In need of parents' advice

<p>Hello. I'm in need of some of you parents' assistance in a bit of a problem that I have. Up until recently, I expressed to my parents a great interest in attending Berry College, a great private school only an hour or so away from my house. However, in the past few months I have realized that there are far greater schools that I can attend outside of Georgia for my desired field of study (English and foreign language). I also have realized that top LACs will provide greater financial aid, which will unfortunately be a large deciding factor.</p>

<p>The problem I have is with my parents' na</p>

<p>"I also have realized that top LACs will provide greater financial aid, which will unfortunately be a large deciding factor."</p>

<p>That rather surprises me, since Berry's endowment is larger than all but a handful of northeastern LACs. But there is a lot to be said for a larger field of experience, especially if your field clearly indicates you can gain more elsewhere.</p>

<p>Berry does have a large endowment, but they statistically meet less of the financial need of students than do the other schools I have interest in. I'm not sure if I am entirely correct/well-informed in all aspects of the financial aid programs, but anyway.</p>

<p>What is it about staying close to home that your parents consider advantageous? Are they hoping to see you often? Are they concerned about travel costs? Is there a family situation that requires you to be close to home (health or financial)?</p>

<p>I would ask your parents what their specific concerns are about going to school some distance away, then try to address those. If they're expecting to see you regularly, they'll need to understand that you'll be busy with your own life and not able to come home weekly, etc.</p>

<p>How about asking them what distance they are comfortable with, just to open up your options? There are excellent English/foreign language programs at many schools within several hours of your location by car. And if your parents can get comfortable with a certain time frame, you can raise the issue of traveling the same number of hours by plane.</p>

<p>Good luck - this is an important issue that should be very much your decision.</p>

<p>I think you should work with your parents on this step by step. I'm assuming you are a rising senior (at the latest) and so have a few months time. I recommend planning visits to a few colleges with your parents - Berry and a few others which appeal to you. Perhaps not all as far away as New England (!). It is possible that they will find themselves more open to other schools once they see and hear what the schools have to offer. It is also possible that you will find Berry stands up better than you thought in comparison.</p>

<p>You can also apply to several schools that they would like for you, as well as schools which are outside of their comfort zone (but inside of yours). You can then see how the acceptances come in, what the financial packages are and re-visit the issue as the process unfolds.</p>

<p>If circumstances permit, it would be great if you could visit some schools outside of their comfort zone. That way they could envision you in this lovely place and see that the people and experiences are wonderful. The one school that my daughter likes best is the one I haven't visited with her and since I can't get a real feel for it, I am opposed (which is silly, I know). Hubby and daughter want me to visit and they know I'll be better about it. See if they will consider some visits with you.</p>

<p>I am surprised at the number of parents I know who strongly oppose their kids going away to school. One of the chief reasons is a belief that if the school is close, the job upon graduation will be close, the spouse will be local, and the grandchildren will live down the street. </p>

<p>OP, I would start mentally collecting stories that support your case -- kids who have gone local, but moved to California after college. Kids who went away, but settled close to home. Maybe even kids who explored the options and decided on a school close to home.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>"I am surprised at the number of parents I know who strongly oppose their kids going away to school. One of the chief reasons is a belief that if the school is close, the job upon graduation will be close, the spouse will be local, and the grandchildren will live down the street."</p>

<p>I was surprised by that very thing, also. Particularly in myself! It wasn't until we started visiting more "away" colleges that the importance of new experiences and people became apparent to me. We liked Vermont so much that we now tease our daughter to go there and make a life so that we can follow her and retire with our grandchildren!</p>

<p>We did tell her, though, that since we have two younger children (including a little one) and three jobs, we have to factor the time element of transporting her into the equation. It can't be more than a four hour drive. Further than that and she will have to either take a train or fly. She hates to fly, so commuting may be an issue, although she enjoys the train and there is that nice Ethan Allen express right into Rutland, VT.</p>


<p>Would Emory be out of the question for you and your parents either owing to stats, financial aid or distance? At least, ask them to take you to visit and compare what Emory could offer you vs. what is available at Berry.
Do you think you would be eligible for merit money? There are some colleges in your region that do offer good merit money. They also have great English departments and a good range of foreign languages. Which ones are you interested in?</p>

<p>frazzled1: for the most part, they want me to see them as often as possible. I'm afraid they don't realize the workload and commitments involved in college, and I have no idea how to make them see that.</p>

<p>jmmom: The only problem is that they are apparently are all set on me going somewhere that will allow me to come home every weekend, and, quite frankly, I am more concerned with getting into a top college for the field of study I wish to be a part of. So, to make my point, their "comfort zone" is about 1-1.5 hours from home. Yikes.</p>

<p>zoosermom and admgmom: Thanks! See, I don't understand the promblem, either. I feel as if it does not really matter if I'm away at college, because it is, after all, in my best interest. Berry is a great school. I have visited there twice, just because it is so close. It has a nice feel and whatnot. However, when compared to some of the places I am now looking at, such as Middlebury, St. John's, and Reed, it becomes very mediocre, in my eyes.</p>

<p>marite: I actually have some interest in applying to Emory. It is just that I have a tendency to prefer smaller LACs to large universities like Emory. I'm hoping, either way, to be eligible for merit money. ;)</p>

<p>Unless there is a specific reason for you to come home every weekend, I strongly discourage it. I don't know whether you should engage this debate with them now, provide reading material so that they disabuse themselves of the idea, or wean them by your actions once you go to school. </p>

<p>Workload and commitments are one part of why every weekend home is a bad idea. College, imo, is about more than your studies. It is about beginning your adult life, establishing life-long friendships and :eek: having fun. You should not feel guilty about wanting <em>all</em> of these things.</p>

<p>Exactly. On the side of having fun, I tend to want to have very academic fun. I enjoy reading. I enjoy participating in band and orchestra. I love to write. I love musicals. I have a passion for foreign language, and so on and so on. I want to go to a place whose goal is to not only give me a great education in my chosen field, but also a place that nurtures these passions.</p>

<p>Quoting from another thread:</p>

"What differentiates the most competitive colleges from the other colleges is that the most competitive colleges have such an overabundance of students with high stats that they can choose students who also demonstrate the passion, creativity and independence to pursue their interests. Because the students at the top universities are so smart and highly motivated (graduation rates range from about 80%-97%), the faculty and administration doesn't have to concentrate on making sure that students graduate. That's typically not a worry.</p>

<p>Instead, the faculty/administration can focus on creating a campus atmosphere that literally allows students to run with their talents and interests.</p>

<p>An example: In the student newspapers of the second/third tier colleges that I advised, the faculty was telling journalism majors not to work to hard at the student newspapers because their gpas may be hurt. These were students who were putting in perhaps 15 hours max a week to produce thin weekly newspapers. The students also often were getting class credit for the work they did at the papers. Depending on the school, some of the students were getting paid $1,000-$5,000 a semester for their work.</p>

<p>By comparison, Harvard produces a daily newspaper, and students spend up to 30 hours a week in unpaid positions to produce the newspaper. None of the students are journalism majors. Most get no pay. Most do not plan to enter journalism careers. They get no course credit for their work. They have to compete to get unpaid jobs at the student paper, and hundreds of students try out for those jobs. They do this for the pure joy of it.</p>

<p>The same would be true of students involved in music, intramurals, community service, theater, etc. Virtually all would be self motivated and doing it for the pure fun of it.</p>

<p>This isn't most people's idea of fun. The Ivies (probably particularly H,Y) are filled with students whose idea of fun is doing activities that others would regard as work or things to do simply to fill one's resume, fulfill course credit or to be able to get a job.</p>

<p>Most other campuses are more likely to have a preponderance of solitary intellectuals or students who are in college mainly in order to eventually get a good job. "Fun" to them may be heading to a campus football game, frat party or something similar, not doing something like directing a play or producing a musical. That, to them would be work -- something to do only for class, and to do up to the level that would get them the grade that they desire."


<p>I feel like if I go to a better school, in spite of it being miles away, I can have that sort of experience that will not only better myself, but allow me to grow in all of my endeavors.</p>

<p>Some colleges and universities you might consider are Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Davidson and Duke. They are all excellent and not too much out of your parents' comfort zone. Perhaps other posters could chime in with more suggestions?</p>

<p>I think you can have a great experience "right next door", literatus. I support your desire to have an "open ticket" about the geography of your college possibilities. But I don't think going local need be the kiss of death to all that. If a kid from my town goes to Bowdoin (30 mins. away), Bates (45 mins.) or Harvard (2 hours), they can have it all. Plenty of other places within 2 hours also.</p>

<p>So, the proximity doesn't prevent the full, rich experience. I don't know Berry; so I don't know if it would fulfill your dreams or not. I just don't want you to presume that it automatically won't, because it's close.</p>

<p>I <em>do</em> think that a nearby school will put you in conflict with your parents about how often you will be spending time with them. Seems like you can address that conflict now - at the search and selection stage - or later, if they fail to let go and pressure you to return home constantly. I'd opt for dealing with it now.</p>

<p>Those are indeed all excellent schools, marite. :)</p>

<p>jmmom, I don't completely consider proximity to home the "kiss of death." It is just that I am specifically looking for a relatively small to moderate-sized LAC that has a wonderful English and foreign language department, a great writing program, a good study abroad program, and a few other things. I also want to go to a college whose overall feel is academic, intellectual, and somewhat difficult, instead of party-party-party. This is what makes colleges like St. John's, Middlebury, and Sarah Lawrence stand out to me.</p>

<p>I'm not sure if I'm completely right in this, but considering your location in New England, a kid from your town could go to a number of these top ranked colleges, other than St. John's (That's a bit further away than the others.), without getting far away from home. Whereas I, in the middle of rural GA, am a good deal further away. I'm not sure if this is a valid addition to my argument, but I suppose it's important.</p>

<p>I agree that going nearby could be a problem in your specific situation if your expectations and those of your parents differ. Local can be fine if the student lives the college experience fully -- just close by. However, the thought that you'd come home every weekend raises a red flag for me. I respectfully submit that it might not be in your best interests to come home so often, particularly before making a place for yourself at college.</p>

<p>I admire the open-minded and sensitive way that you're approaching this. It would be easy to rant and rave about your parents but the fact that you aren't is a testament to your maturity. I can tell you from the mom's point of view that my daughter is my first born and, truth be told, the shining light of my life. I love all of my children madly, but she is the first to do everything and everything she does is miraculous to me. We're also great companions. It is unbearable to think that the living at home chapter of her life will end next year, but it is right and best for her to go away and experience new things in her youth. This is what we've worked for all these years and I would not be the mother I have always aspired to be if I stood in her way. Not that I don't want to. I tease sometimes about buying a BMW (we could never afford it) if she stays home. But I don't mean it. That said, it IS hard and you could ask your parents what their specific concerns are. Mine is that I will miss her. She knows it and reminds me about cell phones, emails and text-messages and sometimes suggests things that we will do together when she is home. Your parents may have issues that you could discuss and come up with a mutually-acceptable plan. But you won't know until you ask them. The answers might surprise you.</p>

<p>I think you need to do more research. St. John's has NO language programs at all outside of the required ancient Greek and a year of French, and no writing program, and no study abroad program. And if you don't think they party at Middlebury and Sarah Lawrence, I think you'll have to go visit on a Thursday night (you might find that Berry feels like a monastery in comparison.)</p>

<p>I think it is incredibly broadening to go out beyond your current cultural/geographic horizons, and I think an argument can be made to your parents that 1) if you receive merit aid (Middlebury doesn't have any as far as I know), it is likely to turn out to be cheaper); and 2) the broader horizons will give you a signficant leg-up in the game of life.</p>

<p>zoosermom: My parents have always been quite protective of me, wanting to keep me close to them at all times. In fact, I didn't go anywhere away from them until the first time I went to marching band camp in eighth grade. They've grown very used to me being at home all of the time, so the college experience is already not stacking up as a fun time for them. I realize this, and appreciate their love and concern for me. However, I don't want to base my college plans 100% on making them happy and comfortable, you know? Thank you for your suggestions.</p>

<p>I'm behind you all the way, literatus. I agree with zoosermom that your process is very thoughtful and considerate of your parents' wants. I hope you can apply to the schools which feel right to you and persuade them along the way to be open to your preferences.</p>

<p>mini: I realize that St. John's does not have a specific writing or study abroad program. However, they have many other things I am looking for. I realize that all schools can be party schools if one makes them such, but...</p>