My rising senior daughter who will be NMSF, #1 in class, etc. does not know what she wants to do with her life and is not engaging in the college process. She does want to go off to college but doesn’t seem to care where. We are in state Florida with FIS (full COA for NMF), and Florida Prepaid. Money is a concern and she will likely stay in state or take advantage of a NMF fullride ( Alabama comes to mind because of all of the great threads on this site). In addition to her strong academics, she works 20-30 hours a week as a hostess at a local restaurant but week EC’s other than that. Over the years we had talked about the need for EC’s for her to be competitive for top schools but she had no interest and wants to take advantage of her many AP classes. She is pretty much a introvert and likes to game on her computer in her limited spare time. She is not interested in visiting colleges at this time. Any suggestions?
It is an overwhelming process for every kid - the fact that she is a strong student does not change that fact! Its possible it makes it that much more complicated because she might feel pressure from peers in terms of where she applies and ultimately attends. These days it is generally a very public process. Most kids have no idea what they want to do - so focus on simply helping her identify what she might want from a college. Big/little. Urban/rural. Etc. If at all possible, and if you can find the right person, try and connect with a college counselor who would be willing to provide very limited services. For example - help identify schools and provide some structure for the process. If her school guidance or college counselor can provide some help (when back in the fall) then use them. Taking it out of the emotional connection she has with you might help. If neither of these is an option then try and chunk up the work and resist the urge to say 'You need to do this!" Very hard but necessary. Provide choices for her that don’t allow for doing nothing. So say “which of these three colleges would you like to visit first?” Or put together the basic information about likely schools in a spreadsheet and use that to initiate a discussion.
If none of this works - once school starts have the guidance or college counselor there initiate a meeting with her. With or without you depending on their abilities and your daughter’s reaction.
I have seen a lot of families in this position but in general, the kids do eventually kick it into gear once they see all of their friends and classmates absorbed in the process. For better or worse it seems all of the conversation during the fall of senior year is focused on college applications.
Wait until she engages in the process, which will probably happen early in senior year. Is it possible that she wants or feels she needs to take a gap year? If she plans to attend one of the Florida public universities, she probably feels no pressure to check out colleges/universities yet, since she has the stats to be admitted to all of them. She could probably even wait until she has her acceptances to visit the various schools. She does need to be aware, however, of application and scholarship deadlines.
Working 20-30 hours a week is a huge commitment and I don’t think she will need or have time for other ECs, especially with her AP classes. Some students need to or want to contribute to the family by working and virtually every college admission officer would recognize that as admirable. I think even at top schools a case can be made that she has enough outside of school work (perhaps get a letter of recommendation from her boss at work in addition to the ones from her teachers)
And many kids are not engaged in the process. It can be overwhelming and many don’t want to fact that they will be leaving a comfortable HS/home environment. I would come up with a few schools that work geographically/academically/financially and visit some. Maybe that will get her going.
Thank you for the responses, I was beginning to think that I was the only one going through this!
Last year one of our HS’ NMS finalists ended up at the University of Oklahoma with some type of 5 year full ride. She is loving it there. There was a recent CC thread about the program OU has in place for NMSF unote the subforum for Univ of Oklahoma. Frankly it sounds like they are treated like gold and they have the option of dorming with other NMSF students as a support community. If your d will even consider leaving FL you also might explore OU’s offerings since you say she is introverted. A sub-community at a larger university might be a good option.
Taking her to visit some local colleges may help her visualize what her future might look like. Also if she has a friend or relative in college now encourage her to talk to them.
Agree with those who said working is an EC - she needn’t be apologetic about it.
And many kids (my nephew for example) who are top students (2350, 4.0) choose to apply to their State U honors program, are in by Dec 1, and never send in another application. They may not know what they want out of life, but they do know they don’t want the stress of playing the academic sweepstakes. You don’t read about those kids on CC because they don’t have the million and one questions about how to get into a reach or what would be a good safety or how to explain XYZ. They are, in fact, often successful, well-balanced kids who know they will thrive where planted and don’t think college applications are a validation of anything important. And they do very well in life. How lucky you are to have one of those!
Don’t overlook New College of FL. It is small and “quirky,” and might be more comfortable for an introvert than UF or FSU. She can more or less design her own curriculum there, and it will be very affordable for a high-stat FL resident.
I generally disagree with the responses to your post. My sense is that your daughter as she enters college and eventually the workforce would greatly benefit from a proactive, energetic and driven mindset. Great companies and great jobs rarely come to the introvert and passive applicants, and even when they do they rarely last. So I don’t think that the answer to your daughter’s lack of interest in identifying a college and a career that is consistent and even a stretch with/to her academic and intellectual abilities is to direct her to a college that is squarely in her comfort zone and which requires the least energy to identify and to apply to.
While I expect that it would be very difficult for you I recommend that you (and possibly a counselor) identify the colleges that are a match (and perhaps a stretch) for her potential, erring on picking the most dynamic of these, and, regardless of her sentiment on whether she would benefit from visiting them or not, put your blinders on and visit them with her. There is no need to sell her on these possible colleges, and possibly it would be better if you didn’t try to do so. Insist on touring them, and attending a class or two, etc. If you err on which colleges to visit, err on the side of colleges that are reaches for your daughter, ones that are exciting places, ones that are academically full of students who are your daughter’s equals, and beyond.
O.K. It sounds like most agree that I somehow need to get her to look at some colleges. I did insist that she tour the University of Miami in exchange for trip to a Cos Con there last year, and it was not very productive. She basically said that it looked like a resort and she didn’t need that because she was going to school to learn! I know that she has many good options and will ultimately be fine but it just seems odd to me that she doesn’t seem to care. I am glad to hear that others are going through the same thing, and thanks for all of the good suggestions.
How about plan a long weekend in Boston. It’s cooler, see the sites and you can visit a broad spectrum of schools?
If she has high stats and she’s adamant that she is “going to school to learn,” then it sounds like she’s in good shape! Your biggest problem might be finding a Florida university that doesn’t look like a resort ; ) I don’t think that kids and parents positing on CC really display a “typical” level of interest in the college search & selection process, so you may be overreacting to her lack of interest. Some of my daughter’s class of 2015 friends took one SAT in the fall of their senior year and started the process then. They are all happily going off to good schools next month.
I have an average stats rising senior with no particular interest in the process at the moment, but I still believe she’ll end up somewhere next fall.
My daughter’s attitude has been very similar to yours, @Maksdad, although her grades are not as good. She wants to go to college, has an idea of what she wants to study, but really doesn’t care which college, or where… as long as it’s NOT a huge state school, which rules out our flagship. She could also care less about prestige, rankings, or sports teams - which is probably a blessing in disguise, so I’m taking it as that.
And she pretty much hates talking about the process…
What finally sparked her enthusiasm is a couple of recent visits to both a mid-sized public and a small LAC. For some reason, the state school really captured her attention. On the way home, she asked me all kinds of questions about college, in general… She came home and looked up the school’s website and perused the residence halls available… !
Anyway, I suggest some visits to different types of schools, small, big, medium, safeties, matches, reach…
And yes, you may have to form the list yourself - at first, anyway. All of the schools on D’s list I initially researched for her, based on what I PRIED from her, over time, about what she wants, lol.
Be patient - i know with my D, I think she is just overwhelmed by the process and the options. Your D may feel the same, esp. with the p/t job, too.
Take a look at Alabama and the Computer Based Honors Program…
Just in case you haven’t seen it, here is the awesome list of NMF Scholarships: http://nmfscholarships.yolasite.com/
Cos Con, hmmm. Maybe look into colleges that host SF or gaming conventions. One that comes to mind is where I attended, Texas A&M. Texas A&M still has some near-full-rides for NMSF.
Have her look up the Cepheid Variable organization and AggieCon. They are on AggieCon 46 now! I was there for AC15-18.
Texas A&M has other issues and may not be a good fit. So, she should be aware of those. The SF community at A&M is more liberal than the rest of the place.
My S (#2 in class, etc.) also has no interest in the process. We told him last weekend that we were going to make it college visit weekend and we saw 5 schools, large, medium, and small. He wants to stay close to home and is not too interested in the large flagship. He did seem to pay attention and asked questions about the mid sized school when we were back home. I think for some kids, it just takes longer to become interested, and unless they have a specific/specialized major in mind, many schools can meet their needs.
@maksdad If you think it would work to go out of state, you might check out RIT in Rochester. This is a college full of gamers so she likely will feel at home; they host their own student-run anime convention every year (Toracon). They offer very good merit aid for National Merit, though it will be more expensive than your Florida schools. However, because almost all majors require Co-op experience, their job placement rate after graduation is unparalleled. Northeastern in Boston also has Co-op and they have an automatic $30K NM scholarship. Neither of these have campuses that could remotely be considered resorts
If you think in-state is best, and she really isn’t sure what she wants to study then I do encourage you to look both at New College (which is public) and Eckerd (private).
Smith College is another school that hosts a sci-fi/gaming/etc. convention (Conbust). I don’t know if it would appeal to her at all, but.