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BS experience vs. parental guidance

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Replies to: BS experience vs. parental guidance

  • lemonade1lemonade1 Registered User Posts: 431 Member
    The OP has told us that his son has a clear preference for Exeter and that he as a parent supports that. I don't think he meant to imply that Exeter is clearly the first choice for anyone, or that "obviously Exeter is the first choice.". I think it's reasonable to have a clear preference for one of these different schools over the other.

    Nonetheless, I'd encourage a Lawrenceville revisit, given your concerns about boarding in general. That's because, as others have said above, it's wonderful to be able to go to concerts, athletic events, or just a short visit. My daughter boards 45 min away. She rarely comes home, but we see her often and haven't missed a concert. And we've gotten that call about our daughter in an ambulance en route to the ER, and it was great to be able to get there fast (though that's such a rare event it isn't worth planning fir, it just was mentioned above).

    If after revisits Exeter is still the clear choice, then let your son go and find support here from all the other parents in the same boat! And many of us have great local public schools, which can add to the "I can't believe we are doing this" state.
  • ExieMITAlumExieMITAlum . Posts: 2,367 Senior Member
    My perspective (the parents above have the pros and cons pretty well covered).

    Yes I miss my kid. It was harder because she was an age younger than her peers when she left. Yes it was hard to pass by her empty room. Or go weeks without hearing from her because we were close. I miss out on things like helping her get ready for a prom, or wondering which boy she might be crushing on. Or looking over her shoulder to help with homework.

    But what I got back - was joy watching her growing independence and then navigating back to me once she got her bearings. Her telling me not to give advice because she's calling me to vent so she won't do it with a teacher, then watching her work it out. I love Skyping and watching her giggle as dorm mates come in to raid her snack drawer, I love listening to her during holidays while she goes through every picture in the school directory and tells me stories about the kids and the faculty. And I love how much she's grown. She misses us too and doesn't take the relationship for granted. Our relationship is actually stronger because of the situation.

    Some fret about "not being there" during these critical times. But imagine my situation which got more intense when D was accepted to a year abroad. So holidays became Skype sessions - even then I gained a friend as I became Facebook friends with her host mom and learned to communicate with a translator program in a separate window. I broadened my horizons and found ways to fill my free time (including lots of dates with the hubby) and we learned to fill the void and silence with joy. When she comes home we don't sweat the small stuff (messy room) and learn that those hugs feel so much more intense after the prolonged absence.

    I learned that by letting her go, I got back so much more and she gained so much more in return. That's our story. Not necessarily the same for other people. But we told our children when they went away for college, we wanted it to be far enough away that they couldn't come home every weekend (as many of our neighbor's children do). Only with the youngest - that happened at high school instead of college.

    Exeter and Lawrenceville are two different animals and one is not necessarily better than the other. Choose based on where the student FITS best. Trust me - those first few months are brutal, the grading scale is insanely inflexible, and when the stress is on - ultimately the student has to know, deep down, they still chose wisely.

    Not reputation. Not prestige.

    FIT.

    Good luck.
  • 2prepMom2prepMom Registered User Posts: 1,140 Senior Member
    Do not underestimate the emotional pain of crying the whole drive home from dropping your child off at boarding school, and the doubt about whether it was the right choice.

    But then the pictures, skype calls, e-mails and advisor comments start coming. The smiling face of your child is such a relief to see in the many pictures her advisor took and posts on the dorm blog. My daughter's comments that the other students are "amazing" and that she truly feels at home and in the right place are reassuring.

    There have been ups and downs, a few non-serious injuries, the flu, but she values the boarding experience so much, we put up with missing her, worrying sometimes, and hearing about the "big events" from a distance.

    We now have an Exeter Harkness student at home on break. She is able to form great arguments and wants to debate lots of prior assumptions (which is fun but sometimes annoying too) - she misses school, is skyping her friends, and is amazingly organized and thirsy for knowledge. She is growing up.
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