don't show me that you're interested by practicing your instrument outside of class, or kicking the ball around in your free time, I'm not going to continue it.  And, lo and behold, generally once we stop the activity, he doesn't even miss it. He was never personally invested in it. And, that's ok. You have to try things out to figure out what to invest your time and energy in -- there are only so many hours in the day.

So, I guess that's the issue for me. Knowing your child as you do, what level of ownership do you think is realistic from her? What level of ownership have you seen to date? What level of ownership will you require? And, perhaps these will be different answers for CC vs a 4 year state school vs a gap year vs a private college with a big sticker price attached to it. 

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1 hour ago, madteaparty said:

There seem to be the two separate issues here, with the threshold one being whether you think a 4 year college education is the best route and if your child is able to succeed in one. If you do, I suppose I will be harsh too: I am trying hard to think of a better use of $, if one has it, than education for one’s children. I mean, honest question, what is it for? 

I address some of the financial issues in the post I just wrote previous to this one.

We've spent a lot of money on private school tuition so far (a lot!), so it's not that I think funding education is not worth it.

But the world is not wide open to her financially.

The two-year degree that we think would be great for her would be $14,000 for tuition. TOTAL for two years. And she could live with a family member in that area. And PTA's make a good initial salary.

Or we could spent up to $50,000 PLUS PER YEAR sending her to board at a four-year university, for a total of $200,000 or more, without financial aid. When she doesn't have a plan for what to study. My alma mater would be over $60,000 per year.

And there are, of course, options in between.

It's such a humongous difference. We have to weigh it. We absolutely have to. It's not about whether we value education or not.

Edited by Storygirl
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Think .... if all four of my children go to four-year college, and they are free to choose from all options, and they all choose expensive schools, it could cost us almost ONE MILLION dollars to send them to college.

They can't choose from any and all options. We have to determine our limits. It's a shocking amount of money that is on the line.

If we are to pay a high dollar price, there needs to be a reason that that choice is better than the others. So DD would need to have a reason for going to the particular school. Just wanting to is not a good enough reason.

Right now she is not even at that point in her thinking; she is not even thinking about what schools she might like to look at.

Edited by Storygirl
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41 minutes ago, klmama said:

This is our story, almost exactly.  We determined what we would be willing to pay and helped them find the schools that would best fit what we saw as their strengths, even if initially they didn't think they wanted to study what we thought they were best suited for.  One started at the local CC and then transferred to a university and has chosen to pursue a field that is a perfect fit.  The other one went directly to the 4-year university and is loving learning more than any of us ever dreamed possible, although dc talks often about switching majors and hasn't yet decided which one it will be.  

This is the kind of process I expected to have and am trying to have with her. She is so passive, though, and is not participating, other than to say that, yes, she wants to go to college.

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13 hours ago, Storygirl said:

Part of what prompted me to post this thread today was the conversation I had with her last night, where I talked about how she is going to have to consider colleges according to her test scores and the cost. Some of the state colleges would be appropriate to look at. I can suggest things like this to her, and then.... nothing. She doesn't respond much and never follows through with doing research. I did require her to research some colleges last summer during her break from school. She acted like it was just an assignment and did not show any excitement about any of it. Then this fall, a teacher at school had them research colleges as part of their financial literacy unit. She sighed about having to do more of it and did not even mention any schools that she looked into.

I'll point her towards ideas to consider. But it's always my idea, and she never seems to actually think about it.

 

 

13 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

She has been told all of this. I'm sure she's tired of hearing about it, actually. But has she taken it in, and does she really understand it? I'm not sure she really comprehends the vastness of the money that would be required, though we have discussed numbers.

...

If anything, I communicate too much with her, and she gets tired of hearing it.

 

We are in the full pay category and my firstborn DS14 is extremely quiet. I think your firstborn might have fatigue from all the information and discussion about college finances and end up tuning out.

For my DS14, he actually listens and ponders but it is not obvious because he only ask questions when he feels a need to. So he would suddenly/randomly ask us if college A is a feasible choice. He also knows we would have two in college as his only sibling is a year younger. 

What DS14 finds helpful instead of actual figures is that he knows the CSUs (California State University) would be very affordable, UCs would affordable and private universities would be a stretch. We have half your number of kids to pay for so we could be more generous in the amount we could help per child. 

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My parents told me they could afford the State U, and if I wanted to go anywhere else I could make up the difference - scholarships, working, loans, whatever I could figure out.  I went to the State U.  I loved it there.

When my kids were young, I didn't think we'd end up doing the same thing, but that's how it's turned out.  I have been very appreciative to have graduated debt-free, and I wanted to be able to give that gift to my kids as well.  But we don't have unlimited funds.  We will have no retirement other than what we save, and three kids to pay for.   So we said we could pay the equivalent of what the flagship U was.  One dd had super-excellent test scores (34 ACT) and between that and being a girl going into CompSci and also having otherwise great stats, thought there might be some hope that some other private college would come close in price to public - I keep hearing that here.  But, no.  She got in with merit aid anywhere, but even $15-20K off of $55-65K does not bring the price tag in range with the State U at full pay.  I think this might have been improved if she'd picked schools in the south or midwest; it seems like they are cheaper in general and hand out way more merit aid, but she didn't want to go that farm from home. One school did come in as barely affordable for us, but she'd have had to take out loans, and she decided herself that she'd rather not, so she's going to graduate not only debt-free but with money in the bank (coop program!).

The other two are not going to get any more merit aid than that and decided to not even roll the dice.  One started at a smaller StateU with an even lower price tag, but then transferred to the flagship.  Youngest did DE and has now switched to full-time this semester to take advantage of the guaranteed transfer agreement and will be transferring to the flagship in the fall - that wasn't even the original plan, but it's turned out that way.

If your state university is a good school with a decent selection of majors (ours is really big, so has pretty much everything), that might be a good way to go.  Looking around now, I actually took for granted the wide variety of offerings, I realize in retrospect that I would have had way less choice at a smaller school.

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13 minutes ago, Arcadia said:

 

We are in the full pay category and my firstborn DS14 is extremely quiet. I think your firstborn might have fatigue from all the information and discussion about college finances and end up tuning out.

 

This is possible. Of course, we are not talking about it constantly, because we have other things going on. But I can talk too much. I also ask questions to try to draw her out. Her responses are minimal. She can be chatty about other things, so it seems this particular topic closes her down.

I suspect that she doesn't know what to think or do, and so she doesn't think about it and doesn't do anything.

My talking to her about it is obviously not helping her at this point, so I am contemplating setting it all aside for a good period of time, hoping that she will somehow get to a point of being more ready.  My "assignments" to look up colleges, etc. were intended to help her, but haven't seemed to.

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10 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

If your state university is a good school with a decent selection of majors (ours is really big, so has pretty much everything), that might be a good way to go.  Looking around now, I actually took for granted the wide variety of offerings, I realize in retrospect that I would have had way less choice at a smaller school.

I think state schools are not a bad option. Our flagship is one of the largest universities in the nation. She would actually be unlikely to be admitted there. Back in the 80s, the flagship was a common fall-back option for people who didn't get in elsewhere; now it is highly competitive. If she wanted to go there, she would have to start at a satellite campus and hope to transfer in.

But there are many other state universities here. I made a list the other night of schools ranked by cost of attendance (since that is the issue we are currently grappling with), and there are 14 state four-year universities in my state. Plus community colleges, technical schools, etc.

So there are many options. If we were to decide that she has to choose a state school, she will still have many options. Even some of the state schools have testing standards that she will not meet, however. Those test scores are going to be a big factor for her.

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Like others have said, looking at things as far as whether or not it is a good flt and a good use of funds is not "limiting her choices."  Your questions are perfectly reasonable.  The "college experience" of a 4-year school is not the be-all and end-all of life.   Just a caution ... Her "okay" response may be part of her feeling overwhelmed with the choices and options.  It may not be a lack of motivation, but not knowing where or how to begin and feeling pressure.  

My oldest is a very high achieving kid ... came out of the womb as the "absent-minded professor" type.    But, he was completely overwhelmed about college choices and didn't see himself as having the maturity for going away to college.  But, I knew that he would be the type that, if he were to go to school locally, he would go to class and come right home and not really stretch himself.  He was one who NEEDED to get pushed out of the nest to build a life for himself.  I imagined having a 40-year old genius living in my basement not doing anything with his life if I did not take the bull by the horns.  So, i scheduled several college visits his junior year at several different types of colleges.  Going on these visits helped him see himself at these schools.  Since he was pretty likely to go into the sciences, we had him meet with professors and attend a class or two.  That helped him become more energized about going away to college.   If he had been more motivated as far as building a social life and had not pretty much exhausted the lower level classes, I would not have pushed for him to go away to college.  It was the best decision for him!  He was academically gifted and could have gotten into an Ivy if he had wanted that.  I knew that would not have been a wise use of funds because we had other children and our own needs, so, I guess you could say that we "limited" him there by taking those off the table.  I also knew that he was on the shy side and sometimes not able to self-advocate.  So, we limited his choices geographically.  This kid even needed some pushing and guidance for applying to grad school.  He is now a PhD student in a program that he absolutely loves and has a fabulous mentor.  He is the type who will probably always need a mentor :).  

My youngest is the type who has to work very hard for her grades and she did just that.  She was very motivated to go away to college and did a lot of research.  But she was also overwhelmed at times, so I did jump in to help guide and direct her search.  That said, academics are a struggle for her ... she chose a major that does not, in the short run, play to her strengths.  She knew that going in and is working her tail off.  But, she is one who has her eye on the prize, knowing that her other natural abilities will help her in the long run for her career, but she has to get through the tough stuff.  I encouraged her to go to a school that would give her lots of merit aid and lots of support.  There are other schools with bigger names in her major, but this is better for her.  

I am going back to school to get what I need for the next phase of my life.  I already have a B.S.  But I am going back for an associates in a different field.  Some here have said that I am limiting myself.  But, I had to factor in how much time and $$ I was willing to invest in schooling at my age and for my family's needs.  This made more sense in our situation.  So, here I am, having done the 4-year, going away to college thing.  And I am surrounded by students of varying ages, talents, and situations.  And I am seeing people making the most of things.  Some people (like me) are treating it like a commuter school ... going to class and coming home to the rest of my life.  Others are building a life there.  They only go home to sleep (or leave to work.)  They join clubs.  Form study groups.  Get honors.  Do experiential learning.  There is so much more going on than I had expected.  I am also impressed with the amount of assistance for students who are struggling, whether it be academic or vocational - trying to figure out who they want to be.  I made a lot of use of their study helps to get me through physics last semester.  My friend's daughter took a class that helped her determine her career interests and aptitude.  She is now applying to nursing school, something that hadn't been on her radar before.  

If I were in your shoes, I would not count out a community college.  Go for a tour.  Find out what they have.  If she does this route, it does not mean that she is locked into a 2 year degree.  She could choose to transfer to a 4 year college if that is something that meets her goals.  

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28 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

I think state schools are not a bad option. Our flagship is one of the largest universities in the nation. She would actually be unlikely to be admitted there. Back in the 80s, the flagship was a common fall-back option for people who didn't get in elsewhere; now it is highly competitive. If she wanted to go there, she would have to start at a satellite campus and hope to transfer in.

But there are many other state universities here. I made a list the other night of schools ranked by cost of attendance (since that is the issue we are currently grappling with), and there are 14 state four-year universities in my state. Plus community colleges, technical schools, etc.

So there are many options. If we were to decide that she has to choose a state school, she will still have many options. Even some of the state schools have testing standards that she will not meet, however. Those test scores are going to be a big factor for her.


Our flagship is much the same way now.  Back when I went, it was a safety.  But neither of my nephews got in, and I'm not sure if either of mine would have if they'd applied as freshmen.  

The smaller State U's are not as competitive here.  When dd decided to start at one of those, we picked one that looked most likely to have things that would interest her.  She ended up deciding herself to go for the more competitive school a year later (she's actually a very good student but a perfectionist who thinks she's failed if she doesn't measure up to her own standards), but I really do think that year gave her a ton of confidence that she hadn't had.  And if she'd had to stay at that smaller school, she would have been fine there as well.  Youngest dd has only middling grades, even at the CC, so I am very thankful for the guaranteed transfer program...  The original plan before she decided to get her AS was to have her go to another of the smaller state schools.

My CompSci dd is at the second-most hard to get into State U.  (We've got three upper tier State U's, the flagship and two others, and then the smaller ones that I think all started out as teacher colleges).  That one had a more techy vibe and the coop program, and they actually offered her some merit aid (flagship didn't), so she is our one kid we're not full pay for...

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1 hour ago, Storygirl said:

This is the kind of process I expected to have and am trying to have with her. She is so passive, though, and is not participating, other than to say that, yes, she wants to go to college.

She may be more willing to talk about it her senior year.  One of my dc was not enthusiastic about the college choice process, ever, but we narrowed down the choices to those we could pay for and that had programs in fields that catered to dc's strengths and might be of interest; dc was able to narrow down the remaining options quickly after only a couple of college visits.  

That same dc was heavily involved in a time-intensive extracurricular in high school and never loved school, but would do the minimum needed to earn an A in college-prep courses, strictly out of personal pride.  Dc viewed attending college as a necessary evil before actually attending.  I worried dc might struggle because of being a rather slow reader.  Now, guess who absolutely loves college, LOL?  That dc has been on the Dean's List every single semester so far (3) and is LOVING learning things that none of us ever dreamed would be of interest.  Last year dc shocked us all by saying, "I love my calculus class so much that I think I'm going to take more calc next semester, even though it's not required."   Dc is now even considering continuing on for a graduate degree.  (Where's that fall-on-the-face-in-shock emoji??)  

All that to say, give her time. If she still says she wants to go to college next fall, walk her through the process.  Be sure the schools she considers offer tutoring, supplemental instructors, or other supports for students who need extra help.  Once she is accepted at a college, have her go to the earliest possible orientation/registration date so she's more likely to get into classes she wants.    Encourage her to use the website ratemyprofessors.com to read comments about the profs before going to register for courses, so she has a better idea of what to expect; after registration, encourage her to use the online add/drop feature to adjust her schedule so she has the best class times and professors possible for the courses she's chosen.  I firmly believe that has been a major factor in making my dc's experience at college so amazing.

Edited by klmama
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2 hours ago, Storygirl said:

I address some of the financial issues in the post I just wrote previous to this one.

We've spent a lot of money on private school tuition so far (a lot!), so it's not that I think funding education is not worth it.

But the world is not wide open to her financially.

The two-year degree that we think would be great for her would be $14,000 for tuition. TOTAL for two years. And she could live with a family member in that area. And PTA's make a good initial salary.

Or we could spent up to $50,000 PLUS PER YEAR sending her to board at a four-year university, for a total of $200,000 or more, without financial aid. When she doesn't have a plan for what to study. My alma mater would be over $60,000 per year.

And there are, of course, options in between.

It's such a humongous difference. We have to weigh it. We absolutely have to. It's not about whether we value education or not.

 

We are weighing some of these decisions right now with our dd.  There are a number of private universities she would really love, but because of how we saved for college — prepaid tuition 529 — and our income level we could be looking at paying anywhere from practically nothing to $70,000 a year if we gave her free reign.  We won’t/can’t pay on the higher half of that range just because that starts to feel really uncomfortable for us.  Plus, when I start thinking about paying anything beyond a certain dollar amount, it starts to feel a bit ridiculous.  Especially when we do have more affordable options that seem just as likely to lead to a good outcome for her.

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1 hour ago, Storygirl said:

I think state schools are not a bad option. Our flagship is one of the largest universities in the nation. She would actually be unlikely to be admitted there. Back in the 80s, the flagship was a common fall-back option for people who didn't get in elsewhere; now it is highly competitive. If she wanted to go there, she would have to start at a satellite campus and hope to transfer in.

But there are many other state universities here. I made a list the other night of schools ranked by cost of attendance (since that is the issue we are currently grappling with), and there are 14 state four-year universities in my state. Plus community colleges, technical schools, etc.

So there are many options. If we were to decide that she has to choose a state school, she will still have many options. Even some of the state schools have testing standards that she will not meet, however. Those test scores are going to be a big factor for her.

 

OP,  I’m sensing a few different frustrations in your posts:
1) Finances 

2) A private school bias/preference, (^if she HAS to choose a state school)

3) Worries about gaining admission because of test scores (^)

4) Finding the right balance given all of theses concerns

We were full-pay, and yes, it is an exorbitant amount of money to spend.  We, however, only had one, and your situation is different than that.   Perhaps because of your and your dh’s own educational backgrounds, you have a bias or preference for private schools.  I am sensing (and could, of course, be way off base) that  you somehow feel that your daughter will be “settling” if she has to attend a state school. This seems to be accompanied by guilt because you feel like you can’t really afford private college educations for all four of your children. Most people cannot afford to do this.  Intertwined in this is your concern about low test scores (so she can’t even get into the “best” state school) and your frustration about her lack of interest in the subject of college in general.  

Anyone who is full pay has to determine the “value” of what they are paying for.  How one measures “value” is highly subjective and is dependent on preferences, family culture, philosophical views of education and its purposes, ROI, and many other individualized factors.  Our ds had two options that were free, three that were full-pay, and four in between.  His short list included one from each category. He chose the full-pay.  We felt it was worth it, but we could afford it. Given the school and our finances, it was the right balance for us. He forewent our helping in grad school in any meaningful way by choosing this school, and he knew that. If we had had four children to put through college we could NOT have afforded to have allowed them all to make that same choice.  We *might* have been able to do two.  Your daughter can receive a fabulous education at any number of schools.  You don’t have to spend $60,000+ per year to get a quality education. 

The two greatest gifts I believe we can give our children is a debt-free undergraduate education and not being a financial burden to them in our retirement.  Some of us can do that, some of us cannot.  We can only try to do what we can. Being able to do both definitely requires careful planning and making good choices with our money.  Even with that, it may not be possible.  Life happens. I really feel your stress about the costs coming through in your posts. I believe people should approach college choice and selection by looking at finances first.  Start with your retirement.  Where are you now, where do you want to be, and how are you going to get there.  Once that has been determined, then look at what can be done for college choices.  Figure out what you are able and willing to contribute and set a budget based on what YOU can afford.  It doesn’t matter that a net price calculator tells you that you can afford more.  The outcome of that may or may not be an accurate reality of your finances anyway.  Determine what you can afford to pay for your children’s education and start there.  Everyone has a budget. Start with affordable schools where she can get in - your “safeties.”  

I almost sense that you’ve figured out that a four-year private college education isn’t doable for your daughter, so now you are trying to “sell” her on a different alternative - the two-year program as a PTA (I think this is what you mentioned). You feel like not being able to afford four-year private schools for all of your children is a “problem,” and now you are trying to solve it.  Am I reading that incorrectly? 

You wish your dd’s scores were better.  You wish she cared more about participating in college disc You wish that you could just tell her that she can go anywhere she can get in, but you are unsure if that is wise.  Please don’t agonize over things you may not be able to change.  This will be a short season in your relationship.  It will be stressful (it just is!), but try to make the best of it.  It is SO HARD for me not to talk and talk and talk.  I feel your pain in this area - I really do.  I will be talking and talking and talking, and my brain will be saying, STOP TALKING!”  But, I just can’t seem to stop!  Ack! 

Sorry - this is a really rambling post.  And, please know that I am only trying to be helpful. 

PS - We have some friends who sent their kids to a K-12 private school.  They actually got a pay raise as each of their four kids started at their in-state public university because the private school tuition for the high school years was higher than the college tuition. 

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It might be helpful if you give her a budget for her college needs, and decide what's going to be done with any leftover.  For ex, if she goes to a lower cost option, will she have that money available for a vehicle when she grads? A deposit for her first apt? What if she works for five years, allowing her allocation to grow, then heads to college ?  Its tough being older and thinking you may be responsible for a sib not going to an academically appropriate college, or parents not being able to retire because you choose by fit, not knowing the actual budget.

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Thank you. I actually have had a life-long bias toward going to college, in general, so I'd like to see her do that. My parents both were college graduates, though they were born in the 1930s. Mom actually earned two bachelor's degrees and graduated with her second the day after I graduated from high school. It was assumed that my siblings and I would go to to college. I've actually had to shift my thinking away from assuming that my own children would all attend college, because I can see that it may not be the right choice for some of them. My default thinking would be, "Of course, DD is going to college; it's just what one does."

My preference for the two-year program for her is actually less about the cost -- which may seem a surprise, since most of my comments have been about money -- and more about ending up with a degree that will get her a job. I don't want us to pour money into college for her (or any of our children) and have it not result in viable work. I know that there is personal value just in being at college; that was true for me, so I also have mixed feelings about adopting the "college is for mainly for career prep" stance. I was an English major!! I didn't have a job path upon graduation, so I went to grad school!! With the cost of college today and the fact that every penny will come out of our pocket, with little to no hope for scholarships or financial aid, the investment in college needs to have a career goal attached. If she had a career goal that required a four-year degree, I would be supportive of paying for it.

Return on investment is important to me as a parent, though it wasn't on my radar at all as a student.

So many people in my extended family had to re-educate and go to college again to retrain for a different career, because they ended up with a degree that didn't result in employment that was sustainable or that they enjoyed. There are not guarantees for anyone that they will stick on the same career path forever, but I think it's important to have a realistic idea of the path before putting so much money into the degree.

I personally do prefer LAC, and there are many in our state that I think would be a great fit for her. I'm sure my bias toward LAC and against large schools is coming through in my posts. If DD goes to a state school, I'm sure she will find ways to connect and will find her people. She will be better at that than I would have, actually. That connection factor is my biggest concern about a bigger school, but it's my concern, not hers. I don't think I've transmitted my bias against big schools to her, but I'll be aware of it!

The private school tuition does take a big hit financially now. There are reasons that each of my children does or has attended private school that are specific to each child, but some of those factors have shifted over time, and so our plans are also shifting. DD17 will graduate from her private school, but the boys are in public now, and DD13 will switch from private to public next fall. Her school for dyslexia is the most expensive by far (as much as the other three put together).

Those costs will diminish just as the college costs begin to accrue, so that does balance out things financially somewhat. And we could fund a year of college just with the money we have had to pay for seven rounds of braces over the years (three of them had braces twice). More than a year of college, actually. We just paid the last of that when DD13 got hers on this month. Yay!!

A big part of my mental dilemma is knowing that we could afford to send DD off to college with an undeclared major (or allow her to pick a major we think is not the best for her skill set) but choosing not to. Honestly, my heart would be to let her go and explore and find her way and have fun and grow. But my head says that there needs to be a more pragmatic purpose when the price is so steep.

 

 

Edited by Storygirl

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Is she your bio daughter?  I find it hard to believe that the child of two very intelligent, well educated parents (one who went to an Ivie, the other with a masters) truly has an average IQ.  I think it's far more likely that she would have above average ability but learning disabilities that might be hidden, especially when compared with more disabled siblings.  Now, if she's not genetically related, avg IQ might be much more likely.  

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Do any of your LAC choices offer help in deciding for an undeclared person ?  Do any have a major that is a possible fit?

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8 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

 

My preference for the two-year program for her is actually less about the cost and more about ending up with a degree that will get her a job. I don't want us to pour money into college for her (or any of our children) and have it not result in viable work. I know that there is personal value just in being at college; that was true for me, so I also have mixed feelings about adopting the "college is for mainly for career prep" stance. I was an English major!! I didn't have a job path upon graduation, so I went to grad school!! With the cost of college today and the fact that every penny will come out of our pocket, with little to no hope for scholarships or financial aid, the investment in college needs to have a career goal attached. If she had a career goal that required a four-year degree, I would be supportive of paying for it.

 

 

College costs have gone up over 400 percent in the last decade and a half in so many places, far exceeding the rate of inflation.  The reasons have been discussed elsewhere (though I don't think there is any one reason) but the consequence is that college no longer feels like it can be just a place to go find yourself, to explore your options, to put off adulthood.  It stinks, but most everyone around us is in the same boat, facing the same costs, so I guess misery loves company? 

To illustrate -- I was an English major too - no idea what I wanted to do. I did a somewhat random search on schools, found one far enough away from home and close enough to where my boyfriend was going to school.  It cost my dad about 10 percent of his income to send me out of state there.  My daughter applied to my alma mater.  We make fifty percent more than my dad made 24 years ago, a pretty decent income, but the cost would be around a third of our income.  To attend somewhere in state (Virginia) would be less, but still definitely more than tenth of our income! What the heck happened? (And btw, my daughter is lucky enough to use the GI bill so she applied widely. Her siblings will not be so lucky).  

The goal is to provide as much as we can for their undergraduate for ALL kids, AND provide for ourselves in retirement. Having a great college experience for four years is not worth the fear of losing your retirement and becoming a burden on your children.  They won't thank you for it.  

 

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This is why I wanted to start a thread. Because there are so many options and factors and experiences from my life and what I've witnessed in others that are tied up in this. It's not just about the money. But evaluating the purpose of college and the value of it and the benefits outside of career prep. All of these things connect.

And then there are those in my family whose college dreams were limited by parents who would not pay. My grandmother wanted to go to college 100 years ago, but her step-father wouldn't pay for it, so she went to work instead. She still talked about it when she was in her 80s and 90s. She had regret.

DH's sister was not encouraged to go off to university for some reason after graduation. This story has come up over the years, but no one will say why, exactly. FIL and MIL sent the two younger boys off to college (DH to an Ivy) but told SIL she had to stay home. SIL eventually earned a degree along the way while working (not sure if was an associate's degree or a bachelors). But it has always bugged me that they seemed to withhold an opportunity for her but allow it for the younger kids. I'm sure they had reasons that aren't my business.

So these things are tangled in my thoughts, as well.

We are going to have to figure out each child's college path as they grow older. If we tell DD that she needs to start at community college first, but then allow younger children to go directly to university.....It may be fair, according to the circumstances, because each child is different. But it may not be understandable to the children, just as FIL and MIL's decision does not seem understandable to me.

What will happen with the younger children is not the main concern, but it is part of the whole package. The truth is that I suspect that DS14 won't do to college at all. DD13 thinks she wants to go to a technical school to be a vet tech. DS13 thinks he wants to be a chemist, which would require a four-year degree. We would be supportive of all of these choices, and we will be supportive if they change their choices along the way.

The money is just part of all of this thinking process, but it is entangled in it.

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1 hour ago, Terabith said:

Is she your bio daughter?  I find it hard to believe that the child of two very intelligent, well educated parents (one who went to an Ivie, the other with a masters) truly has an average IQ.  I think it's far more likely that she would have above average ability but learning disabilities that might be hidden, especially when compared with more disabled siblings.  Now, if she's not genetically related, avg IQ might be much more likely.  

No. All of my children were adopted, so they don't have our genes.

Edited by Storygirl
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1 hour ago, Storygirl said:

 

A big part of my mental dilemma is knowing that we could afford to send DD off to college with an undeclared major (or allow her to pick a major we think is not the best for her skill set) but choosing not to. Honestly, my heart would be to let her go and explore and find her way and have fun and grow. But my head says that there needs to be a more pragmatic purpose when the price is so steep.

 

 

If you need a place to go and explore and find your passion, CC is a good choice. Or at least, our local CC is a good choice, you'll have to really check yours out because quality and offerings vary. My dd is dual enrolling in the core curriculum courses that are required at all TX public colleges. She's had a lot of interesting options for fulfilling her requirements. There is an honors program that emphasizes research, there are experience based learning options, there are a lot of clubs and organizations and there's a lot of tutoring available. There are even study abroad summer programs. All at low, low prices so if you do decide to change your major and suddenly have to do three semesters of calculus and two each of chem and physics, you're not stuck paying tens of thousands extra for an additional year.

I've been pleasantly surprised at the academic level of my dd's classes. The major difference I've noticed is the quantity of graded homework and small assignments versus my college experience of 2 exams and a paper. But, it seems that's happening at 4 year schools too so it's not an indication of treating CC students as less capable, it's just a change in technological possibilities. You can get a lot out of CC if you take advantage of all the opportunities it offers.

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1 hour ago, Storygirl said:

And then there are those in my family whose college dreams were limited by parents who would not pay.

DH's sister was not encouraged to go off to university for some reason after graduation. 

...

We are going to have to figure out each child's college path as they grow older. If we tell DD that she needs to start at community college first, but then allow younger children to go directly to university.....It may be fair, according to the circumstances, because each child is different. But it may not be understandable to the children, just as FIL and MIL's decision does not seem understandable to me.

 

My MIL was from a family where only males are educated. Since public school was free and half day, she did attend a few years of elementary school. My dad has taught many students where the daughters were told to work after high school and support the family while the sons get to go to college. 

We have not discussed actual numbers with our kids since our oldest is in 9th grade. He has seen a range of Cost of Attendance webpages from <$20k for commuter state university to >$60k for private universities. My DS13 is more likely to follow a traditional computer science or engineering path then DS14. DS13 has the personality that is happy/content with one major and no minor for undergrad. DS14 is thinking of three majors though I am thinking two majors is more likely.  I think you and your husband have to decide whether you are going to tell your kids the budget and let them decide if they want to go to community college first. Given that my DS13 is not keen on dorms and don’t mind declaring a major early, he might decide to go for the community college tranfer admission program and have the money save from the first two years of college go towards downpayment of a home or for postgraduate studies. My kids are as driving phobic as I am so we don't need to worry about getting them cars and and paying for their drivers insurance anytime soon. 

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2 hours ago, Storygirl said:

No. All of my children were adopted, so they don't have our genes.

So is it my understanding that she is dyslexic since you mentioned her attending a dyslexic school?  Does she get testing accommodations in that case?  Or is that not correct?

I would just be concerned that a kid with an ACT 20 and who doesn't test well in high school might struggle transitioning to a college load of work.  Even the CC classes are MORE.  More reading, more retention, timed tests, etc.  Could you consider having her try 1 class per semester DE next year?  That may give you and her a sense of what your next step should be.  

I'd also consider looking at options where the ACT scores average in the 18-22 range.   Do you just have a couple schools you could just go tour?  Try a larger, midsize, small.  That's how we started - just getting a sense of options using local schools as an example.    

I attended a big ten university and always longingly wished I had gone for an LAC.  HOWEVER, in touring with my son now, big schools have made many strides in making themselves feel smaller and making it easier for students to find their people.   I always thought I'd want my kid in an LAC but he has 3 HUGE big tens he applied to, and several midsizes, and a few LACs.    I wouldn't rule out larger schools - especially if those are looking best for your budget.  And at the end of the day, my kid's college pick is going to very much be budget driven.  We do have some give and take for the right program and he is auditioning for music programs so merit can be unpredictable.  You never know, she might like a larger school.   There are many kids extremely active in clubs in leadership at our CC.  They have choir, band, theater auditions, movie club, etc etc etc.  You can definitely find social circles at CC's if you want.

I really think being wise and conservative with your budget is nothing to be apologetic about.  Like someone else said, unless you're a multi-millionaire, this is not easy at all for anyone.   Plenty of people greatly value education without being able to drop 30-40K+ a year on it.  That is just not realistic for many families nor is necessarily good use of money when funds are limited.

I helped my kid ton with college related research and keeping the application process organized.  I don't even want to talk about how nuts music admissions is.  However, he did express opinions and keep his own balls in the air academically and many extracurrculars.   I think it can be give and take on the process.  Sometimes just getting on a couple campuses can inspire some imagination.  

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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Replying to several posters, here, though I have not quoted.

It's my younger daughter who is dyslexic, actually. DD17 is not.

We do have many nearby colleges that we could tour. It's on my to-do list. I just wish it were on hers!! But it will probably need to be my initiative, not hers. We do need to look into what kind of community opportunities are available at the community college here.

DH says he wishes he would have attended a certain LAC where he applied, instead of the Ivy, because he thinks he would have been happier there. Which is interesting to me.

I won't ever know why SIL was not sent to college, I guess, but I will always wonder. DH is six years younger, so he was not within the circle of those decisions when they were made. MIL went to teacher's college herself and was the steady breadwinner for the family (FIL was not college educated and had a series of jobs, some of which didn't pan out well, instead of a steady career), so I doubt it was about being female. But who knows? Those who know don't talk about it. But it does make me cognizant of how making different decisions for different children can be complicated. We could, of course, decide that all of them will start at the community college, just as the way that our family does things.

The dual enrollment decision has to be made by March 15. I have very mixed feelings about it. Mainly, I think she will do better in college classes after another year of high school, and I don't see a need to rush her into college classes when the high school ones are at a good level for her. And I am hesitant to have her replace her senior English Brit lit class with community college composition. Not only would she miss out on what she could learn in her 12th grade English class, but she would also lose that extra year of composition practice before taking a college class that will go on her transcript. I don't really see the benefit.

Heigh Ho asked about registering as undeclared major. I haven't researched specific policies on that yet, but I assume at least some of the LAC here would allow it. My alma mater did, but that was 30 years ago, so it may have changed.

Edited by Storygirl

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16 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

It's my younger daughter who is dyslexic, actually. DD17 is not.

Oh ok, sorry for misunderstanding!  

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3 hours ago, Storygirl said:

And then there are those in my family whose college dreams were limited by parents who would not pay. My grandmother wanted to go to college 100 years ago, but her step-father wouldn't pay for it, so she went to work instead. She still talked about it when she was in her 80s and 90s. She had regret.

DH's sister was not encouraged to go off to university for some reason after graduation. This story has come up over the years, but no one will say why, exactly. FIL and MIL sent the two younger boys off to college (DH to an Ivy) but told SIL she had to stay home. SIL eventually earned a degree along the way while working (not sure if was an associate's degree or a bachelors). But it has always bugged me that they seemed to withhold an opportunity for her but allow it for the younger kids. I'm sure they had reasons that aren't my business.

So these things are tangled in my thoughts, as well.

We are going to have to figure out each child's college path as they grow older. If we tell DD that she needs to start at community college first, but then allow younger children to go directly to university.....It may be fair, according to the circumstances, because each child is different. But it may not be understandable to the children, just as FIL and MIL's decision does not seem understandable to me.

 

I think at some point, when you've decided and when she might be ready to talk again (!), that you can lay out your guidelines clearly, even if it's "we'll decide with each student whether it might be best to start at the CC or a 4-year school." or "If you really aren't sure what you want to do or where you want to go, we'll have you start at the CC. Then, when you have researched more and have a better idea about things, you can transfer." or, "College is something you need to really want to do if we're going to do this. We'd love to have you go, and we think it's very worthwhile, but you seem ambivalent. That's okay--but we're not going to push for you to go to a university if you don't have a strong desire and at least some ideas of what you might like to do."

I think the biggest difference between your extended family scenarios and your current situation:

1, *you* are not limiting your daughter's choices. In effect, she is by her ambivalence, at least at present. That, of course, can change. At some point, you'll probably want to let her know that. 

2, apparently the extended family didn't communicate the why's or assumed they were known (boys go to school, girls don't, or whatever). You don't have to follow in their steps--you can have very open communication and let your children know the "why's" behind decisions.

 

25 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

We do have many nearby colleges that we could tour. It's on my to-do list. I just wish it were on hers!! But it will probably need to be my initiative, not hers. We do need to look into what kind of community opportunities are available at the community college here.

 

That's such a blessing! Since she has trouble thinking about this, I would narrow the choices for her and choose 2, maybe 3 to visit. She can always expand her search later--but in my experience with kids who haven't wanted to do the research, a big part of it is the paralysis that comes with too many choices. Consider things you even think she might be interested in, and try to choose a couple of schools that might fit her variety of interests (and included in that could be any extra-curriculars you think of.) 

 

25 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

The dual enrollment decision has to be made by March 15. I have very mixed feelings about it. Mainly, I think she will do better in college classes after another year of high school, and I don't see a need to rush her into college classes when the high school ones are at a good level for her. And I am hesitant to have her replace her senior English Brit lit class with community college composition. Not only would she miss out on what she could learn in her 12th grade English class, but she would also lose that extra year of composition practice before taking a college class that will go on her transcript. I don't really see the benefit.

 

I never saw the benefit for my kids either--and felt they would benefit more from the continued scaffolding and opportunities I could provide through high school. Some kids really do benefit from that though. 

25 minutes ago, Storygirl said:

Heigh Ho asked about registering as undeclared major. I haven't researched specific policies on that yet, but I assume at least some of the LAC here would allow it. My alma mater did, but that was 30 years ago, so it may have changed.

 

All of the schools we've looked into allow undeclared majors. I'd guess that's pretty common, especially for schools that are not elite. Most kids at least change majors!

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On the topic of community colleges: We did tour one, and I was really impressed with this particular college. They have beautiful facilities (performing arts center, student center, library, etc.). My daughter took some culinary classes there when she was in high school doing career exploration (which helped her cross off culinary!). Many large community colleges have sports teams and dorms and lots of social functions. I had an image of community college as kind of a satellite, brick, rectangular building. I learned that some are very nice.

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I've skimmed all the replies, but not read thoroughly.

For us, being able to pay for something doesn't mean we should. It really is not in the best interest of every single child to go to a four year school after graduation, no matter what the American Dream says. And trying to make it fair so that each child is treated exactly the same when they are not in fact exactly the same actually makes it extremely unfair to all of them.

We currently make too much for need based but we didn't always make that much and there were many years when the kids were younger when saving for college just wasn't going to happen if we wanted to eat and keep the lights on and make sure I could stay at home with the kids. It was a sacrifice that we were/are happy to make, but it also means we can't pay for everything for all (soon to be) 6 of them.

We are full pay for my oldest right now at the local U. This was the right choice for him because he is driven and has known his career path since about 9th grade and has made choices (applying for many different scholarships, working hard to get a close to perfect SAT, working and saving money to pay for half of tuition) that made that possible. He is also the kind of student who would not thrive at the local CC, as he already as a freshman was beyond their math sequence. So the local U made the most sense for him.

2nd DS is a totally different person. Academics don't turn him on, he's a good student but not a stellar one, and he's still not sure of his career path even heading into the last quarter of his junior year. He knows what he's good at and he knows what he likes, but hasn't come up with a job or career that really excites him. We've been purposeful not to compare him to his brother (although he does this on his own sometimes) and have emphasized that we want to be able to provide what is best for him and that is not necessarily the same thing that was/is best for his brother. It would be very unfair to expect this DS to follow older DS's path - they are not the same and their life decisions shouldn't be the same either, even though we are in a financial place where it would be possible to full pay for him at the local U too (a stretch maybe, but possible). So this DS will likely end up at the local CC for a year or so while he tries to figure something out. And he's OK with that, because the whole time we've encouraged him to think about what is best for him, not what his brother did.

DD is only in 9th grade but is already talking about not going to college and becoming a full time missionary instead. This is ... not what I had planned for her. I wanted her to get a degree and be able to support herself and then get married and choose to stay home with her kids - like I did *blush*. I realize she's very young and could change her mind, but so far she's only becoming more and more convinced that this is the right path. It terrifies me that she might not ever go to college. But again, I have to think about what is right for her.

We're very open with our kids that their futures will not necessarily look the same, and that that is in fact a good thing - it means they are pursuing the unique dreams and future that God has planned for them. Sometimes this has also meant me and DH having to let go of our dreams for our kids in favor of what their dreams are and what's best for them, which is hard.

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2 hours ago, Momto5inIN said:

...DD is only in 9th grade but is already talking about not going to college and becoming a full time missionary instead...


Totally agree with your post.

 Just wanted to comment on this statement I quoted here -- you may wish to do some research with DD over the next few years on the requirements for missionary work. Most missions agencies either require (or very strongly recommend) having a degree for acceptance. A college degree is needed for working with Wycliff Bible translators.

And if going as a "tent-maker" missionary (i.e., no missions agency), MANY developing countries are not that interested in admitting you unless you have some solid skills and advanced education/training to offer -- nursing/medical/dental; teaching; bringing in a business to employ people; ability to train others in vocational skills; etc. 

Totally do NOT think that college or a college degree is right -- or needed -- for every person. But most jobs do require some sort of further training or education than high school diploma, and some require a college degree -- missions might be one of those types of jobs. 🙂

Also, becoming a missionary is something a person can work towards even as a teen. The need for missions outreach within one's own city is so great -- refugees, poverty, human trafficking, etc., etc.  -- that missionary work is something a person can do even while still in high school. And a college campus is a tremendously needy mission field while getting a degree, if that is needed.

Just an additional 2 cents worth! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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I wanted to add one other thought to all the great advice you've already gotten.

My daughter was also a pre-professional ballet student through most of High School; she stopped dancing right before senior year. Like your daughter she danced 3-4 hours every day, more on weekends - she also attended 5-week summer intensives, etc etc (I'm sure I don't need to spell it out for you!). For many years she was aiming for a professional career. Unfortunately some major health issues got in her way, and then she gradually got more and more disengaged from ballet even though she was still putting in the time. She stopped dancing partly because she was "done" with it, and partly because of some major changes at her dance school that left her very upset. It was a good decision for her at that time, but not an easy one because of all the years she put in.

Pre-professional dancing is such an overwhelming commitment that when kids stop doing I've observed many of them go through a sometimes lengthy period of aimlessness. I wonder if that is part of what is going on with your daughter. It can be hard to "find yourself" again after so many years of having your time so regimented, and having such a clear future in mind. For my daughter, after she stopped dancing she knew she was college-bound so that was not an issue; however, while she's now a sophomore at a selective liberal arts school, and has done well in college overall, she still feels completely unsure of what she wants to do and is having a terrible time choosing a major. Part of that is just her, but I also think that all those years of not having much choice in how she spent her time has made it a bit harder for her.

I don't think that's the whole story by any means, but it may be a contributing factor. If so, you may need to continue to be patient with her as she starts to confront the completion of high school. I think that visiting a few schools could clarify things for her, and help her to start imagining a future for herself in one of those places (or not!). And I also agree with others that a gap year may also be a good idea.

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18 hours ago, Storygirl said:

 

We do have many nearby colleges that we could tour. It's on my to-do list. I just wish it were on hers!! But it will probably need to be my initiative, not hers. We do need to look into what kind of community opportunities are available at the community college here.

My older would have gone to the CC two hours north of me if I had known about it, then transferred.  Would have been a much better fit.

The dual enrollment decision has to be made by March 15. I have very mixed feelings about it. Mainly, I think she will do better in college classes after another year of high school, and I don't see a need to rush her into college classes when the high school ones are at a good level for her. And I am hesitant to have her replace her senior English Brit lit class with community college composition. Not only would she miss out on what she could learn in her 12th grade English class, but she would also lose that extra year of composition practice before taking a college class that will go on her transcript. I don't really see the benefit.

That's how I felt too. When I looked at what the CC-in-the-high-school comp class was, I realized it was a review of high school comp and put my kid in the English lit choice instead.  The U here has a writing comp class and its what I expected as a college writing class, ie not high school review.

 

 

Edited by HeighHo
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1 hour ago, Lori D. said:


Totally agree with your post.

 Just wanted to comment on this statement I quoted here -- you may wish to do some research with DD over the next few years on the requirements for missionary work. Most missions agencies either require (or very strongly recommend) having a degree for acceptance. A college degree is needed for working with Wycliff Bible translators.

And if going as a "tent-maker" missionary (i.e., no missions agency), MANY developing countries are not that interested in admitting you unless you have some solid skills and advanced education/training to offer -- nursing/medical/dental; teaching; bringing in a business to employ people; ability to train others in vocational skills; etc. 

Totally do NOT think that college or a college degree is right -- or needed -- for every person. But most jobs do require some sort of further training or education than high school diploma, and some require a college degree -- missions might be one of those types of jobs. 🙂

Also, becoming a missionary is something a person can work towards even as a teen. The need for missions outreach within one's own city is so great -- refugees, poverty, human trafficking, etc., etc.  -- that missionary work is something a person can do even while still in high school. And a college campus is a tremendously needy mission field while getting a degree, if that is needed.

Just an additional 2 cents worth! Warmest regards, Lori D.

Yes to all of this! I've told her all that too, but you know how 14 year old girls can be ... They know everything *rolls eyes*

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56 minutes ago, kirag714 said:

I wanted to add one other thought to all the great advice you've already gotten.

My daughter was also a pre-professional ballet student through most of High School; she stopped dancing right before senior year. Like your daughter she danced 3-4 hours every day, more on weekends - she also attended 5-week summer intensives, etc etc (I'm sure I don't need to spell it out for you!). For many years she was aiming for a professional career. Unfortunately some major health issues got in her way, and then she gradually got more and more disengaged from ballet even though she was still putting in the time. She stopped dancing partly because she was "done" with it, and partly because of some major changes at her dance school that left her very upset. It was a good decision for her at that time, but not an easy one because of all the years she put in.

Pre-professional dancing is such an overwhelming commitment that when kids stop doing I've observed many of them go through a sometimes lengthy period of aimlessness. I wonder if that is part of what is going on with your daughter. It can be hard to "find yourself" again after so many years of having your time so regimented, and having such a clear future in mind. For my daughter, after she stopped dancing she knew she was college-bound so that was not an issue; however, while she's now a sophomore at a selective liberal arts school, and has done well in college overall, she still feels completely unsure of what she wants to do and is having a terrible time choosing a major. Part of that is just her, but I also think that all those years of not having much choice in how she spent her time has made it a bit harder for her.

I don't think that's the whole story by any means, but it may be a contributing factor. If so, you may need to continue to be patient with her as she starts to confront the completion of high school. I think that visiting a few schools could clarify things for her, and help her to start imagining a future for herself in one of those places (or not!). And I also agree with others that a gap year may also be a good idea.

Thank you. Those are good thoughts! DD17's path away from ballet was eerily similar. She found she had an irreparable hip injury in 8th grade that meant she would likely always dance with some level of pain (that is when she went through physical therapy). She didn't let the pain stop her at first, but in her last year of dance as a sophomore, she was sitting out more and more. I didn't even know this until it came up as a concern in a written evaluation that she received. And then there were the mean girls who picked on her and isolated her, because she had the natural talent. She kept a lot of that to herself, so I didn't know until later. And then the mean girls bonded with DD again last year when the ballet school hired a new director that is widely disliked for being harsh. But then the director was harsh toward DD. It just all piled up and ruined her love of dance, and it was heartbreaking to see it happen. DD refused to switch studios.

DD has plunged herself into activities at school and got a job and has not seemed to be affected by the big change of giving up dance. But of course it has affected her!! Dance defined her in so many ways before, and now she is needing to reshape so much of her life. I should take that into consideration more.

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I would have your child do community college first. College is expensive. And freshman year is a tough year for doing well in school. Community college could be just the ticket to get her off on the right foot for college. As a bonus, she might qualify for some transfer scholarships by the time she is done with CC. 

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20 hours ago, Momto5inIN said:

Yes to all of this! I've told her all that too, but you know how 14 year old girls can be ... They know everything *rolls eyes*

Has she been reading about Katie Davis?

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Thank you for posting this.  We are just starting to plan for our first DD, but the other children (we have 6) are so different.  It's hard to compare 'fair'- what IS fair?  We have the ability to pay for a 4 year degree for all of them (we hope), but we will have to be frugal about it.  One other issue that I continually think about- there is a 14 year gap between the oldest and youngest.  There is no way to give a set monetary amount that would be fair 🙂  

My advice would be to stop worrying about it.  Give her a few options to mull around.  She may prefer a CC - and they do have dorms and such!  A smaller place with even fewer hours would be a better choice.  My oldest is super- achiever, but my second is in 8th grade and already says she just wants to go to the CC and she likes the idea of being able to do just a few classes at a time, so she can focus on those and still 'have a life'  LOL.

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On 2/27/2019 at 9:56 PM, Terabith said:

Is she your bio daughter?  I find it hard to believe that the child of two very intelligent, well educated parents (one who went to an Ivie, the other with a masters) truly has an average IQ.  I think it's far more likely that she would have above average ability but learning disabilities that might be hidden, especially when compared with more disabled siblings.  Now, if she's not genetically related, avg IQ might be much more likely.  

I can’t tell if you’re joking. Such things happen. 

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57 minutes ago, musicianmom said:

Has she been reading about Katie Davis?

😂 Yes! How did you know? 😂

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12 minutes ago, BusyMom5 said:

  One other issue that I continually think about- there is a 14 year gap between the oldest and youngest.  There is no way to give a set monetary amount that would be fair 🙂  

 

My mom and many of my aunts and uncles based “fairness” on what would be the cost of a four year engineering degree (which would usually be the costliest undergrad) at a public commuter university. Some of my aunts have six children so that amount might have been $28k for the firstborn and $48k by the time the last born finished his/her undergrad. 

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I have been thinking about this thread over the last few days.  It hits a nerve with me because we are currently engaging in an ongoing discussion with some close friends over the very same topic.  We both have (oldest) kids of the age where college discussions are starting.  We both could fall into the self-pay category.  And we both "could" afford just about any option but not without some serious sacrifice in retirement savings, house projects, travel, and other not-100%-necessary but important-to-us expenses.  All four parents work in academia for the same state university. These are very close friends and we are more "family" than friends.  Our kids are best friends.  Both of the kids in question are quite bright, test high, and are ambitious.  But neither is likely to land significant merit aid.  And neither is expected to start college with a clear major in mind.

Dh and I do not plan to write a blank check for any college direction dd might chose.  We are encouraging dd to consider attending our home (state) university.  We would not require her to live at home, but being local, we could economize on living options and we get a tuition break based on our employment.  She could graduate 100% debt free if she takes that route.  She certainly would be able to get into far more prestigious colleges.  She is free to consider other options but there will be clear limits on how much we are willing to pay for those options and that loans would be required to make up the rest.    We are also already discussing different majors and the job prospects attached to those....and how loan repayment fits into those parameters.  We are certainly not making any decisions FOR dd but we are limiting our financial contribution by capping it to what attending our home university would cost.  Dh and I both paid for college ourselves, with a LOT of loans, so we feel what we are willing to contribute is quite generous.

Other couple think that "the college experience" (being far from home, dorm living, etc....) is very VERY important....almost to the point of "forbidding" their dd to even think of attending our home university.  They feel that choice of major should not take job prospects into consideration.  Loan repayment is not a concern as they will fully fund all college expenses for any direction their dd choses.  Also, interestingly, their own college expenses were 100% covered by their parents and they graduated debt free.

Dd is not spoiled and understands our position.  She is grateful that we are able and willing to help her at all.  But does feel like her friend has the whole world open to her with no restrictions while dd has more to think about when making her college decisions, even though both families have similar economic resources.  I don't know that this is a bad thing, necessarily, but can say dd notices the difference.

They (the other couple) think what we are doing is almost abusive.  Not just dickering over who pays for what or limiting what we will pay for, but by encouraging her to consider staying close.  It is "stifling" and "helicoptering" and dd will "never learn to grow up."  This is not an uncommon theme from other parents in my area.  Most of these parents are also tied to the university so we really all do have a front row seat to student life.  We all tend to fall into the two solid camps that our friends and we do.  It's either, this is a pretty good deal, this is a pretty good school, this town is big enough for our kids to have most of the "college experience" without breaking the bank.  Or it's, our kids are too familiar with out local university to get the "college experience," they will never learn to grow if they don't go off somewhere new, and "why wouldn't you want your kid to aim higher than a non-flagship state school?"

It surprises me how entrenched each side seems to be on this.  Many a heated discussion has taken place over this.  I can see both sides.  But when it comes down to it, almost ANY college choice has pros and cons.  I don't believe there is one single best route.  And if you have a kid that is going to thrive in any environment, why purposely choose the $80K/year one when a $20K/year choice will be good as well?  Maybe better, maybe worse, but definitely not a $60K/year difference in either direction. 

 

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5 hours ago, madteaparty said:

I can’t tell if you’re joking. Such things happen. 

I wasn't joking.  It's not unheard of.  But usually full bio siblings have IQs within ten points of each other, and while there does tend to be something of a "regression to the mean" in both directions in regard to children's IQs in relation to parents, it is usually fairly modest and still usually within 10 points or so.  I truly didn't mean to offend.  I am on some educational psychologist groups on Facebook, so I see a lot of facts about statistics and stuff.  

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@skimomma - I’m sorry you are already struggling with differences of opinion regarding what choices you make for financing your dd’s schooling.  People can be VERY vocal about sharing their opinions regarding what one should spend on college. I’m just going to say that, “You’re d@mned if you do and d@mned if you don’t.”  

At the time ds was applying we lived in the town of our state flagship.  If you looked elsewhere you were accused:  “Isn’t what’s in your own backyard good enough for you?”  Why, yes, it is.  Dh went there, his dad went there, my dad went there.  Then you have the local kids who are loathe to attend there.  “It’s like Grade 13.”  Well, no, it really isn’t.  Please don’t act like it’s beneath you to attend there.  Many of our friends and family have and have done just fine, thank you very much. Then you have parents who say, “No way would Tom and I pay $50,000 per year for undergrad.  Anyone who would do that is stupid.” Um, okay.  It’s actually more than that, and thanks for calling us stupid!!  We truly had someone say this to us!! Then you have parents who ONLY allow their child to apply to in-state schools because they know it will absolutely be the least expensive option. Financial aid, NPCs, be d@mned. 

There is FAR too much emotional angst tied up in college choice and selection.  IMO, many people enter it from the wrong direction.  Everyone should start with a budget!  Everyone should have the freedom to tell their kids, “No, that isn’t going to work for us.”  For some reason, some people hang a yoke of shame around your neck if you don’t allow your kid to attend the highest ranked universtiy to which they gain admittance at all costs. .  That’s wholly unfair and probably unreasonable. There are a myriad of factors to consider when deciding what is workable for your family: budget-wise, outcome wise, experience wise.  There isn’t just *ONE* way to do college. Your finances and preferences are PERSONAL, and you should be under no obligation to explain yourself to anyone - not even your kids.  A college education is a privilege, not a right.  Having the “college experience” (whatever that means) is a privilege, not a right.  

However, it’s like being pregnant.  Everyone feels as though they have standing to give you unsolicited advice.  Here is mine: My best advice to anyone is to find your standard script and stick to it.  “Thank you for sharing your viewpoint.  We are going to do what is best for our family as I am sure you are doing what is best for yours.”  Then pass the bean dip.  It’s really best not to engage at all.  “Junior is casting a wide net.  We’ll see how it all shakes out.”  Pass the bean dip. People have no qualms asking where you are applying, what test scores are, and sharing their own views.  Everyone wants to JUSTIFY their choices.  I have NO idea why!  You, do you!  I’m gonna do me!  For some reason, the college search and selection process seems to be off limits for the live and let live mindset. 

I will say that one never knows what another’s finances are.  Your colleagues may have access to financial resources about which you have zero knowledge.  

It’s exhausting because once it ramps up, it seems to be all anyone talks about.  I can only imagine how much worse it is in academia. 

I have told many a person that Jack and Jesus saw me through the process.  Hang in there.

 

 

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Your state uni isn't always the least expensive option. My daughter (and actually my son as well) have no interest in our state uni. Neither of them want to attend that large a school. And I agree, for them . My dd applied to 13 schools, all but one was private. With the merit aid she received, at least five of them were the same or less than what we'd pay at our state uni. There is a LOT of merit out there. My daughter was not an academic superstar; she probably wasn't even in the top 10 or 15% of her class, but she got some great merit at schools in the top 100-150. University of ME has reciprocal tuition with a lot of states as well, so that's another option for inexpensive yet out of state.

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Another thing to realize, not going to a traditional college the firsy year does not mean she won't find something that she wants to do a year or two later. There are so many technical jobs that people pass over. My nephew recently told me he wanted to be a mechanic. But it was asssumed he was to go to college, so he did. And now he feels obligated to work in the area he studied. One of my cousins who has a degree in civil engineering has told me that based on his experience, he thinks college is a waste of money. I do not live near him so have not had in depth conversations. There are jobs that require a degree is a check off point, but there are many that surprisingly do not. There are so many things your daughter could do. I feel a lot of stress over the idea that my son would be making a decision on spending over $100K on an education when he has had very little life experience to know what he wants to do or what in all is out there. It actually really bothers me. I should make a separate post about it.

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I don't think this is because you are full pay because even for those who aren't full pay the formulas being used expect you to give all so you can't be saving for other kids or retirement or eating meat more than once a week. Ha

 

You have covered a lot of ground but I'll just add what we did. Before my son made his decision I told him what we would gift him each year to get through school and he has to handle the rest. I needed to make it a doable amount because I need to keep my word as his decision was based on it.It wasn't a ton due to our high cost of living so nowhere near our EFC. I think this is a fair way to do it. It is based on what we can afford. He has savings from over the years too. After that it was up to him to make it work though I did help look for options and present them. 

 

I don't think there is anything wrong with having different experiences either. Your experiences could end up different than hers. 

I'm all for a well rounded education and college certainly offers some experiences that you can't get elsewhere but it is crazy expensive and this is a time when there are so many more options for pursuing your own education that really college is not the only way to become educated even if it does have some advantages.

 

 

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On 2/28/2019 at 10:22 AM, Momto5inIN said:

 

DD is only in 9th grade but is already talking about not going to college and becoming a full time missionary instead. This is ... not what I had planned for her. I wanted her to get a degree and be able to support herself and then get married and choose to stay home with her kids - like I did *blush*. I realize she's very young and could change her mind, but so far she's only becoming more and more convinced that this is the right path. It terrifies me that she might not ever go to college. But again, I have to think about what is right for her.

We're very open with our kids that their futures will not necessarily look the same, and that that is in fact a good thing - it means they are pursuing the unique dreams and future that God has planned for them. Sometimes this has also meant me and DH having to let go of our dreams for our kids in favor of what their dreams are and what's best for them, which is hard.

 

I find I have dreams for my kids even when I didn’t think that I did! I’m also convinced that there’s always going to be some choices along the way that they make that strike fear in my heart! Lots of prayers!

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On 3/1/2019 at 6:12 PM, whitestavern said:

Your state uni isn't always the least expensive option. My daughter (and actually my son as well) have no interest in our state uni. Neither of them want to attend that large a school. And I agree, for them . My dd applied to 13 schools, all but one was private. With the merit aid she received, at least five of them were the same or less than what we'd pay at our state uni. There is a LOT of merit out there. My daughter was not an academic superstar; she probably wasn't even in the top 10 or 15% of her class, but she got some great merit at schools in the top 100-150. University of ME has reciprocal tuition with a lot of states as well, so that's another option for inexpensive yet out of state.

There IS lots of merit aid out there, but it does come with strings to consider as well.

My ds is attending a small state school. It is costing us slightly more than one of the private schools he was offered great merit aid at. However, we wanted a school he could afford and stay at even IF he lost his merit scholarship. I did not want the added stress for him to have to keep a 3.5 in order to keep his merit $ and stay at the private school- no way we could’ve afforded it without it.

so that’s something else to consider- what are the requirements for keeping the merit scholarships at each school? Can you afford those schools without it? 

We found he was given merit aid at each state school as well (some quite a bit) but the difference was if he lost it for some reason, we could still afford to keep him there.

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On 3/1/2019 at 1:35 PM, skimomma said:

 

Other couple think that "the college experience" (being far from home, dorm living, etc....) is very VERY important....almost to the point of "forbidding" their dd to even think of attending our home university.  They feel that choice of major should not take job prospects into consideration.  Loan repayment is not a concern as they will fully fund all college expenses for any direction their dd choses.  Also, interestingly, their own college expenses were 100% covered by their parents and they graduated debt free.

 

They (the other couple) think what we are doing is almost abusive.  Not just dickering over who pays for what or limiting what we will pay for, but by encouraging her to consider staying close.  It is "stifling" and "helicoptering" and dd will "never learn to grow up."  This is not an uncommon theme from other parents in my area.  Most of these parents are also tied to the university so we really all do have a front row seat to student life.  We all tend to fall into the two solid camps that our friends and we do.  It's either, this is a pretty good deal, this is a pretty good school, this town is big enough for our kids to have most of the "college experience" without breaking the bank.  Or it's, our kids are too familiar with out local university to get the "college experience," they will never learn to grow if they don't go off somewhere new, and "why wouldn't you want your kid to aim higher than a non-flagship state school?"

 

 

I wanted to put this in a more global perspective. Outside of North America, it's very common for people to live at home while they go to university. They become fully functional adults.

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8 hours ago, Hilltopmom said:

However, we wanted a school he could afford and stay at even IF he lost his merit scholarship. I did not want the added stress for him to have to keep a 3.5 in order to keep his merit $ and stay at the private school- no way we could’ve afforded it without it.

so that’s something else to consider- what are the requirements for keeping the merit scholarships at each school? Can you afford those schools without it? 

We found he was given merit aid at each state school as well (some quite a bit) but the difference was if he lost it for some reason, we could still afford to keep him there.

 

 

That is a big thing. I can't imagine a kid under the stress of keeping a 3.75. I actually saw that somewhere! though 3.5 seems the most common. I'm thankful my son's choice only requires a 3.0 which seemed fairly reasonable. Even if you are a superstar student, what if you get sick, have diasagreements with your teacher, or have some personal family crisis that makes it hard to focus. It also means my son will probably not risk too much exploring of interesting topics that might be more difficult for him because he can't lose his scholarship. We are taking that risk because in our particular circumstance there are few options. 

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