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Help! My daughter still cannot choose a college.

AmavelAmavel 8 replies3 threadsRegistered User New Member
edited July 2013 in Parents Forum
I have a very shy daughter that has to decide between CU Boulder and SDSU.
She did an overnight orientation at CU Boulder and left in tears. She now feels scared and wants to be closer to home (we live in northern CA).
SDSU- would be a 40 min plane ride or 8 hour drive. CU Boulder- in a different state, 45 min drive to airport and 2 1/2 hour plane ride.

I think CU Boulder has a lot more to offer and beautiful school. But I've heard so many students dropping out after the first semester because of home sickness. She also has a best friend going to SDSU which would make it a lot easier to have the confidence to join social clubs with a friend.

Do you think being in the same state and shorter distance and having a friend would really make a difference for homesickness?

We need to make a decision ASA, so any advice would be much appreciated!
edited July 2013
71 replies
Post edited by Amavel on
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Replies to: Help! My daughter still cannot choose a college.

  • MarianMarian 13200 replies83 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If she's inclined to go to SDSU, I see no reason to discourage it.

    Sometimes we have to trust young people to know their own comfort zones.

    One of mine deliberately chose a college close to home. That's what he wanted at the time. Four years later, he couldn't wait to move to the other side of the country. People's feelings change. What was right for him at 22 would not have been right at 18.

    My other kid chose a more distant college, and it turned out (without prior planning) that one of her closest high school friends chose the same school. Having a close friend on campus did make the transition more comfortable -- even though the two girls drifted apart later.
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  • beermebeerme 840 replies38 threadsRegistered User Member
    Your d needs to get help for her anxiety.
    Listen to your daughter wanting to be closer to home.
    Perhaps the local cc until she can psychologically handle separating from your family.

    What if she and her best friend have a falling out?
    Your d depending on someone else puts an unfair burden on her friend, who deserves to have a carefree college experience.
    What if the best friend starts hanging out with a group that doesn't like your d?
    Or starts to resent your d for holding her back socially?
    You don't want your d to be calling you in tears everyday and torpedoing her gpa as a result of her unhappiness.
    Good luck.
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think CU Boulder has a lot more to offer and beautiful school.

    It sounds like you would prefer CU -- but this is about your daughter, not you. Listen to her instincts. A kid who leaves an overnight stay in tears should NOT attend there (or any other school where that happens). Agree that you may want to have her seen for anxiety at home before school starts... but I would let her make the choice. Given the timing of your post I am guessing she would not be rooming with the friend, and may very well not live anywhere near her on campus. She will have to make her own friends to some extent anyway. I say let her go where she feels more confident attending, even if it is not the choice you would make.
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  • GladGradDadGladGradDad 2804 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'm wondering why she'd choose an OOS state U over an in-state state U. I also wonder how the costs compare.

    What's wrong with SDSU in her/your mind? Is there something unique about CU Boulder vs. SDSU that's a strong appeal?

    Regarding the homesickness - I don't think it makes a difference which one she goes to really. You've got to think of it realistically and practically. Even though SDSU is closer, is that relevant? She'll still be staying in her dorm without the family, spending weekends there without the family, etc.

    The only real difference might be the number of occasional trips home if finances are an issue. Realistically, she's not going to come home every weekend. She'll likely only come home at Thanksgiving, winter, spring, and summer breaks and I assume she'd do that from Colorado just as frequently as she would from San Diego unless the cost is a factor for you and significant.

    Why did she leave Boulder 'in tears'? Was there something she didn't like or was it pure loneliness? Did she stay overnight at SDSU and leave there in tears as well?

    A lot of students have an adjustment period ahead of them when they leave home and attend college elsewhere whether 3,000 miles away or 300 miles away (or even 30 miles away). The vast majority will adjust and get over the loneliness/homesickness factor once they settle in, make friends, get involved in activities, get involved in their studies, and get into a routine. It sounds as if your D might see that as a higher hurdle than some others but she'll likely end up fine.

    As far as the friend at SDSU - unless it's a very close friend (and even then) there's nothing to say they'd actually really pal around with each other. Both of these are large schools with a large pool of potential friends and people have a habit of 'moving on' friendship wise between HS and college. Most likely your D and this friend will end up with their own new circles of friends although they can intersect of course.

    Outside of attending a local college and living at home and commuting due to homesickness (and not facing one's fears but rather succumbing to them), I don't see much of a difference in the loneliness/homesickness factor between Boulder and San Diego (other than San Diego IMO is a much more fun place to be located than Boulder but that's subjective).
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  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 34785 replies1076 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Perhaps it would help her to take a gap year. Both my kids did, not because of anxiety but because they wanted a break to breathe through the slog through school.

    They each ultimately chose a school that was less than 200 miles away. Many times we were very relieved that they did so. It can make things a whole lot easier.

    Even if kids don't have mental health issues when they begin college those can develop with little warning, or physical health concerns that require multiple dr visits to a specialists, or just because they want to come home at a time besides the holidays or you want to see them compete or perform at their school.

    But if she is going to college in the fall- she should pick provided it is affordable.
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  • moonchildmoonchild 3266 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Let your daughter choose. It sounds like she's choosing the more affordable option, also.

    If your daughter plans to work in California after college, it will be to her benefit to attend a school in the state.
    And yes, I do think it's easier for some people to adjust if they are closer to home, even if they rarely come home. Just the fact that you can if you wanted to is enough to be a comfort.
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  • azcatzazcatz 85 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I would say that SDSU might be a better place for her. Like previous posters have said, just knowing you CAN come home might make a big difference.
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  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys 16629 replies66 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agree. I've known several parents who ended up flying across the country, renting a car and driving their kids home after a week or two. My oldest's roommate high tailed in back to St. Louis under his own steam after the first weekend (from Colorado). All those kids were smart and you would have thought they could have adjusted to college, but all ended up staying in their home state, graduating and happy as clams after getting closer to home. Ask her if she'd rather go to SDSU...it also has a beautiful campus in a beautiful town and kids go on to successful lives from there also.
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  • gouf78gouf78 7787 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If she can be successful close to home with a friend let her do it. Having ready made friends is a huge plus especially for someone shy.
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  • AmavelAmavel 8 replies3 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you for your advise, it is all very helpful.

    Just to clarify, I am absolutely allowing my daughter to make her own decision. She is also very torn between the schools. She feels Boulder has a lot more academic supports in place and some smaller class sizes for freshman.

    I have also mentioned a gap year many times and we have even gone to a gap year fair. She feels she would forget too much and left behind as all her friends are going to college and she is attending a gap year program.

    As for as the friend attending SDSU- Both girls feel, with a friend, they would be more incline to join clubs and go to social events. My D really wants to branch out and make new groups of friends.
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  • mom60mom60 7880 replies505 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I know kids who have attended both of those schools. At both places many find it hard the first semester to find good friends with similar interests. Especially if you are not a big party goer. In most cases by the end of the 2nd semester they were feeling much happier. Those who had the easiest adjustment usually had an interest that made it easier it connect or joined a sorority.
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  • takeitallintakeitallin 3352 replies26 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    One of my D's was very shy and did have some anxiety issues. She decided to attend our CC for 2 years. When she did transfer, it was to a school in No. Cal. (we are in So. Cal.) and a good friend was also going there. While she had definitely gained confidence by then, we still had to look long and hard for a school at which she felt comfortable. She roomed with her friend, she made a lot of new friends and she had a great time. Let her pick where she feels comfortable. I think having a friend there can be a huge help to start off!
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  • cheval54cheval54 24 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Hang in there and just "be there" for your daughter if she needs to talk or text you, any time of night or day. My D is a rising junior at a large OOS university, we are 4 hours away by plane or a 12 hour drive. She does have diagnosed anxiety and the first year was hard, both for her and for us, as parents. Be available, visit during parents weekend, listen and reflect her feelings (can you tell we have all been to counseling)! Schedule another visit perhaps 4-6 weeks after Parents weekend and use that as an anchor for her is she begins to worry, i.e. we will see you in a few weeks. This board was invaluable for me during the hard times. It was so helpful hearing from other parents that had been through similar situations.
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  • calla1calla1 1986 replies26 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I agree to let her make the decision. Sounds like Colorado feels too far away. Frankly, I'm a little surprised that SDSU feels much closer, as CA is a huge state. Very different vibe from Colorado as well.

    Make sure to visit SDSU several times to make sure she will be comfortable there, if that is the school she winds up choosing.

    I read a great idea on another thread (can't remember the thread or author to give appropriate credit) for taking a child to school a distance away. This family arrived in the area a week early, then did some sightseeing, etc, to get their child comfortable in that geographic area. After they dropped off their D, they stayed in the area for a couple of nights doing more sightseeing, then visited her AGAIN prior to leaving. This helped the transition for their anxious D.
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  • calmomcalmom 20583 replies167 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think SDSU is "closer" in more ways than one. There will probably be a larger number of students from northern California there, especially among students living in dorms -- so she may also find it easier to find a ride share arrangement to come home on vacations. Plus, if after spending a year there she still wants to be closer to home, she will have the option of transferring to a closer CSU -- because it is the same system, she'll know that she is completed required general ed courses and that her credits are all transferable.

    Also, if finances are a concern and she is Cal Grant eligible, then I think she will be able to keep the Cal Grant if she transfers from one CSU to another. I think if she goes out of state and then later transfers back, the Cal Grant is gone forever.
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  • katwkittenskatwkittens 2261 replies41 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    A closer CSU or maybe local CC (which in CA is much better than most other states) and then maybe she could include a UC at that point, my preference would be UC Davis but there are other choices!!

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  • MarianMarian 13200 replies83 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Another thing to think about -- if she chooses SDSU and then goes to their orientation, she might be as miserable there as she was at Boulder.

    This is not an argument in favor of Boulder (I think that the in-state familiarity of SDSU and the presence of a friend are big arguments in favor of SDSU). But your daughter could get into a situation where she thinks both colleges would be awful.

    If that happens, she should consider the fact that orientation and actual college are two dramatically different experiences. Some people love orientation but are less thrilled with college. For others, it's the other way around.

    Introverts in particular may detest orientation. Except for the course selection meetings and required indoctrination sessions, it's often a continuous party, with no opportunity to escape from constant social activity with large groups of people whom you don't know. For an introvert, this is about as appealing as getting your wisdom teeth pulled.

    But actual college is not like this. You have more choices about how to spend your time, and you can spend some of it on your own, if you need that to feel comfortable.
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  • coralbrookcoralbrook 7847 replies25 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I am biased here, live in San Diego. Your D is very lucky, there are about 70,000 students that would kill to go to SDSU. They received close to 75,000 applications and can only take about 5,000. It is especially hard to get into SDSU from out of the region.

    SDSU has a huge support system for anything you can imagine for incoming students. There is a week long orientation with a ton of fun stuff going on. The dorms are pretty yucky, but she'll get past that. I think the orientation will really help her get connected to the school.
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  • colorado_momcolorado_mom 8963 replies79 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Does she still have a choice? College decisions are usually due May1.

    CU Boulder is a beautiful school, but it is very big and very expensive for OOS. You are right to be open minded to her second thoughts.
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  • AmavelAmavel 8 replies3 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you again, for taking the time to respond. Your input is so helpful. It's comforting to know you are not the only one feeling this way.

    I think Marian is right and I have never thought about her CU orientation experience in that way. I think it was a long day, tons of people and then having to sleep with a stranger in a small room and take a shower down the hall, would be shocking.

    D was planning on CU Boulder and then at the last minute received a late acceptance to SDSU. She has till mid July to decided on SDSU.
    We only have one child and have put money away in a 529 plan, so are ok with the cost of either school and cost to travel.

    Below is my daughter's list of Pros and Cons. This is from touring both schools and reading reviews. Unfortunately, she had to tour SDSU during the summer. I think you get a lot more information touring a school while in session.

    Love to hear your input on her pros and cons list!

    Pro CU Boulder:
    Accepted into Leeds Business school (But, she doesn't know if she still wants business )
    Very Beautiful School
    Great college town
    Several great support programs (big plus for learning disability)
    RAP program - (Freshman take one class per semester with 20 students in your dorm.)
    Students are laid back and greek system is more casual
    D feels better education
    Safe area
    Great food and nice dorms

    Cons CU Boulder:
    Further away to travel
    Out of state- making connections after graduation
    Colder winters
    Doesn't have friends attending

    Pro SDSU:
    Great weather
    In state- making connections after graduation
    Has a friend attending
    Closer to travel home.

    Cons SDSU:
    Larger class sizes
    Not much support programs for D
    School impacted
    Dorms and food not as good
    Campus not as safe
    Greek life is cliquey and can dominate school. (wants to join sorority)
    She feels academics not as strong
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