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Did your kid "fall in love" with a school?

BarbalotBarbalot 679 replies18 threadsRegistered User Member
D has applied to 8 schools and gotten into 4 so far. I helped her whittle down her list so that it focused on schools that met her criteria for size, distance from home, had her intended major, that she had some chance of getting into and that were reasonably affordable after aid.

So now she says that all the tour guides talk about how they fell in love with the school and knew it was right for them. She keeps saying she doesn't feel that way about any of them. I do know there are a lot of intangibles that go what makes a school "right" for you, but I think maybe the reality is hitting that eventually she will have to make a decision and then make the transition to college.

She now wants to start looking for more colleges to apply to. I told her to go ahead and find a few more. Has this happened to your kids? How would you respond?
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Replies to: Did your kid "fall in love" with a school?

  • VSGPeanut101VSGPeanut101 865 replies21 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited November 2014
    Mine has fallen in and out of love a half dozen times so far. She has settled on a favorite, but only applied to those she would be totally happy to attend. We visited about twice as many schools as actually made it to the list. And at none of those did she fall in love on the tour, though she did fall out of love with a couple :) She made pro/con lists, watched youtube videos and looked at websites and printed materials as she winnowed down the list. For her, the research process made her feel in charge and it allowed her to find the "little things" that excite her about every school on her list.
    edited November 2014
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  • blossomblossom 9824 replies9 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Know your kid. Some people get paralyzed trying to buy toothpaste at CVS- so many brands, so many flavors, how do I know if I have sensitive gums or need a whiter smile? Too many choices.

    Other people need a slow and steady whittling down of the options in order to feel comfortable making a decision. Still others jump into the deep end of the pool and know they'll figure out how to swim in the nick of time.

    Your D doesn't need to fall in love or make decisions the way other people do. She needs to feel comfortable with her own process.

    I loved my college- but certainly didn't feel "love at first sight ". Back in the day, many people saw the campus for the first time when the Greyhound bus dumped them at the student center for Freshman year. I think it's too much pressure to tell a kid that she's going to be "in love" with a college just by walking across campus.
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  • oldmom4896oldmom4896 3890 replies290 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Events for accepted students help. My daughter saw the incoming class of 2018 and decided it was her tribe.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34100 replies376 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Uh-oh, I over-analyze toothpaste decisions. D1 had more of a steady confidence as she applied, felt she could thrive and succeed at all, academically and socially. (The only issue was she did not like or want to go to her ultimate safety. You're past that.) Then we visited what became her #1. She could see herself differently there but still maintained her perspective.

    A lot of the college decisions are so new to them, they don't have the experience to draw on. It can help to let them breathe, at this point, take the time to just feel their way through the choices. I think the love some mention wasn't really sealed til they got there and made the transition.
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  • LizzieTLizzieT 233 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I worried a lot with my D as we went through the process, as she seemed lukewarm about a lot of her options. But we had a few financial front runners, so we went to events at those schools to see what the campuses were like outside of the programmed tour. A favorite did emerge, and was confirmed when she attended events for accepted students. As oldmom said, she found her tribe.

    We often like what we're familiar with. Some of the kids that just love the school have prior experience, parents, siblings, friends, attended prior events, etc.

    My daughter never used the words "love the school" until after her first semester.
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  • thumper1thumper1 74776 replies3277 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My daughter and son loved all the schools to which they applied. Their lists were far shorter than what some students have now. They would have been happy anywhere they were accepted.

    Sure, they liked a school or two more...but "love"? I'm not sure that is what happened.
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  • SlackerMomMDSlackerMomMD 3085 replies9 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My daughter applied to 6 schools so far. Of the six, about four are "top choices". She would be happy to attend any of the six schools but I would say there is an order of preference. I'm not sure she "loves" all six, just the top four or what.
    It sounds more like you're asking if your daughter should apply to more schools. Does this mean she doesn't like the four schools that have accepted her? How does she feel about them? In any case, if she finds more schools she likes and she feels up to filling out the application and writing more essays/answering questions, and the fees and other costs aren't too onerous, then I say go for it.
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  • college67college67 224 replies9 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    We visited 5 schools and my son fell in love with Ohio State!! He knew he wanted to go there after the tour. He did get accepted so we are really excited but we need to wait for money to start rolling in :) He will have to decide if he gets into other schools.. He knew right away that Ohio is going to be his home.
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  • NewHavenCTmomNewHavenCTmom 1971 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member

    Kids can be very fickle. Or at least mine is. They also evolve from fall - spring of senior year. I never thought I would say this a year ago, but admitted students events are a huge help. The school that she swore she would never attend became the only choice after attending the admitted students event. Like they always say...Never say never! :-\"
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  • BarbalotBarbalot 679 replies18 threadsRegistered User Member
    When we visited schools she seemed to uniformly like them all except for one, which got crossed off the list. She still needs to visit a couple more she applied to. So I'm not sure where this sudden lack of enthusiasm is coming from. I think visiting for accepted student days may also be helpful.
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  • mommyrocksmommyrocks 1204 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited November 2014
    Of all the universities my daughter has visited over the years, she only liked one and talked about it since 7th grade. Now that she's a senior and has been admitted there though, she is more interested in another university that we haven't even visited yet. It's the only college acceptance that's made her smile so far out of seven, and they've offered her a stack of scholarships, so they seem to like her as much as she likes them. We plan to travel there this winter, and I'm hoping she likes the campus in person. They have everything she is looking for, including a Dr Who club. :) It's up North, so I'm hoping there isn't a total blizzard when we visit, or she might hate the place and we'll have to go back to square one.
    edited November 2014
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  • happy1happy1 22851 replies2248 threadsVerified Member Senior Member
    Both of my kids did end up with favorites but throughout the process we encouraged them and they did keep a very level head and remember that there were a number of schools they could each be happy attending. And we never bought any college gear until they were accepted and made a decision to attend their college. For both kids revisiting the schools really helped them hone in on which was their top choice.
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  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys 16629 replies66 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    One of mine absolutely knew where he was going to college and given his stats and the schools acceptance pattern there was no doubt he'd be accepted, he applied to four but he knew where he was going. #2 shocked the heck out of me, i thought he was going to HWS and then he just announced where he was going and it was over (not HWS). #3 waffled up until the middle of April but he went to the most highest ranked school and that was how he ultimately decided. So the only one who fell in love, and i don't think boys 'fall in love" with colleges was my oldest.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22961 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My daughter was happy with the college she picked, but had totally fallen in love with it by the time she got there. There was a fall 'discovery' day, being awarded a department scholarship, another scholarship, going to orientation, finding out there was hockey club team, swing dancing, outdoor adventure...

    The acceptance is just the beginning. It really has only gotten better. She loves her roommate who was assigned just days before school started.
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  • Jane345Jane345 418 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    Keep in mind that student tour guides are a self-selected group, NOT a cross-section of an entire student body. I wonder if it's more likely that kids who fell in love at first sight also start dreaming about conducting those tours on that campus some day, and then ultimately become those rah-rah tour guides! Maybe it's even what the admissions office is looking for when they choose tour guides.
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  • atomomatomom 4670 replies41 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It is OK if it is not "Love at first sight." Think about the different ways people choose their homes, or even their spouses.
    Some will have that passionate feeling. Sometimes it is a more practical decision. . .has most of the features you like, few of those you dislike. Seems like the reasonable choice, and you haven't really seen anything better and don't want to keep looking--so you just go with it. It usually works out OK.
    Of my 4 kids who've gone to college so far, two really loved their schools--felt very strongly that their chosen school was THE ONE for them and begged to go there. . .next one was "seems like the most logical choice" but not at all crazy about it. Not crazy about anything else, either. The latest one said, "I'll just go there. Good enough. All colleges are pretty much the same. . ." Of course, even those who "fall in love" will eventually see imperfections and have some complaints about their schools.
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  • shawnspencershawnspencer 3098 replies12 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I didn't until the very last school I visited on a tour, which happens to be where I am now.

    However, I gotta agree with @oldfort‌. Circumstances change and students may not get into their top few choices. Yet several of my friends who went to their second or third or even safety schools have ended up loving it there. It doesn't have to happen immediately. It can happen during orientation, meeting new people, or even when school starts. Oftentimes, people who "fall in love" with a college have romanticized views of it, and sometimes it is better of not to.

    There are many options you could explore if your daughter is not sure if she has found the right one. You could take her to see a few more colleges. Or among the existing colleges on the list set up an interview, chat with current students, stay overnight. Look out for these opportunities. You gotta remember, not everyone has the same experience as the tour guides. They're likely a self-selected traits to even to be a tour guide in the first place.

    But it is important to recognize it is perfectly ok not to have a clear first choice now. Many people don't. Sometimes it just comes down to finances or a single interaction that makes you say "yes, I want to be here"
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  • momreadsmomreads 3243 replies5 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Neither son really fell in love with the school he attended (or attends). I think the love came a bit later once on campus and doing lots of things that they had not done before.

    My older son really wanted to attend an Ivy or Duke. It did not work out, as he was waitlisted. So he went to his safety, the U. of Alabama, on a full scholarship. He called me about two weeks into school and said he could not imagine himself any other place. He really loved the school and all the opportunities it offered. And the fact that they won three national titles while he attended was pretty cool, too.

    The same lukewarm feeling came when it was time to pick a law school. Again, he shot for the moon and really wants Harvard or Stanford (again, waitlisted). So he chose to stay home and attend UVA on a full scholarship. He loves it! Has made so many good friends. Enjoys his classes. Likes that my husband and I drive down once a month or six weeks to visit. He cannot imagine himself at any other law school.

    My younger son wanted to go to Alabama and run cross country/track. It did not work out, but he got a full tuition ride at another school. Loves it. The classes are challenging. He is in a fraternity. Doing all sorts of volunteer work. Tutoring others in math and physics. And he gets to run, too. Again, he cannot imagine attending a different school.

    So, sometimes the real love comes a little later.
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