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What happens when you and your parents don't see eye-to-eye on colleges?

yearbookstalkeryearbookstalker Posts: 102Registered User Junior Member
edited November 2012 in College Search & Selection
I'm a high school senior from MA who recently applied to several colleges EA. The schools I already applied to were a mix of matches and safeties. One of them is Southern Methodist University in Dallas TX, which was grown to be my top choice.`2
For me, SMU has a lot of great qualities that I need/want in a college:

-an beautiful, legit campus within a major city and easy access to restaurants and shopping.
-decent academics: I'll get a great education by going to class and studying, but I won't need to be in the library 24/7
-school spirit, which my HS lacked
-Southern hospitality...or just pure politeness in general
-nice, warmer weather for the majority of the year
-resources/alumni connections for jobs/internships
-pretty much a place where I will be happy and enjoy my 4 years
and a bunch of other factors.

Most importantly, it has a journalism program/newspaper that is up-and-coming and has the potential for me to make a difference within the department, versus at other top j-schools (i.e. Mizzou, Northwestern, etc.) where it would be much harder to stand out as a student.

So what's the problem? My parents-well, mostly my mom-think I'm "settling" for a less prestigious school.

My mom has made it very clear that she wants me to apply ED to George Washington University in D.C. She thinks it has more job connections and that it's just a better school in general. However, I do NOT like GW enough to commit ED (she's somehow under the impression that I don't really have to go, despite having 2 older bros going through this process.)
I don't like GW because it's too urban, too focused on politics (I know it's D.C., but you know what I mean,) doesn't really have school spirit, and simply reminds me too much of my HS-a high-stress environment where you need to outdo everyone else all the time.

Maybe I'm focusing too much on the traditional collegiate stuff. But, that's what I want. My HS is one of those college prep public schools where you're expected to study a lot and build up your resume all the time. For me, I need some normalcy in a college. I understand my mom's concerns about finding a job and stuff, but to me SMU and GW are almost on the same level and I will be fine at SMU. I accept the fact that I might be in the South for awhile, but I'm okay with that.

Am I wrong for focusing more so on the fit than the prestige?
Post edited by yearbookstalker on

Replies to: What happens when you and your parents don't see eye-to-eye on colleges?

  • barrk123barrk123 Posts: 3,461Registered User Senior Member
    Can you afford SMU?
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 53,225Registered User Senior Member
    How do cost, financial aid, and scholarships come into play at the various schools?
  • M's MomM's Mom Posts: 4,562Registered User Senior Member
    One way to defuse the situation is to agree that you'll apply to a school she's keen on and she will let you apply to the schools you are keen on. This entire argument may be moot if you are not admitted to GW or don't get enough aid at a particular school. My rule of thumb is never to fight about something that doesn't need to be fought about. These theoretical arguments are a waste of time and energy.

    IF you had to choose between GW and SMU (and possibly several other schools), then it's time to start making detailed comparisons.
  • WordworkerWordworker Posts: 869Registered User Member
    Problem is that mom is pushing for an ED application and denies that it would be binding.
  • yearbookstalkeryearbookstalker Posts: 102Registered User Junior Member
    Money isn't the issue. My parents and I can afford either school, although I'm probably more likely to get merit scholarships at SMU than GW.
    I'm willing to apply to GW regular, but before that deadline I will find out if I got into SMU or not.
    I've made it clear to my parents that if I get into SMU in December, I'm going.
  • barrk123barrk123 Posts: 3,461Registered User Senior Member
    Maybe she is confusing ED with EA
  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Posts: 29,955Super Moderator Senior Member
    I've made it clear to my parents that if I get into SMU in December, I'm going.
    Since your parents hold the power of the purse you should probably be more diplomatic and start working on their opinions over the long term until acceptance time. Drawing a line in the sand like that would have set my hackles on edge and made me resistant from the start.
  • BeanTownGirlBeanTownGirl Posts: 2,731Registered User Senior Member
    Would she still not believe it if she saw it in print? "The George Washington University is my first-choice college, and I am applying as an Early Decision candidate. I understand that the Early Decision program is binding and, if admitted to the University under this program, I agree to withdraw all other college applications and submit the non-refundable deposit by January 15 for Early Decision I or March 1 for Early Decision II."

    Can your guidance counselor help diffuse the situation?

    Have you been to SMU? Are you sure it is an environment you would be happy with? Reviews seem to paint it as preppy and conservative. Is there some other school that might serve as a compromise (Vanderbilt, Duke?)?
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Posts: 23,721Registered User Senior Member
    Is there any chance at all that for your mom SMU is too far away? When you talk with her about your college list, find out about that one.
  • yearbookstalkeryearbookstalker Posts: 102Registered User Junior Member
    Being diplomatic with my mom is hard. she's as stubborn as a mule.

    Idk about my guidance counselor. She's nice and all that, but I don't really feel comfortable talking to her about my problem.
    I visited in September with my dad. I think part of the problem is that my mom never visited but only has seen photos that we took, so she can't really understand why I like SMU better than GW (which she and I both visited. I can handle the preppy/conservative feel of SMU. I've talked to two students there through their Tour Guide/Ambassador program through several emails and they seem like the type of people I would get along with at SMU.

    I don't think the distance is too much of problem. It would be one thing if SMU was in California, but it was never an issue with my older bros. One was supposed to go to U of Miami, but then he got off the wait list at Richmond the day after his graduation. My other brother went to Emory (Atlanta) for a year before transferring to Columbia.
  • yearbookstalkeryearbookstalker Posts: 102Registered User Junior Member
    and there's no way in hell I would get into Vandy or Duke lololol
  • GolfFatherGolfFather Posts: 1,519Registered User Senior Member
    Can you afford SMU?

    Well, if they can afford GW, they should be able to afford SMU.
  • BeanTownGirlBeanTownGirl Posts: 2,731Registered User Senior Member
    Re: guidance counselor. I was thinking she would be the one who might be able to reassure your Mom that SMU is a good school. Better to hear it from someone she might consider an expert rather than from you? It is part of her job to shepherd students and their families through this process. I think it is worth talking to her to at least get her advice if not her help.
    What about your father? What does he think?
    Does your Mom believe in US News rankings? They are very closely ranked (51 vs 57).

    We visited GWU and while we thought it was cool to be in D.C., the fact that the campus is split into two pieces and you need to take a shuttle bus to go between them was a deal-breaker. OK, actually it was the sub-par engineering facilities that were the main problem. Hmmm, look up the crime rates - maybe they are significantly higher in D.C. and you can use the safety argument? Moms can be suckers for that argument ;-)
  • GolfFatherGolfFather Posts: 1,519Registered User Senior Member
    We visited GWU and the fact that the campus is split into two pieces and you need to take a shuttle bus to go between them was a deal-breaker.

    Sorry, don't know what you're referring to.
    I work next to GW and the campus is not split:


    Maybe you are referring to GW's off-campus programs?

    GW Graduate Off-Campus Programs

    Or the science and tech center?
  • BeanTownGirlBeanTownGirl Posts: 2,731Registered User Senior Member
    This is what I was referring to:
    "To help you find your way around when you get here, here are maps of our two Washington, D.C., campuses and our Virginia campus...Walking tours of the Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon campuses are also provided."
    We did the tour of the Foggy Bottom campus (near the White House), but did not stay for the Mount Vernon tour. It seems like there are many dorms at Mount Vernon as well as athletic facilities.

    According to the website, the Mount Vernon campus has:
    The 25-acre Mount Vernon Campus features:

    24-hour transportation to and from the Foggy Bottom Campus on the Vern Express
    Six residence halls
    • 687 students living on campus

    • Campus dining and student gathering places
    • Pelham Commons in West Hall
    • Athletic facilities
    • Lloyd Gymnasium
    • NCAA regulation soccer/lacrosse field
    • Softball field
    • Mount Vernon Tennis Complex
    • Six-lane outdoor swimming pool
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