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Where would a good student from NY, without any specific interests or motivation apply to college?

UtenochekUtenochek 1 replies3 threads New Member
Hi there everyone. I have a great kid who is a junior in a specialized HS in NY. Good student (upper 90s average and mid 1400s SAT on first try). However, absolutely zero interest in anything. No special areas of learning. No interest in visiting schools. No thoughts on majors. I have been dragging her on a few college tours, and everything is either "ok" or "meh". Any thoughts, ideas, advise on how to break this cycle of indifference? Any recommendations for schools to visit that are good for totally undecided? Thank you all!
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Replies to: Where would a good student from NY, without any specific interests or motivation apply to college?

  • Dancingmom518Dancingmom518 374 replies3 threads Member
    I have a junior as well, also a good student, and she just recently started showing interest in the college admissions process. Honestly, I think she was just in denial that college is around the corner, she will be moving away from home, etc. It’s a big change and I think she was just scared.

    Maybe give your daughter some time.
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  • Leigh22Leigh22 689 replies9 threads Member
    A friend’s D was the same way junior year. Turns out she was also just scared and overwhelmed. She’s going to CC and living at home for two years. It’s really not an issue you can force. I’d give her some space and just let her know you’re open for conversation.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 29739 replies176 threads Senior Member
    Does she have any life goals that can be used to begin to frame a list of possible jobs? If she knows the job she thinks she might want to have, then possible majors will begin to fall into place. If she's clueless about work, then even a part-time job as a cashier at the corner deli will help open her begin to see what different people do in their workplaces.
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  • PublisherPublisher 8522 replies91 threads Senior Member
    Consider taking a gap year to work or travel. Not everyone is ready for college at age 17 or 18.
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  • uskoolfishuskoolfish 2906 replies50 threads Senior Member
    edited February 27
    @Utenochek My favorite schools in NY are NYU (both D's attended for both undergrad and graduate--BM (vocal performance)/ MBA (marketing) and BFA (sculpture)/MA (Art Ed) and Skidmore. Both offer a ranch of majors (Business, sciences, liberal arts) with strong arts/ music/ theatre programs. One is obvs in NYC with amazing opportunities for internships. The other is in a great upstate NY location that has a great town nearby. I think both could be good for undecided students as long as they are motivated enough to try new things and take a range of courses, join clubs and possibly intern.
    edited February 27
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  • OttermaOtterma 1504 replies30 threads Senior Member
    edited February 27
    Have you made a point of varying the types of college tours you go on (large/small or city/college-town)? Maybe visit a womens college.

    You said that she declared some "ok" and some "meh". Is there anything that the Ok colleges had in common that you could focus on to get closer to what works for her?
    edited February 27
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 42060 replies453 threads Senior Member
    You could visit SUNY New Paltz, Vassar, and Marist - they're relatively different but close to one another. Start with SUNY New Paltz to establish a state school baseline.
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  • astute12astute12 674 replies9 threads Member
    Some kids just aren't ready to engage until senior year when their peers start talking about and visiting schools. Skidmore is a great place to start -- liberal arts with lots of options. And if all else fails and she really doesn't seem into college right out of high school, a gap year of travel or work or both.
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  • NJWrestlingmomNJWrestlingmom 1279 replies2 threads Senior Member
    S17 was a lot like this. He went along with it but didn’t show a ton of enthusiasm. He mostly took our suggestions and applied to schools we could afford. My the time spring of senior year came around, he was more engaged and made the decision on his own. He’s a very happy sophomore now. Sometimes it just takes a little time.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78639 replies697 threads Senior Member
    Perhaps a SUNY where any major of possible interest is not oversubscribed or restricted admission?
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  • WalknOnEggShellsWalknOnEggShells 605 replies28 threads Member
    Do you think the social aspect of college would appeal to your daughter? If so, maybe you could have her visit a friend's older sibling at a fun school instead of dragging her to tours.

    I have a kid that was just like yours. It went on for a long time, but she finally snapped out of it when we went to a school on a Friday night and she saw the kids having a ton of fun. Her whole attitude changed very quickly after that:-)
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5618 replies1 threads Senior Member
    One daughter seemed very undecided regarding where to attend university, and considered a pretty long list of schools without showing much preference. She then decided to apply to four schools that were both academically very good and also very affordable, plus one that was "safer" (although her grades made the first four plenty safe enough). She then seemed undecided where to attend. However, well before the deadline, she told us where she was going to attend and provided very sensible very well thought out reasons. Two years later she is doing very well and feels that she went to the right school.

    Sometimes indifference on the outside coexists with a lot of careful and well thought out thinking that is going on at the same time. It might mean that your daughter's thinking is more rational rather than emotional.

    The SUNY's will give you the combination of very good schools with a relatively affordable price for you. For a student who doesn't know what they want to study, it is not a bad idea to pick a school which would not be an economic disaster if a late change in major stretches things out to five years.

    It is likely that your daughter has a better handle on all of this than she is letting on.
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  • bjkmombjkmom 7941 replies158 threads Senior Member
    edited February 28
    Take a look at MA College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) It's about half an hour from Albany-- much closer than most of SUNY-- and they offer something like an 85% tuition reduction to NY residents. That makes them very close to SUNY prices, without the huge commute.

    And a Liberal Arts focus may help her find her path.

    It wasn't the right school for either of my older 2 kids, but I loved it.

    Oh, and my daughter is currently loving Plymouth State in NH... but it's 7 hours from our Long Island home. She adores the people there; the whole vibe is just so caring!
    edited February 28
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 1805 replies27 threads Senior Member
    I think you have two choices.

    First, tell her if she doesn't participate in the process you'll expect her to get a job and work until she figures it out.

    Or...you know your daughter. You know her strengths and interests. You know what type of school would be a good fit for her. Narrow it down to a couple. Take her to visit. Get the applications in. Choose one. Also, by the time acceptances roll around she may be more engaged.

    My son was not helpful in the process. I dragged him on visits. Although he was able to articulate what he did and didn't want to study. We got through the process with a lot of direction from me ( I marvel at the parents who have participatory children) and he is extremely happy as a freshman where he landed. Friends told me I was pushing him and that I shouldn't. But I knew he was just apprehensive and confused. I knew pushing him and guiding him was the right thing to do.

    You know your daughter best. You know the best way to handle this. Good luck!
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  • mom2twogirlsmom2twogirls 2251 replies29 threads Senior Member
    What are her ECs? Which classes does she seem to enjoy the most in school?
    This time last year, my d19 has only visited one college, only because I set it up. Left to her, she wouldn’t have visited any. While there, the first she said “if I have to go somewhere, this would be ok”. For the second in the spring, she said she liked it. She knew for the third in early summer before senior year that it was fine but not as good a fit. She knew when we visited the fourth in late summer that she wanted to apply ED.

    Slow and steady won the race for her. She needed to not feel overly rushed and she needed to really let things percolate a long time.

    We visited all 4 she applied to. She was able to articulate some of what she wanted (distance from home, major, she wanted big schools not small).

    It was important to her that she go to a school that had many engineering majors as she thinks that’s her goal and she loves and is strongest in math and science. But she preferred schools that also had many other STEM majors so that if she changed her mind, she wouldn’t have to leave the school. Those preferences, beyond the initial engineering interest, were pretty strongly guided by me. I didn’t tell her she had to choose that kind of school, but I brought up enough possibilities and potential issues that it made sense to her.

    Basically, I think I’m saying that not all kids are super into it and without knowing your kid, we can’t know what would be best. As others said, it could be an issue of just not being ready, but it could also just be a kid who isn’t super concerned and feels they would be fine anywhere and doesn’t really have enough firsthand info to be able to get that there are differences.

    Good luck!
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  • tkoparenttkoparent 205 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I find this thread very reassuring, as we also have a kid who has been a little bit of a bystander in this process. We see occasional flares of activity, enough to get the list completed, the essays written and the applications submitted, but I have been the primary driver and I read the posts from parents whose kids are deeply involved and opinionated with a sense of wonder. We're now two weeks away from receiving the RD decisions and getting on a plane to visit the schools that accept him. My intuition is that he will switch on once the opportunities are "live," and I think the distance he's maintained so far has allowed him to really fully enjoy his high school life without getting bogged down in this crazy process. I, on the other hand, feel tremendous pressure!
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  • bjkmombjkmom 7941 replies158 threads Senior Member
    @tkoparent I think there are a whole lot more of us around than you realize.... just not on this site.

    There can be so many reasons why a kid doesn't dive headfirst into this process. For my son, it was simply personality; at age 17 he simply wasn't a go-getter kind of kid. (PS: 3 years later, he's an EMT, and a volunteer fireman as he pursues his Criminal Justice degree at a local community college. One year away convinced him that this was what he wanted to do, and he's giving it all he's got.) Sometimes it's fear-- my daughter has anxiety issues, and I think it was simply too daunting a process for her. I have a thread here somewhere about how I needed to back off and let her be the driver her. And one day she woke up and said "I think I want to go see SUNY Oneonta..." To be honest, I still did a lot of the groundwork, researching schools where she was likely to get accepted and thrive. But a year later, she's thriving at Plymouth State in NH.

    The reality is that not every kid is a CC, Type A kind of kid. And that's OK. Our kids will all find their way, with as much help from us as they need.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4466 replies18 threads Senior Member
    When I hear these stories first I think of Adhd or learning disability if no interest in anything.... But if that's not the case you might just have a 100% regular kid.... Lol...

    If I left everything up to my son he might still be at home and not a sophomore in college loving it. Yes, we needed to be constantly on him till he got the idea on his own... Guess that's parenting....?

    Anyway, we also took both kids to local colleges first for fit /feel. Even just to have lunch and walk around. My daughter needs very small lac where my son needed big ten atmosphere. They both still saw their opposite on a regular tour just to make sure......... On one day at Northwestern we just joined the walking general tour and listened (sorry, yes we are like that sometimes) when we were just walking around. We were respectful but it sorta just fell in our laps.

    Also what does she do for fun or in her spare time? Clubs, activities, with friends? Search those things out at the colleges you go to.

    With my son we were looking for school with good engineering. After a few school tours he hated doing them. They were all the same to him. Everybody exclaimed their chemistry building was the best. He would tell me they all looked the same and like all the tours were basically the same rah rah speech, go school.

    So we changed things up and this really worked for him. We made visits and did the partial tour to get a feel but then bailed at some point to go have a talk with a professor of his interest,or department head. We /he got do much more out of this.

    If everything is meh then have her define that. Just don't except meh for an answer.

    If she doesn't want to go to college she will tell you. I see tons of kids that need a jump start. My son was also the kid that filled out applications very close to the deadlines and that drove us crazy but he got them all done in time. But he learned in college you can't wait till the last minute. They do grow and mature. College does that to them.

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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4466 replies18 threads Senior Member
    Also know thy child. My son when little never wanted to go sign up for baseball or football. But once there, every year, he just loved it and would tell us how happy he was. Then the next season the same thing. He is slightly introverted with some social anxiety. So doing college tours was no different then when he was younger but now in college he's totally changed to this go getter and making things happen for himself. He said that going away to college naturally matures you. He is so different but in a positive way.
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