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Child very apprehensive about leaving home - not really engaged in college process

thedreamydaisythedreamydaisy Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
So our S20 is very apprehensive about college, leaving home, etc. It's a real effort to actually get him involved in the whole process at all. We have started making a college list and have focused on a number of Cal State schools in our area (we are in the Bay Area of California so SFSU, SJSU and Cal State East Bay), along with Saint Mary's College and UCSC (which is about 2-3 hours away), but he's not interested at this point in even researching/visiting the campuses. I feel like I am the one driving this whole thing at the moment.

His 2 best friends have said they want to go to Oregon State and so now S wants to add that to his list. But he told me that he would only go if they are both going also and that he would never go that far away "by himself". That makes me nervous that he would be miserable even if he had his friends there. He is definitely a homebody, quite shy and our first child to attend college, so he hasn't seen any older siblings go through this process.

Financially, it would be way easier to have him in a Cal State and/or living at home, so it's hard at times not to try to sway him in that direction. He is an above average student with a 3.72 UW GPA (taking ACT and SAT in the next 2 months), so getting into any place he has on the list shouldn't be a problem except maybe UCSC which would be a bit of a reach depending on his test scores.

I want him to have the college experience but I am also very aware that he could hate being away from home. Should he just stick with applying to places closer to home (with the exception of Oregon State)? Do others have experience with your child totally changing their mind from Junior to Senior year as to whether they want to be close to home or not? Should I just back off at this point and let him get through the ACT and SAT and applications in the fall and then worry about visiting places once he's actually been accepted?

Replies to: Child very apprehensive about leaving home - not really engaged in college process

  • thedreamydaisythedreamydaisy Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    @bookreader thanks for your thoughts! Actually, I would love for him to stay home. I worry that he is not independent enough and don't want to hamper him - that's all. He and I are very close, and I'm just trying to not let that drive his decision. But if he truly wants to stay home, I will be more than happy and agree that graduating with zero debt would be a huge bonus. Glad to hear that 3 of your 4 commuted with no regrets.
  • coolweathercoolweather Registered User Posts: 5,843 Senior Member
    It's too early for your son to know where to go.
    Right now you just need to take him to visit 3-4 colleges if possible. If he does not want to visit then it's fine.
    One thing you must tell your son his decision cannot be dependent on his friends.
  • thedreamydaisythedreamydaisy Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    @coolweather I did already tell him that he has to pick the best fit for him and not pick based on where his friends want to go. We will work on maybe some casual school visits over the summer (even if just to walk around the campuses that are more local to us).
  • LonghaulLonghaul Registered User Posts: 2,654 Senior Member
    At this time last year, my kid asked if she could just apply but not be pressured to attend. I said sure, but asked if she just applied early. Fast forward, she changed soooooo very much from start of senior year until New Year.

    Have patience. So many changes coming at these kids at once.
  • MamaBear16MamaBear16 Registered User Posts: 1,082 Senior Member
    I agree with other posters that your child has time to grow and change his mind, so it's a good idea to apply to a few colleges. I'll also add that I know a few kids who just weren't ready to go at 18. They went to CA CCs and have since transferred to places like UCLA and CalPoly. The parents have all said that it was the best thing for their kids, although they didn't know it at the time. Some kids just need an extra year or two to gain some maturity and independence. I'd have him apply to a few colleges and then reassess the situation this time next year. So much can change in a year.
  • ilovebillyjoelilovebillyjoel Registered User Posts: 158 Junior Member
    I was there with my son 2 years ago. It ever up being a tough senior year.He did not attend his pick and took the year off.
    He is now at the flagship, living in an apt.with 2 HS buddies and loving it.
    He worked last year. Really matured too.
    A year off is a good thing for some, esp boys. He realized pretty early on that he wanted to go to college once his friends were gone.

    Let him apply to the UO ,;it will be nice for him to have Options.

  • calmomcalmom Registered User Posts: 20,347 Senior Member
    You're fine to go with the flow. You've got good options with the local CSU's and UCSC --- and the whole college visit thing isn't all that useful with a student who is disinterested. Keep in mind that pushing a kid who isn't ready can backfire -- a student who attends community college and starts a 4-year university as a transfer is better off in the long run than a student who crashes and burns in their first year at a college because they didn't have the emotional readiness and/or maturity to manage the whole away-at-college experience at age 18.
  • maya54maya54 Registered User Posts: 1,880 Senior Member
    How old is your son? My daughter was 16 all of junior year. She wasn’t ready really to think about college and I had to set up the process. She was in a very different place at 18 when she left for college and it would have been a real mistake to Walt until she was the one driving the process.
  • NicoleGreenNicoleGreen Registered User Posts: 53 Junior Member
    The way I look at it, if you can afford the application fees or get them waived, then there is no hurt in applying. You are simply creating options, opening doors, which is never a bad thing. I don’t see the harm in letting him apply to the out of state school. Just because you open the door, doesn’t mean he has to walk through it.

    Also, remind him that it’s common for friends to go separate ways in college. Even ones who attend the same school. They end up in different dorms, classes, clubs, social circles, etc. Choosing based on where his friends might go isn’t realistic, and even if they do all end up together, there’s no garentee it will still be the same level of friendship as in high school. It’s very likely these friends will make new friends, and if he’s super shy and introverted that may leave him left out.

    I’d definitely look at CC, commuting to a 4 year, or even taking a gap year if he’s just not ready yet for college. College is a lot of work, even at a CC, if he doesn’t really want to be there, it won’t work out. He needs to want it not you. Some kids really respond well to a gap year to help them figure out what they want in life.

    The last piece of advice I’d give is that he doesn’t have to go away to gain independence. If you are concerned about that, start working on those skills now. Slowly introduce more responsibility to him over these last years of high school. Begin explaining the way things work. Some of the best conversations I’ve had with daughter have been on really surprising subjects. How taxes work, rent to own verses leasing verses buying, budgeting and managing money, etc. Does he do his own laundry? Can he cook? Does he have a debit or credit card and understand how to manage those? Is he responsible for maintaining a car, know how to change tires, check oil, understand the need for routine maintenance checks, understand insurance? Does he make his own Dr. appointments, check himself in, understand how his health insurance works? Does he have his SS# memorized? How involved are you in his current life? In his schooling? Are there areas you can begin to back off in and start handing responsibility over to him? Whatever he decides, this is where I’d start. No matter how long he stays at home, he’ll never be ready to leave if he doesn’t possess the necessary skills to do so. I’m not saying throw all that at him at once, but you can start slowly and see where you are at by the time he has to make a decision.
  • thedreamydaisythedreamydaisy Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    @maya54 he is only 16 and will be until summer (his birthday is July), so he is young for his year.

    Thank you everyone for all the advice. We will just take things as they come and I won't push too hard, but will keep things moving along. By the time he has to make a decision, he will be a whole year older :)
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 31,604 Senior Member
    You are lucky to be in California with a great CC system. He's young. He might be better off with a gap year.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 6,248 Senior Member
    edited March 13
    If he is 16 years old, then why do you refer to him as "S20" ? I thought that meant that he is 20 years old.( Leads one to very different opinions.)

    He is nervous about leaving home because he is just 16 years old. Consider a gap year. Let him work or volunteer for a year after graduation while living at home.
  • maya54maya54 Registered User Posts: 1,880 Senior Member
    16 is very different than 18 and that’s how old he’ll be when he starts college. For my daughter who was the same age and with the same feelings at 16, a gap year was not necessary and would have been a big mistake.
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