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Should I go to college out-of-state?


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I'm finishing up my junior year of high school, but I actually should be graduating this year. My birthday's October 5th, 2003, and the state where I live has a winter cutoff, which means that I was supposed to start Kindergarten in the fall of 2008. However, because my parents didn't have a lot of confidence in me, they waited until the fall of 2009 to send me. All through school, I've felt embarrassed about being a year behind, and out-of-place for being more than a year older than some of my classmates. The thing is, though, that most states have a September cutoff, which means that in most states, I wouldn't have been allowed to start Kindergarten until the fall of 2009. Thus, by the standards of most states, I'm in the right grade. If I went to college in a state with a September cutoff, I'd be exactly in the year I'm supposed to be in, and there wouldn't be anything weird about turning 19 in October of my freshman year, since that's the norm for October-born people in that state. I'd still be one of the very oldest, but I'd fall within the normal age range for my year. I know this seems crazy, but lately, nothing has been more important to me than being normal and fitting in.

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Sziib, 

I am sorry that you feel out of place.   The age-based progression you have experienced thus far in your education is unlikely to continue once you graduate high school. Most colleges and universities strive for diverse student bodies. You will find dual-enrollment high school students, recent high school graduates, students who took gap years, and returning adult students in the same classroom.  You might find a few seniors in a freshman level survey course and freshmen in an upper level seminar.  Full-time, part-time, and non-degree seeking students will take classes together but each will be on his/her own timetable.  Age will be largely irrelevant.  Even among the recent high school graduates you will find student ages differ by several years.  You will find this to be the case whether you go to college in your own state or a different state.  Remember, some students from other states and countries will select colleges in your state.  

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I understand completely. I have a child who is grade skipped and really hopes that next year, when in college full time away from home, they won’t be the little kid anymore and will just blend in. Having said that, colleges have a lot less age stratification than high schools do. One metric you may want to look at is the % of non-traditional students. These would be adults returning to college, usually over age 25. Believe me, being 19 vs 18 doesn’t stand out when there is a grandma living two dorm rooms down (as was the case in my freshman dorm)! Being slightly older can be an advantage, too, particularly if you are interested in being an RA or other campus jobs that require a little more responsibility. Some class field components or internships cannot be done below age 18. So, while it really stinks now, it probably won’t be a big deal once you’re actually in college. 
 

As far as out of state vs in state, if you choose a private school, it doesn’t matter. Scholarships and financial aid will be based on whatever the school bases them on normally, whether it’s need, merit, or a combination thereof. For state schools, scholarships vary. Some schools give out of state waivers and then stack scholarships on top of it, making them very affordable out of state (Alabama, Arizona, and Oklahoma are good states to look at here), or have excellent merit aid if you qualify for National Merit (Florida, Alabama) or have very inexpensive tuition to start with (North Dakota, New Mexico). Others do not (Pretty much everything that has a coastline). For the best scholarships, you need to be above the 75% of entering students. 

 

Overall, what you want is a school where a) you have a good program in your major b) you feel comfortable and that you can fit in, and c)you can afford. Geography is part of that, but with over 2000 colleges and Universities in the USA, there really is a place for everyone. If you read the college board, you can find a lot of threads on the college search process. 
 

Good luck at finding the right fit. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Dmmetler said:

 Being slightly older can be an advantage, too, particularly if you are interested in being an RA or other campus jobs that require a little more responsibility. Some class field components or internships cannot be done below age 18. 
 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

It's not like I'll be able to be an RA or do said internship any earlier in my life. I'm going to be an adult in the fall of 2021 when I'm a 12th grader, but the same would be true if I were to be a college freshman at that point. If a certain internship has an age requirement, you'll have to wait until that age to do the internship, no matter what year you're in.

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3 hours ago, Sziib said:

It's not like I'll be able to be an RA or do said internship any earlier in my life. I'm going to be an adult in the fall of 2021 when I'm a 12th grader, but the same would be true if I were to be a college freshman at that point. If a certain internship has an age requirement, you'll have to wait until that age to do the internship, no matter what year you're in.

But it does potentially give you four full years of eligibility for such positions, while if you started school in August, you would be locked out that first semester, minimum. Being legally adult has some advantages, too, not just disadvantages.

 

The other thing you may want to consider-can you possibly graduate after summer session, or in December? Seniors often only really need one or two classes, and If dual enrollment is a possibility, you could easily knock out, say,  English and US Government this summer at a community college, even if your high school doesn’t offer them. You could then take a gap year or start at a community college in the fall and transfer. Now, the downside of that is that you will miss your senior year, and transferring often changes scholarship eligibility, but if you really want to graduate early, it likely can happen. 

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I was seventeen when I started college.  I’d much, much rather be nineteen.  At that age every year older is another year of life experience and maturity, and it matters. The slightly older kids had more of an idea of what they wanted to do with themselves and how to get there.  There is absolutely no downside to being a 19 year old freshman.  You won’t stand out, and you might have an advantage.  

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2 hours ago, Lawyer&Mom said:

I was seventeen when I started college.  I’d much, much rather be nineteen.  At that age every year older is another year of life experience and maturity, and it matters. The slightly older kids had more of an idea of what they wanted to do with themselves and how to get there.  There is absolutely no downside to being a 19 year old freshman.  You won’t stand out, and you might have an advantage.  

It's not like you were any less mature at 17 as a college freshman than you would've been had you been had you been a high school senior at that time. You were just less mature relative to the people in your year. The exact same people in the world who were more mature than you would've still been more mature than you had you been held back. You just wouldn't have known many of them.

As far as experience goes, you were probably more experienced(in least in terms of education) than you would've been at any given point in time, because you had more schooling under your belt. I think a 17-year-old college freshman has a better idea of what they want to do than a 17-year-old high school senior, even if they don't have as good an idea as an 18-year-old college freshman. By your 18th birthday, you had already experienced a few weeks/months in college. If you had been held back, you'd have still been in high school on your 18th birthday with no experience in college. Again, you were probably less experienced relative to the people in your year, but probably more experienced relative to people world-wide.

There are a lot more people in the world than just those we've gone to school with. It makes more sense to compare yourself to people your age than people in your grade, as age is scientifically-based while grade-placement is conventionally-placed. Growing up, you probably knew more than most people you age, but just didn't know many of them.

While there may be no physical downside to being a 19-year-old freshman, it's not natural or normal to turn 19 before January of freshman year in my state. It's better to follow a natural schedule with less desirable results than an unnatural schedule with more desirable results. To your last sentence, I might have an advantage over other people in my year, but like I said before, the default way to compare yourself should be to people your age, not in your year. While I, as a 19-year-old freshman, may have an advantage over the 17/18 year-old freshman, I'll be far less experienced in life than a 19-year-old who's a sophomore/junior.

 

Also, if you didn't like starting college at 17, why didn't you just take a gap year after high school? 

 

 

 

 

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The 19 year old freshman will be competing for grades, internships etc. with the 17 and 18 year old freshman, not the 19 year old sophomores and juniors.

I actually skipped a grade to be a 17 year old freshman.  It was supposed to be a good thing.  What did I know?  If I could do it over I would do something else for a few years and start college at 20 or 22!

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26 minutes ago, Lawyer&Mom said:

The 19 year old freshman will be competing for grades, internships etc. with the 17 and 18 year old freshman, not the 19 year old sophomores and juniors.

 

First of all, it would be pretty low of me to compare myself to younger kids in order to look good. Anybody would win a competition competing against people 1 to 2 years younger than them. It's nothing to be proud of. Secondly, I don't have a particularly competitive nature. Coming out on top isn't as important to me as it might be to others. Being on an unnatural and abnormal path just to win things is not worth-it.

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Some wise and compassionate voices on this board have given you great feedback and not taken offence at your aggressive responses.  Bear in mind that this forum is a homeschool discussion board and most of us are people who've realised that there are more important things in life than being like everyone else.  If you're looking for people to agree with you that your life would be better if you just fit inside the boxes... this may not be the place to find them 😛

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Everyone feels that they don't fit in somehow. If you get to a situation where your age is the same as that of others, there will be something else that makes you different. So address the "I must fit in" feelings. Learn to be comfortable with who you are. That is what you need, not to be somewhere with same-age peers.

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I'm going to tell you honestly -high school is the last time in your life anyone will ever care if you are 6 months older or younger (if they do now.) It may feel important but it isn't.  Age is an unimportant factor in almost everything else you do in the rest of your life. 

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3 hours ago, theelfqueen said:

I'm going to tell you honestly -high school is the last time in your life anyone will ever care if you are 6 months older or younger (if they do now.)   

The facts are still there, whether anyone else knows or cares. If a tree falls in the forest, it makes a sound even if nobody's around to hear it. If I go to college in my home state, I'm a year behind in school even if no one else knows or cares.

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No one will pay any attention unless you look dramatically older or younger than everyone else. Colleges have more age diversity than high school; people have taken a gap year or are coming back to college after years away. Also, many people started school in another state and moved. I think you will find most adults don’t really care about age differences of a few months.

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It sounds to me like you are pretty well set on going to college as soon as possible and finally fitting in age-wise. It sounds like you just really feel like you need to do this. The reason you are getting push-back is that college is a very expensive method for trying to fit in -- we have all been there and it works best when you use it to get a useful degree. You can't help your feelings and desires, but you can take a step back and ask yourself seriously if your feelings are being dictated by the "high school bubble" that makes people want to buy letter jackets and class rings. I would say to go volunteer or travel and see what your preferences look like then - that will cost a few thousand dollars, rather than 15-45k. You can be very, very smart at a young age (I know I was) and yet not be wise at all.

A few anecdotes:

- My husband refused to go to college after high school and bummed around. Then he went to Africa and taught English for four months. Then he went to community college for a year and got perfect grades and recs. Then he went to an East coast ivy league college with a bunch of other older students, and majored in a STEM field. Some of his friends chose interesting majors, and then had to go back into school after graduation to get a job with a more marketable major (one of them was a poli sci major who had testified before congress - and still had to go back for computer science). 

- My brother in law followed the path he was supposed to and went to college at 18, but he was interested in the "social aspects" most. He failed out of his first year. He went to Haiti for several months and helped rebuild after a hurricane. He came back and majored in a STEM major and graduated and got a job during covid.

These are just random anecdotes - but they illustrate the major point, which is that college is a very expensive place, and it is currently used mostly as a "find myself and my place in life" type of experience for a lot of (especially younger) kids, but older students frequently are just a little more able to be practical and realize that school is just there to set you up for what comes after it - the rest of life. 

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What do you want to major in? What are your long term plans and goals, besides "not be the oldest in the room"?  

 

The other thing to keep in mind is that it is really, really normal to feel "done" going into your senior year and ready for new adventures. It's not an age thing so much as a "ready for the next stage" thing, and you'd likely have felt it last year if you had been a 16 turning 17 yr old senior. It just kind of comes with that 13th year of school for most kids. Everything has primed you to be ready to move on at that stage. 

 

My suggestion for this year-see if you can do dual enrollment at a local school. In many states this is free or very low cost. If you can finish your final classes for your senior year there, and maybe even an elective or two, you'll be in college with people who are 18 and older almost across the board, but can still use this year to apply to colleges as an incoming freshman and get the best scholarship options. DE often is truly the best of both worlds for seniors who are "done", but not "done" yet. And since a semester of DE is generally equivalent to a high school class, it can also be a way of adjusting to a college schedule before you're dropped in full time, while allowing more time for other interests. You'd have to check with your high school as to what they allow, but a lot of homeschooled kids do just DE their senior year. 

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On 4/30/2021 at 9:40 AM, Dmmetler said:

The other thing to keep in mind is that it is really, really normal to feel "done" going into your senior year and ready for new adventures. It's not an age thing so much as a "ready for the next stage" thing, and you'd likely have felt it last year if you had been a 16 turning 17 yr old senior. It just kind of comes with that 13th year of school for most kids. Everything has primed you to be ready to move on at that stage. 

This is true for college seniors, too. My dd is graduating in 2 weeks and has very serious senioritus!

OP, we held my oldest back a year in 2nd grade when we moved from a different country back to the US because she started a year earlier in that country than she would have in the US. Even so, she was one of the oldest graduating in her high school class. We didn't want oldest to be the youngest driving and dating and relying on friends who could drive or were just that much more mature than she was. Being one of the oldest in her class, she was much more mature and able to make good decisions. She had a better idea of what she wanted to do in her life.

We also have a dd who was one of the youngest in her class and wishes we had held her back for  a year before starting kindergarten. I don't know why we didn't think about her being so much younger. She went into college and could have graduated after 2 years when she was 19. The day before a major deadline, she called me in a panic and told me she wasn't ready to head out into the world and she didn't feel confident that her degree would get her where she wanted to go, simply because she was so young and inexperienced. Thanks to so many recommendations here, she ended up adding a second major to graduate with her class peers and has a good job lined up. If I were to do it over, I would wait a year with this dd. The extra maturity really makes a difference.

@Sziib, your parents did the best they could with what they knew. You don't know how things would have turned out if you had gone through school a year younger. You wouldn't have the same insight and maturity you have now. Neither of my girls felt like they fit in, one because she was more studious and less into partying than most of her peers and the other because she always felt like she was trying to keep up with her peers. In college, they both found people who were like are. Some were older and some were younger. It wasn't really the age specifically that attracted them, it was the shared interests and personalities. You will also find that when you go to college. Based on the experiences in my family, I would highly recommend you finish out your senior year. But only you really know yourself and what you need. However, you'll go further if you're able to let go of the anger towards your parents and recognize they were doing the best they could with what they knew. As a parent, there are always things we would go back and change if we could. The anger, though, unless you're able to channel it into something productive, will cause you difficulties. I wish you much luck as you make your decision. Keep me updated!

 

 

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1 hour ago, wilrunner said:

OP, we held my oldest back a year in 2nd grade when we moved from a different country back to the US because she started a year earlier in that country than she would have in the US. Even so, she was one of the oldest graduating in her high school class. We didn't want oldest to be the youngest driving and dating and relying on friends who could drive or were just that much more mature than she was. Being one of the oldest in her class, she was much more mature and able to make good decisions. She had a better idea of what she wanted to do in her life.

We also have a dd who was one of the youngest in her class and wishes we had held her back for  a year before starting kindergarten. I don't know why we didn't think about her being so much younger. She went into college and could have graduated after 2 years when she was 19. The day before a major deadline, she called me in a panic and told me she wasn't ready to head out into the world and she didn't feel confident that her degree would get her where she wanted to go, simply because she was so young and inexperienced. Thanks to so many recommendations here, she ended up adding a second major to graduate with her class peers and has a good job lined up. If I were to do it over, I would wait a year with this dd. The extra maturity really makes a difference.

 

 

 

 

Your older daughter wasn't any more mature at a given point in time than she would've been if she had been the grade above, nor was your younger daughter any less mature than she would've been had she been in the grade below. They also didn't drive earlier or later than they would have otherwise. Someone born in October of 2016 will be able to drive in October of 2032, regardless of whether they're a 10th grader or an 11th grader at that point, as well as go to bars in October of 2037 regardless of whether they're a college junior or a college senior at that point. The set of people in the world who drive and drink before and after them will be the same.

The idea that holding a child back makes them more mature is just an optical illusion. They're more mature relative to their classmates, but their absolute maturity is no greater than it would've been had they not been held back. If anything, they're slightly less mature that they would've been as they haven't completed as much education at that given point in time. Your younger daughter wasn't truly inexperienced. She was just less experienced than her classmates. But her objective experience relative to all of humanity was no less than it would've been had she been in the class below. In reality, she had completed more education at that point in time than she would have had you held her back.

 

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On 4/29/2021 at 7:02 PM, fourisenough said:

Troll?

I gather it's more what wilrunner is getting at in her final paragraph--I pick up that this is a teen mad at her parents' decisions about when to start kindergarten. I'm wondering if the motivation is that this student really wants to go to college out of state, but her parents don't support that, and she's looking for a reason to back up why it's so important to go out of state. Otherwise, I would expect she would just apply out of state and go. We can't afford out of state for our kids, so unless they get scholarships, they have to choose between any of the public instate schools. Fortunately, there are many good choices. I can imagine many other parents have the same stipulation. I could be guessing totally wrong on that, but that's how it's reading to me.

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48 minutes ago, Sziib said:

 

Your older daughter wasn't any more mature at a given point in time than she would've been if she had been the grade above, nor was your younger daughter any less mature than she would've been had she been in the grade below. They also didn't drive earlier or later than they would have otherwise. Someone born in October of 2016 will be able to drive in October of 2032, regardless of whether they're a 10th grader or an 11th grader at that point, as well as go to bars in October of 2037 regardless of whether they're a college junior or a college senior at that point. The set of people in the world who drive and drink before and after them will be the same.

The idea that holding a child back makes them more mature is just an optical illusion. They're more mature relative to their classmates, but their absolute maturity is no greater than it would've been had they not been held back. If anything, they're slightly less mature that they would've been as they haven't completed as much education at that given point in time. Your younger daughter wasn't truly inexperienced. She was just less experienced than her classmates. But her objective experience relative to all of humanity was no less than it would've been had she been in the class below. In reality, she had completed more education at that point in time than she would have had you held her back.

 

I understand what you're saying, but I in part disagree with you. In a vacuum, each person's maturity wouldn't be affected by their peers. Unfortunately, no one lives in a vacuum. Our experiences are what give us growing opportunities Our responses to those challenges then affects our maturity. When we are in high school, our peers are what provides us with challenges. How we respond to those peers and situations allows us to mature and grow into adults.

Each of my dd's were influenced by their peers. In my oldest dd's case, because she was a year older, she had an extra year of experiences, which affected her perspective. She tended to fit better with people older than she was. Unfortunately, because she was in a public high school that was age segregated except for a few electives, she was stuck with peers who had different priorities until she got to college. She had a hard time as a junior and senior in high school.

My younger dd was the youngest in her peer group. She was exposed to dating, driving, and other situations just based on the other kids in her class being older. Because she didn't have as much experience with (specifically) dating, she felt like she was always behind. She wasn't. She was where she needed to be based on her age (like you said, @Sziib), but relative to her peers, she felt behind. She did have an older sister who was sometimes willing to help her.

I tell my kids (I also have a son) that there are things they can't see while they're in the situation, but once they're a few years out of that situation, they can see it. Our conversation here falls under that. In about 10 years, I think you'll be able to look back and see what I and the other posters are telling you. That's not meant to be a slam against you. These same situations can happen to adults, too. It's a human issue, not a teen one.

Sometimes, unfortunately, we just don't fit in at the moment. But there's always something we can learn from the experiences. I've told my kids (and I keep telling myself this) because sometimes things are just HARD! Hang in there! Your circumstances will change and you'll have other things to be excited about. What are you looking at majoring in at college?

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