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Storygirl

How being full pay affects thinking about college

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I'm not sure your expectation that the motivation will come from her is realistic for most teens, regardless of test scores or grades.

My oldest is a high achieving junior in private high school, and I've also worked with several other teens on college applications and essays. I think the process is pretty overwhelming for most, including kids who can handle certain parts of the process exceptionally well. 

Pick out 5-10 options that, as a parent, you believe are both affordable and appropriate for your daughter. Either encourage her to schedule tours and info sessions, or you do it if she doesn't. As you look at options (and I'm including gap year, 2-year, and 4-year schools) she will either start to envision herself choosing and enjoying some of them, and generating some energy for the process, or not. Either way it will tell you something. But don't close down options before she even has a chance to visit campuses, meet current students, and picture herself doing it.

I really do think the intensity of college searches and the cost of higher ed these days have made it difficult for MOST teens to figure out their next step independently. Scaffolding college visits, while building increasing independence, is the way to go, I think. The planning and visits are themselves an opportunity to learn and grow. 

It's great that you know that social support helps your daughter reach her potential. Find schools or gap year programs that excel in that. I wouldn't be surprised if you find some state schools, not the flagship, that have stellar tutoring and career services. We've visited 5 schools so far, and some clearly prioritize counseling and educational support much more than others, and I think it's often schools that aren't targeting top students who do these things best.

Amy

 

Edited by Acadie
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(I didn't read all the responses.)  But I think it's really normal at this age (16/17, jr in highschool) to not really have ideas about college.  It still seems far away to them.  Do you have the possibility of sending her to a week long camp in an area of interest on a college campus this summer?  I think an experience like that can really help kids start to picture what college might be like and they can start to "see" themselves doing it and get interested in the options, etc.  

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"Full Pay" can mean many different things in relationship to the Full Sticker Price shown on the college/university web sites. The average discount is about 40 or 50 percent for those who are "Full Pay"?    I can't remember the average discount percentage, but it is substantial. Choose your words carefully, but ask for a Discount...

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When I stop to think about it, it is a little crazy to expect 16 and 17 year olds to choose from the millions of jobs out there and make a plan when they have no idea about the vast majority of options.

 

At one time, people just did what their parents did or their parents often chose for them or apprenticed them out. Of course, if you go back far enough everyone had the same job, obtain food and shelter.

 

In some countries, children are tracked into groups and given general ideas.

We used to have enough money to just try things and fail or switch. Health Insurance and retirement weren't on my radar at 18-20 years of age. Before my mid 20's we had started saving though for retirement. You could survive switching or failing though.

Even those who went to college didn't need to prove they had a career plan beforehand. Typically, only the upper classes went. You weren't going to destroy your life with 6 figure debt by going and just learning for learnings sake.

I'm not sure this method of getting kid's started in life is rational or even sane.

 

This isn't targeted at you OP. You are stuck in this society with these options. I'm not sure what to tell my clueless (but smart and hardworking) almost 17 year old daughter either. More pondering at the madness of the current reality and thinking if perhaps there are ways to opt out for my family. 😁

 

 

 

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My dad was one that did college as the next thing.   It was his parents that even filled out his application form.  He didn't finish the first semester.  He contends that it is because his parents paid for it.  I contend that it was because he wasn't motivated and he didn't have a reason to be there.  

In Dad's case he got lucky and it worked out fine.  He went to a tech school and flunked (being color-blind) from computer hardware into programming.  This was the late 60's.   Back then computer programming was NOT respected.   That is why women were allowed to do it.  

One idea, instead of assuming college is the next step, put the decision on her.   If she doesn't make a decision, the default is for her to get an apartment after high school, and that will be tough on Chik-Fil-A pay.   Otherwise, she might think that the default was living in your basement and having no worries.   

 

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I can only tell you what has helped us.

Oldest attended community college first and did well at community college.  That helped him get merit based scholarships.  High School wouldn't have allotted him the scholarships he got!  He was homeschooled and didn't test well.

Middle decided to go public and went to a relatively cheap public college.  We are paying for it.  It is the cheapest public college in the state!  

We told our boys they could go anywhere, but we would only pay for public college amounts.  Anything more than that, they cover the difference.  My oldest will end up with about $30K in loans.  He is aware.  

We want it to be equitable for all of our kids.

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