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Common versus uncommon parental restrictions on college choices


Replies to: Common versus uncommon parental restrictions on college choices

  • scsiguruscsiguru Registered User Posts: 243 Junior Member
    Started off by looking at the CTCL's
  • NJSueNJSue Registered User Posts: 2,855 Senior Member
    We had no absolute restrictions (other than certain schools which I believe are overpriced at full-pay and for which I would have resented writing the check, but I'm not going to name them). I did consider these factors, among others, in evaluating schools during the application stage:
    four-year graduation rate
    freshman retention rate
    percentage of full-time residential students (should be very high)
    percentage of lower-level courses taught by part-time contingent faculty (should be low)
    percentage of faculty possessing terminal degrees in their disciplines
    per-student endowment (a sign of deep resources and ability to offer classes in arcane areas of student interest)
    existence of a Phi Beta Kappa chapter (not a requirement, but a signal)
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 20,519 Senior Member
    No restrictions but a requirement: My kids had to apply to the UC system (both applied to 3 campuses, though I don't remember if 3 was a requirement or merely a suggestion) -- with the understanding that they would be allowed to attend any UC that they got into -- but that I would not promise to pay for private colleges if cost exceeded the cost of whichever UC was most expensive after factoring in financial aid.

    The UC system was their safety -- hence the requirement. Not exactly a financial "safety" for me, but I did feel that I had a parental obligation to subsidize an in-state public education. Both kids ended up with out-of-state school that were somewhat more expensive, but well under the full-pay COA for the in-state publics.

    The requirement was due to finances, and also because I didn't want to find myself in the position of paying a premium for a private college that I believed to be significantly weaker academically than the our in-state public.
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 20,519 Senior Member
    We set a restriction early on they could not apply to a school where they were below the 50% of score averages. They had to be at the 50% mark or higher.

    That's seem like an odd restriction to me. Can you explain why? Were you looking for schools where you could expect large merit awards?
  • turtletimeturtletime Registered User Posts: 1,244 Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    Our restrictions were on finances and housing. She had to choose a school that could promise housing for at least the first year (if she wasn't living at home.) Preferably a school that offered all students on-campus housing all 4 years. She plans to keep her involvement in the theatre department and they generally pull late nights on campus on a regular basis. Knowing we can't afford to send her with a car, the notion of my 17-year-old bus hopping alone at midnight in a place like Chicago was just too much for me. As it turns out, all her favorites were in smaller communities with 90 percent and higher living on campus all four years. Perfect.
  • EllieMomEllieMom Registered User Posts: 1,878 Senior Member
    @amiable wrote: The only real restriction we put on our sons was that EVERY SINGLE SCHOOL on the final list had to be one that they would be willing to attend if that school's financial package was the best

    That's ours, too. Exactly.
  • awcntdbawcntdb Registered User Posts: 3,553 Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    @calmom - Our simple way of taking tests off the table, as deciding factors in their applications, and so that they fully understood the required standardized tests for admissions are serious deals. In the end, the restriction did not matter though - their scores were above the 50% mark of even the very top Ivys, so they were good to apply anywhere.
  • MomzieMomzie Registered User Posts: 846 Member
    No school where the majority of your classes will be big lecture classes. They are a waste of time. (I was a grad student at an R1 university and know from personal experience how little many of these professors care about teaching undergraduates.)
  • austinareadadaustinareadad Registered User Posts: 671 Member
    This may not be a very popular stand, but from the beginning I told my S that I would pay for him to go wherever I could afford on the condition that I could restrict what he could major in. He accepted that condition without an argument. I did agree that if he double-majored he could pick any for one as long as I had veto power over the other, and that seems to be where we are headed.
  • awcntdbawcntdb Registered User Posts: 3,553 Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    @austinareadad - I bet you there are many a "basket weaving" major parents who now wish they took your approach.

    If it works for your family, who is anyone to complain? It not like you are beating him. Plus, you know your kid much better than we do.

    One thing I can guarantee - he is thrilled his college is being paid for. He is hearing the debt stories and that one major seems like an awesome, cheap alternative to debt.
  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom Registered User Posts: 5,762 Senior Member
    My kids must apply to one instate safety as an emergency backup. I also nixed d's idea of majoring in parks and rec. D is a high stats kid and I'm not paying for her to have a four year long summer camp experience! She's welcome to take some parks and rec type classes for electives but she needs to major in something that has a reasonable chance of getting a year round job that's above minimum wage.
  • ordinarylivesordinarylives Registered User Posts: 3,195 Senior Member
    Well, one restriction was that the kid had to visit the college before applying. The second was that the price had to be under $X.

    However, after years in TRIO, I have seen every restriction on @ucbalumnus‌ 's list, with 2and 4 being the most common.

    You have to be close to home or live at home--very common in low income families, and especially among the women in certain ethnic groups. The parents depend on the college student to help with things like picking up and watching younger sibs after school or on the income from the college student's part-time job. Sometimes, there is fear of a student not having the family structure to control behavior. This is very difficult when the student's family obligations prevent studying.

    You must major in (usually business or something medical). I hate this one the most, especially when mom and dad won't give up premed, not understanding that 1 it's not a major and 2 the 2.8 at the end of year one would indicate junior isn't going to have the grades to get into med school anyway. A kid who hates accounting isn't going to make a good accountant.

    I wish more of my students were more price aware. But their parents sometimes feel they'll make a whole lot of money just by graduation and are willing to go deeply in debt for a social work degree. Then again, my students' families are very different from the typical cc family
  • planner03planner03 Registered User Posts: 1,358 Senior Member
    1. I wish affordability wasn't an issue, but unfortunately it is. Although I am not prohibiting S from applying to his top choice, Cornell, I have told him early and often we will NOT pay their price and his only way around it is to gain admission to another Ivy with better aid. (which Cornell will then match) The .ball is in his court.
    2. I placed no geography restrictions, S placed his own.
    3. S has placed his own prestige parameters.
    4. It has never, ever crossed my mind to dictate a major.

    Well, now that I think about it I guess I'm not much of a helicopter parent after all! Discussions are almost daily at this point, and I give my opinions but I feel that the choices are really for him to make. I am not really of the "bloom where planted" camp. Maybe I am just a bad gardener, but I have experienced a lot of less desirable outcomes!
  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 20,519 Senior Member
    @awcntdb‌ -- Sorry, I'm still confused:

    I understand this part:
    so that they fully understood the required standardized tests for admissions are serious deals.
    That makes sense as a motivator -- before the test scores are in -- but if a kid put in their best effort and their scores still fell short ..... then it seems to me that the student is being penalized. (Assuming that grades and other stats are within range for the target school, even if their test scores aren't at the top for that school).

    But I don't understand this:
    Our simple way of taking tests off the table, as deciding factors in their applications

    It seems to me that the rule does just the opposite -- it turns the tests as to the absolute deciding factor. I'm not sure where my daughter could have applied other than absolute safeties with that rule - though also have no clue as to how one would determine top 50%. (The CDS data shows the 50% mid range, so it is easy to determine top 75% level -- but it could take a lot of digging through the data to figure where the 50% mark was -- unless you are just acting on the assumption that it is the mid-way point of the 50% range -- which would be a reasonable but likely mistaken assumption. Though I suppose that if you are just trying to create an arbitrary cut off point, it doesn't matter.
    their scores were above the 50% mark of even the very top Ivys, so they were good to apply anywhere.
    That's fine for you -- it means that you had a "rule" that meaningless -- (though again, I'm puzzled as to how you determine that 50% mark, unless you mean instead that you wanted the scores to be within the 50% mid-range.

    But for all of the other kids -- outside the realm of those who absolutely need to be seeking out merit aid --that seems like a rule essentially forces students to apply only to safeties and low matches. For kids whose SAT scores are significantly higher than their GPA's, that might be good parental planning -- those parents might realize that the kid could wind up in a college that is beyond their capabilities if they managed to get into reach colleges based on scores that outpaced their grades.

    But for the others -- those who do not have Ivy-quality scores and whose scores are either a good match for the GPA or whose GPA's (and other stats/accomplishments) were stronger than test scores -- then that rule would tend to force the kids into safety schools that would be unlikely to challenge them or provide room for growth.

    So that's why I asked the question: why a rule that limits the student to safeties? Obvious the Ivies are not safeties for anyone -- but lets say the student has SAT's of around 1300 / 1950. The schools where those scores are top of range are by definition going to be far less selective, and much more likely the places where the higher scores pretty much guarantee admission.

    I can see a parent who does want their kid at an absolute safety for other reasons --for example, if the kid has medical or mental health problems, or a learning disability - some kids really do need to get their educations in a low-stress and nurturing environment -- but obviously that wasn't your rationale.

    I can also see your rule making a lot of sense to limit the number of reaches - to help ensure that the college list is not top-heavy with reaches and to force a kid to seriously look at and consider safeties -- but in that case I'd be inclined to frame the rule differently - "at least # schools where the test scores are above average". (I did refuse to pay the application fee for an Ivy that I was certain fell in "not-a-chance" territory for my daughter; she got a waiver, applied, and was rejected ... so I was right to want to save my money on that -- but I certainly wouldn't have made that determination on test scores alone)
  • SlackerMomMDSlackerMomMD Registered User Posts: 3,094 Senior Member
    So far, no restrictions on location, majors, test scores, prestige.

    Cost is a limitation but D is free to apply to a college knowing that we can only provide X dollars per year.
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