I'm 17, 18 in early august. I want to attend a university in my state (CSU, UC) but my mom doesn't want me living on campus

I’m a resident of california, and my family is low-income. Costs of attending university isn’t a concern to me because I plan on getting scholarships, financial aids, etc. It isn’t a concern to my single mom either. I plan on becoming an RN, or working another career in the medical field and I’d like to do that through a university.

Problem is, my mom wants to control my life at this point. I’ve been talking about university since sophomore year, and working extremely hard to meet the criteria of UCs, which I’m doing very well in and she knows that. She told me a few days ago that I’m going to a CC of her choice. And when I tried to speak up and tell her, I want to go to a university, she got upset basically saying “You want to talk to boys” and “You’re not ready for that. You can do that at 20” and whatnot. I am a homeschool student, with no friends, and barely any social life so sure she may have a point BUT, staying home for CC and doing even MORE online classes isn’t going to help me progress.

My plan is (or was) to apply to UCs, and CSUs of my choice, get accepted into whatever and live on campus. I’ve watched all the videos on dorm life at these colleges from girls, they’re happy and I envy them. I’ll be 18 on August 3rd which is normally a few weeks prior to housing checkin, but still 17 at the time of housing applications. I heard she’d need to sign my application. Is there no way around this? Do I really need her? What can I do?

Hopefully, you and mom can come to an agreement. Maybe it’s a campus close to home.

But first you need to figure out the budget. There are programs to help low income kids but will close the gap? Might you need to go to a CC and live home.

If low income, there may even be full rides somewhere.

I wish you luck in pursuing your dreams.

I really hate when parents think they will always “control” the lives of their children. My sister did this to her kids and they are all completely miserable.

Tell your mother that you want an education. Use it as a broken record, "I want a quality education at the best schools in California. I want to be in the medical field. I want to work in a hospital."What happens if after I go to a CC, I can’t get into a university to get my degree. You can get great California scholarships at the UCs/CSU’s but as a transfer CC student, the scholarships aren’t as easy.
Bring in a trusted adult who can vouch for you- a priest/minister, aunt, neighbor. Do you have a HS counselor? Have them talk to your Mom. If you let her control you now, you will have a very hard time meeting YOUR future goals.

So now, I will get nasty: If none of that works, put it back on her- "Mom, why are you saying that I want to ‘talk to boys’ because I am asking to get a good education? They have “female only dorms”. Why don’t you have any faith in me nor trust me? What happened in your past?

Apply to your schools after you turn 18, but she needs to sign the financial aid applications, so you do need to play nice. See if she would be willing to talk to the regional representative from your local university.

Can you live with another family member?

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She moved us away from family, we don’t talk to them anymore. I don’t want to exaggerate my mothers behavior, don’t get me wrong, she’s had a traumatic past when she was my age. Teen pregnancy and such, which is why she’s so hard on me about boys. I am not her though, and she can’t seem to understand that (clearly its some kind of fear). She’s questioning how she raised me when she shouldn’t. I don’t mingle with boys, I don’t do drugs, or anything.

Anyway, I’m a senior and have to apply for universities this year, no later for Fall 2024. It’s all about timing with her. I can kiss-ass until last minute and then put my foot down. She’s not the type who would just disown me and not do my financial aid or anything but my concern is the housing. Knowing her, if I push hard enough, I can break through. Many parents feel like they can control their children’s life at my age because their children lets them.

I don’t want to go to anyone in my school about this, as I know it won’t end well. She might withdraw me (she’s said this before). I’m steering from complications.

To note:

The campuses I’m applying to are no more than 2 hours (MAX) from my home. It’s not like I’ll be living on the other side of the country. She really shouldn’t worry.

I am sorry that you are experiencing this. I think there is a lot to unravel here.

You indicated that you are home schooled with no friends and a very limited social life. College is a very hard transition for many, and it may (or may not) be hard for you. I would use caution when watching these videos.

It seems your mother has had a rough life (I am sorry) and that may be why (or partially why) she hesitates to let you go away to school. In addition to what has been suggested, can you ask her if you can try it for one semester? Let her know that if things do not go well after one semester, you will come home. This gives you an opportunity to prove to her that you can do it, and it puts a time frame on it for her which might make it more tolerable.

I would also use the NPCs to get a handle on the finances. You may have to start at a CC due to finances (I don’t know). Does your CC have a nursing program? Ours does. After 2 years you can work, move out, continue your education etc. It’s not the same as traditional college, but it’s a way to live independently.


Nursing is an excellent career goal for you. You will be able to earn a decent living, and become financially independent quickly. I suggest you try for a direct admit BSN program. Is there a 4 yr public within commuting distance of your home? This may be your best option, certainly one you should make, along with other options where you would have to live on campus. You may be able to persuade your mother to allow you to live in the dorms after your first year, if not before. In any event, if the funding is obtainable, and if you can possibly do so, you are better off starting at a 4 yr school with a nursing program than at a community college.


Are you in school now? Or 100% homeschooled?

If your mother isolates you because of her own trauma, she needs help. I would try to talk to a social worker or a counselor at your local public school. Your life should not be limited like this.

There is nothing wrong with talking or mingling with boys. That is approximately 50% of the human race. Is there a cultural factor here? Males and females are not segregated to the extent they were in the 1950’s, with some differences among ethnic groups.

You can’t live in modern society without getting along with both sexes and given your relative isolation, I think it is important for you to start. That does not mean you will get pregnant the way your mother did.

I hope you can engage a third party to resolve this. I don’t mean to disrespect your mother who obviously cares about you but is doing it in a misguided way due to trauma.

We are not qualified in this forum to deal with this. Please try to talk to someone in your community or family.


Many colleges (private and public) will allow a high school senior to take one class a semester (or quarter) for free. Since you are homeschooled, this would be an excellent option for you to be able to get into a classroom and meet other young people. If there is a school that is on the quarter system, it’s not too late to arrange this, to start in a week or two. You can do this with more than one school at a time; for instance, you could take a class at your local community college, your nearby 4 yr state college, and your nearby private college, or even at two nearby private colleges. All of them would be considered dual enrollment, and so you would still be applying to college as a freshman for fall '24. It’s easiest to get acquainted with students in classes with a strong in-class participation component, such as foreign language classes and small seminar classes.

Try to get a driver’s license, if you have not already. This is a big step towards independence, even if you won’t have a car. Also, consider taking an inexpensive CNA class, and maybe getting a part-time job working in some capacity in a hospital or a nursing home. This will help you to see if you want a career in nursing (but keep in mind that a nursing degree can lead to many more options than bedside nursing - teaching, nurse practitioner, nurse anesthetist, pharmaceutical sales, the list just goes on and on). All of these things will lead to independence, putting you in control of your own life.


This needs to be a concern for both of you. You need to make sure the colleges you apply to will be affordable for your mom. Most colleges don’t meet full need for all students. Be aware of that.

It’s very possible that the most cost effective way to start college is at a CC with a guaranteed transfer Tia UC to complete your bachelors degree. How will you pay the full cost, including room and board, at a UC. Perhaps @Gumbymom or @ucbalumnus can outline the costs of the UCs…including what the Calgrant or any other aid might cover there. That would be great information for you and your mom to have.


You might believe achieving financial independence is possible, but there’s no guarantee of it right now. If your mother is offering any financial assistance for your college education, she has a legitimate say in your decision. Moreover, in California, attending community college can result in significant cost savings.

If you’re ABSOLUTELY certain about achieving complete financial self-sufficiency from your family, you have the right to have full control over your life.

I recommend that you submit applications to all the UC and CSU schools you’re interested in through their consolidated online platforms. Then, in March/April 2024, assess the financial aid packages alongside your mom. This will allow you to make more informed decisions when the time comes.


If community college is going to be an option, I think you need to apply to those too…because unless I’m wrong…some fill up!

The OP posted that the mom is limiting choices due to a fear she will “talk to boys.” There is, I think, a need for some outside help that we on CC cannot offer since it beyond the scope. I am referring to some possible pathology. But it may also be a cultural factor.


I agree with this. The mom needs outside guidance (therapy) to work through her issues. This sounds like a misplaced trauma response. She needs to work though her own issues for the sake of her daughter, imo. And there’s not much anyone on CC can do except sympathize with this really complicated and sad situation.


I think we need to know more why this mom said this comment…it very well could be a cultural thing. This student has been homeschooled, so really hasn’t (according to the OP) had opportunities to socialize with others.

I would suggest some involvement with some social or even academic thing outside of the home. Can you join a gym? Take dance lessons? Join a community choir? Be in a community theater production? Volunteer at a soup kitchen? Volunteer at a day care?

IOW, get some out of your home contact with others.

At least part of the answer…

Then I agree that this needs to be addressed with some counseling…with both the student for clarification…and the parent to reconcile the past with her daughter’s present.

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How many UCs, CSUs, and community colleges are within reasonable commuting distance from home? How many of them have nursing (BSN at four year schools, ADN/RN at community colleges)?

Regarding nursing, it is often highly competitive to get into a BSN program, whether it is frosh direct admission or frosh pre-nursing followed by competitive secondary admission. However, if you can get into an ADN/RN program at a community college (which is commonly competitive admission, in contrast to the typical open admission for most community college programs), then you could start working as a nurse after graduation, or continue on to a BSN program at a four year school (RN → BSN programs are typically not as difficult to get into compared to high school → BSN programs).


I’m in a public homeschool, I have my own teachers and online classes with other students but it’s more difficult to socialize this way. Thank you for your words. :slight_smile:

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