Grappling with guilt over college

<p>I live in a state where tuition at any state university is paid for as long as you meet some minimum requirements. Our state universities are great, and I was just thinking that I would go to one of them.</p>

<p>Although my SAT/GPA/etc. exceed the top 75% bracket at the top school (~#50 USNWR) in my state, I felt that the financial difference between our top state school and a private school was so great that it would be better to just stay here.</p>

<p>However, I did receive a bit of a shock when my parents urged me to apply to three out of state schools. These schools range from $30-45k per year in expenses. I doubt that I have a chance for merit money at any of these schools. </p>

<p>Our familial income is high. The problem is that I have a mom, dad, and stepdad- all of their incomes are included, putting us well over $200k/year, not to mention assets. The roughest estimation of our EFC put it at $25k/year. </p>

<p>My parents have purchased a new car for me, sent me on a trip to Costa Rica, financed all my overnight debate competitions, let me go on every field trip since elementary school, given me pocket money whenever I needed it, never let me work so I could stay focused on school, and have financed any interest I happened to pursue at the time (dance, tennis, music, etc.)</p>

<p>They say that I deserve to go to a good school (i.e., out of state) because I have worked hard and earned it. I don't have a 4.0 or a 2400, and only have two national awards rather than the bundles that other kids on CC have. I have not met many of my personal goals and therefore have a difficult time developing any sense of entitlement- why should I deserve to force my parents to pay at least $25k/year when I could go to my flagship state for almost free? If I go to an expensive private school, how will I afford graduate school or professional school?</p>

<p>Does anyone have any advice? Is anyone experiencing these emotions?</p>

<p>In your case, would you be happy with going to your state school? Do you want to go to a private school out of state?</p>

<p>I'm afraid I can't give you any more advice, since I have a similar problem.
I live in a country where education is free,basically, it would cost my parents nothing for me to go to the best college in the country. </p>

<p>But I, for some reason, can't be content with that, and instead I apply to college in America. This is what I want,I'm happy with the decision, but it would cost my parents a lot of money, since it would be absolutely impossible for me to afford it on my own. Most scholarships I can get from my home country are need-based, and our income is too high for that. But still, it's not like they can afford all of it. And I don't want them too.</p>

<p>My parents have been so generous, they've supported me through everything, paid for trips, paid for my exchange year, given me everything I need and more. They've been my greatest supporters in everything, really, to use a clich</p>

<p>It's a pleasure to read a post about a kid who doesn't want his/her parents to pay more than they can.</p>

<p>A couple of things to think about. First, remove the financial issues. If money were not an object, would you be happy at your state school? Does it have the programs you want? Do you like its size? Do you feel comfortable on campus? </p>

<p>Second, sit down with your parents and talk about school. What is it that they're looking for you? Do they have any problems with the state schools? What do they think is wrong or missing from them that they think you can find at a private school?</p>

<p>Third, while sitting with your parents, ask them the tough financial questions. Assuming you don't get merit aid at the privates, can your parents reasonably afford them given the economy right now? Will they be willing to help you with professional or graduate school if you go to an expensive private school? How about if you go to the state school?</p>

<p>Make sure you tell them your concerns, too. Your parents obviously care about you; now is the time to approach them as an adult and have a serious discussion with them about your future.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>My mom went to a top 25 private school, my stepdad went to one of the state schools I'm looking at, and my dad did not go to college. My dad and stepdad have the general attitude that if I say it's a good school or the rankings say it's a good school, then it's a good school.</p>

<p>My mom is a bit more well-versed in the matter. She went to a large state university for her final undergraduate year (due to family obligations) and then the same university for her masters' degree. She prefers private schools because they tend to be smaller and more undergraduate-friendly. She believes that a liberal arts education is second to none. </p>

<p>Our state universities both have upwards of 40k students each and are both huge party schools. My mom and I have had sort of the same high school experience: both ranked in the top 10 but not val/sal, both National Merit Semifinalists, both went to middle/high school with the same group of kids. By her senior year, she was feeling like I do now- trapped into reputations and stereotypes that had been developed in 6th grade. </p>

<p>For example, there are two students at our school who got all As in middle school and have gotten all As in high school (val/sal of my class). They are considered to be "geniuses" and it seems like no matter what anyone else does, they cannot penetrate the reputation that this girl & boy are the smartest kids at our school (and no one else compares).</p>

<p>The fact that probably 70% of my class will go to one of these two state universities is frightening to me. I know that they are large schools, I will meet new friends, etc etc. but when I see pictures on Facebook of previous classes from my school, it really seems like they are all hanging out together- basically a continuation of high school. And I have tolerated high school but I really do not want to repeat it again.</p>

<p>Now I sound like a snob. "I don't want to be with the same old boring people!!" But honestly, that is one of my mom's concerns for me. She went out of state and knew no one from her small, rather "hick" school, and says she wouldn't be able to survive if she was going to be hanging out with the same kids from high school. </p>

<p>To my parents, this is all in addition to the obvious bonuses of attending a private school: smaller class sizes, more individualized attention, better reputation, more serious students, etc. I know that these are kind of stereotypes, but, again, this is my parents' perception of the situation and I can't say that I completely disagree with them.</p>

<p>As far as feeling comfortable at my state school (given that I will likely be with half of my graduating class)- I am adaptable. I have visited both, feel pretty good at both- but, hey, I haven't really visited a college campus I didn't like. They all start to run together- the claims made by each school, the bonuses of each, the brick buildings, etc. I don't really feel comfortable with the size of the state universities but I'm sure I could get used to it. </p>

<p>My parents put an exorbitant amount of money into savings every month- I believe it is half their income or more. When they purchased my $15k car, they simply pulled out the checkbook. We have no mortgage or car payments on any of the four cars my family owns. They said that if I got into my top choice (not actually a private but a "public Ivy"), they would "be willing to pay for it". They do admit that they would prefer to save my large college fund for graduate school.</p>

<p>To summarize that extremely long post:
They can and they will, but I don't know if I want them to.</p>

<p>If they can and have offered, I think they want you to choose the best school for you. And also, while it's debated here, I believe many private schools pay for themselves over and over in life through the job opportunities their alumni networks make possible.</p>

<p>That's wonderful of your parents, to have enough foresight as to save that much money each month.</p>

<p>Go with your heart, seems to be an appropriate answer here.</p>

<p>Thanks for the kind replies, I really do appreciate it. I have been struggling internally with this issue for a long time, not thinking to come to my favorite (??) place to ask for advice. </p>

<p>It's hard to ask my peers because they generally either 1) are going to a state school because that is what they want/what parents can afford, or 2) want to go out of state but haven't even considered cost or assume parents will cover everything with no guilt at all.</p>



<p>Your state universities have 40K people. They ALL aren't from your high school (sorry...odds are truthfully against that). There are very bright students at every college in this country. Re: party schools...I hate to be the bearer of bad news but MOST colleges have parties...and lots of them, LOTS. </p>

<p>Now, I'm not saying you should go to the state university. BUT I am saying that this school has the same potential to provide you with a fine college education as a LAC. The size is different, yes. Does your state u have an honors college? If so, that does help make the "large school" smaller.</p>

<p>My son went to a huge (but private) university...over 35K students. The reality is that he seldom saw the students outside of his major (small department...about 400 students total). AND those students were a talented group.</p>

<p>Well what I said in addition to that statement was that I was looking at previous classes that have graduated from my school, mostly in the same situation as me, and found that their pictures and stories indicate that they hang out with the same group of kids from high school, with maybe some new friends (generally roommates or suitemates). I am a shy person and it is hard for me to approach new people to make friends; therefore, I could see myself easily falling into the "clinging to my hs friends trap". </p>

<p>In my city, there is trio of elementary school, middle school, and high school all right next to each other. They are all math/science magnets and are fairly small, about 100 kids per class or less. Half of my middle school was comprised of kids from that elementary school, and, likewise, half of my high school was comprised of kids from that middle school.</p>

<p>College can be a time for reinventing yourself. Does your state school have an Honors program? Perhaps you could apply to that, which could by necessity force you out of the high school clique. Or do they have "interest" housing (French house, Drama house, Chemistry house, whatever)? That would make it easier to make friends. </p>

<p>The beginning of college is also the time for breaking out of your shell. Seek out the kids from out of state, who will know so few kids. Join a club of your interest and be active; others will take you under their wings. </p>

<p>Yes, it is harder at a big school perhaps to meet people (as contradictory as that may sound). But learning to get out of your comfort zone, and to become more social, may be one of the best lessons you could learn in college.</p>

<p>Like a previous poster, I'm not saying you should go there. But if you do, look at it as a growth experience, not just in the classroom.</p>

<p>Thanks chedva, that was a good point.</p>

<p>Anyway, I guess I will wait until my parents file our FAFSA and then I will see what our EFC is looking like. Since all the schools I'm applying to meet 100% of need, I will then sit down with my parents and figure out how much merit aid the schools would need to offer before they would comfortably be able to pay for all four years (and without massive guilt for me).</p>

<p>lorrainemichaels, since you are a NMSF and I assume will be a NMF, there are many out of state schools that will give you big NM scholarships. You might want to take a look at them.</p>

<p>I have received a lot of mail from OOS schools about national merit scholarships.</p>

<p>Unfortunately I am not interested in a lot of those schools (Texas A&M, Arizona State, etc) for various reasons. The four in-state schools I applied to offer NMF scholarships (all per year): FAU - $7500, UF - $1000, FSU - $6000, NCF - $2500. </p>

<p>For the OOS schools I am applying to, one offers $5000/year and the other two don't offer anything. I was hoping that NMF status would help in securing a university scholarship for any of these schools, but that might not be the case.</p>

<p>I'm applying to University of Tulsa and University of Oklahoma on National Merit. The differences in academic quality between institutions on the US News and World Report don't seem that great to me. You may lose "prestige" but you should just apply to schools you want to go to that seem affordable. Here is a website for all the national merit schools...</p>

<p>National</a> Merit</p>

<p>I wouldn't say you need to be guilty. Just go where you want, and if money is no object, then good for you! I'm sure your parents would appreciate you going to a free college, but they wouldn't seem to mind paying a little bit.</p>

<p>What is your intended major?</p>

<p>I see that you live in FL.. and I know a lot about FL schools.</p>

<p>You sound like a great kid. Don't let guilt keep you from a dream school. Your parents also sound great - they want you to do what <em>you</em> think is best or you. Trust that. They sound sophsticated and wouldn't be offering private undergrad if they thought it would interfere with grad school down the line.</p>

<p>Jess0990 - I got into FSU Honors and applied to UF, NCF, and FAU. My prospective majors are biology, economics, spanish. </p>

<p>Thanks everyone for the support. I know that the answer seems obvious- "TALK TO THEM!" but it's actually kind of hard for me. I feel guilty when I ask them for a $20, let alone asking them to pay $100k for college! I mentioned it to my mom, and she said "we'll wait to see what they offer you, and then we'll talk about it." My dad says that he has no doubt that they would pay for any school I wanted.</p>

<p>First you should decide what you really want your major to be. Remember you can major in both Biology and Economics and minor in Spanish, or the other way around. Try to picture what you see yourself doing in life. You can always change your major though if you are not happy with it, but that means more time in school.</p>

<p>From my experience FL Public Universities are not bad. You just have to find the one that fits you. I don't like the 40k+ student population, but I am trying to reduce that by getting into the Honors Program at UCF. UCF may not be looked at as the best school, but for my major and what I hope to accomplish, UCF is the perfect fit. I think you should try to find a school that you will be happy with, and if it happens to be a FL public, then that saves you a lot of money, but if it is OOS and/or private, then as long as you are happy then go for it.
For me money is an issue, and with Bright Futures and other scholarships and grants I will not have any debt. However, if money was not an issue, I would still choose UCF because it fits my wants and needs perfectly.
I highly recommend that you sit down and write out a list of what you dream of as your pefect college, then match that up a school that you have thought about. Also, look at the majors in each college and be sure that it fits what you want. The amazing Computer Science program attracted me to UCF... maybe another school will do the same for you. Also, once you are in your 2nd or 3rd year you will not have huge class sizes since you will be in classes that relate to your major.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>I believe UCF and USF both offers great National Merit Scholarships.</p>