My mom and I disagree about where I should go to college - PLEASE HELP!

<p>I have been accepted to:
- Northeastern University (accepted for spring admission/Jan-start program - I would commute to UAlbany 1st semester)
- University of Vermont
- SUNY New Paltz
- Hartwick College
- SUNY Albany</p>

<p>Long story short, my parents are divorced and I have not seen my dad in 5 years. He is chronically unemployed and jumps from job to job, always moving to different states in the northeast. Most of his family lives in Massachusetts, my grandparents live in boston and have made no attempt to see me.</p>

<p>I really want to go to Northeastern because it is the best school I got into and I love the city of boston, but my mom is very opposed to this. She doesnt think its fair that my dads family will get to see me after not trying to for all this time. She wants me to go to SUNY New Paltz, even though they do not have the exact major I want (environmental Studies), and I feel I would get a better education at Northeastern.</p>

<p>Do you think that the ultimate choice of college should be up to the student or the parent?</p>

<p>The issue isn't who makes the decision; the issue is that your mom is only offering a crummy, selfish reason to avoid Northeastern. (Of course, I don't know if there's more to the story than you've written, and you don't know if she's telling the truth about why she doesn't want you to go there.)</p>

<p>Do you think your grandparents would try to see you after all this time? Would you even want to see them? Maybe there's a way to reassure your mother that you're well aware who in your family has shown that they love you and who has not, and geography could never change that.</p>

<p>I think the chances that you will form a relationship with your Boston-area relatives after all this time are slim. If they have shown no interest in you for all these years, why would they start now, just because you're going to school near them?</p>

<p>My question is whether YOU will be disappointed if you go to Northeastern and your Massachusetts relatives ignore you. It might be difficult for you to know that they are in the same area but are choosing not to associate with you. Might you feel uncomfortable or rejected in that situation?</p>

<p>Does Northeastern still have their co-op program? If so, the financial benefits are huge.</p>

<p>I think generally the student should decide which college to attend but if they're depending on finances from the parents then the parents have a financial stake in where the student should attend - i.e. they might not be able to afford certain colleges.</p>

<p>But that doesn't seem to be the issue here. I agree with Hanna that your mom is being short-sighted and selfish here although it's probably an emotional hot button with her so it's at least understandable.</p>

<p>I think you should explain your reasons for choosing the college in Boston and that it's not so you can be closer in distance from your dad's relatives (assuming that's not a primary reason for you). You can talk about the major you want, the college(s) you feel more affinity for, how maybe you want to experience a different area, how you'd like to live in a city like Boston, etc. You need to reassure her that this isn't an attempt to get away from her, that you'll still see her, etc.</p>

<p>Good luck.</p>

<p>I agree with all the above posters. Is there a hidden financial issue here? Since i imagine that you live in NY, SUNY schools are obviously less expensive.</p>

<p>I am not convinced that Northeastern is a better school than SUNY New Paltz though. Is there a way to put together an environmental studies program? Many school allow interdisciplinary programs.</p>

<p>However, if finances are not the motivating factor, I agree that the student should make the final decision without a compelling reason, such as health.</p>

<p>Yes there is a financial issue on top of all of this. My dad (due to his job hopping) is always behind on child support payments and I will have very little money to be able to pay for college. Unfortunately, I have not yet received my financial aid package from northeastern (does anyone know what I should expect from them??) and new paltz has given me a pretty good offer, with most of the actual payment in student loans (which is fine with me). </p>

<p>Is it true that bigger universities have larger endowments and can give more in financial aid to those who really need it? This will definitely be a large factor in my decision as well.</p>

<p>Thank you</p>

<p>Seems to me you need to sit tight and see what $$$ Northeastern offers. That might tip you to one place or another.</p>

<p>And I agree with those who have said that you need to reassure your mother that this has nothing to do with seeing your grandparents.</p>

<p>Huh. Well then, I don't think it's even worth worrying about this until you get the FA award from NE. It might turn the analysis upside down.</p>

<p>
[quote]
and new paltz has given me a pretty good offer, with most of the actual payment in student loans (which is fine with me).

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Actually, lots and lots of loans isn't a good offer. Maybe contact Northeastern and ask when financial aid offers will be available.</p>

<p>SUNY New Paltz does have an environmental studies minor
State</a> University of New York at New Paltz: Undergraduate Catalog - School of Science & Engineering: Environmental Studies
and they are good about working with students to design their own curriculum. You should look into that.
If you are truely an "artsygirl" New Paltz might be the right place for you.</p>

<p>thank you, I will be visiting new paltz tomorrow and i will be sure to ask about designing my own cirriculum</p>

<p>And does anybody know if I am right about northeastern offering more aid because it is larger and has more endowments??</p>

<p>Northeastern's cost of attendance is projected to be $52,277 next year. SUNY-Albany's is $19,728. That means that NEU would have to give you over $32,500 in grants (NOT loans) just as a start in order to make it as affordable as your in-state publics. That's a really big gap to make up. NEU might very well offer you significant aid, but it's not likely to be enough to bridge that very big gap. Of course, it could happen if you are a stellar applicant and NEU really wants you, but I wouldn't count it.</p>

<p>I suspect that your mother understands this and that it's actually the real reason why she doesn't want you to set your heart on NEU. She may be using that excuse about your father's family because she's embarrassed to say the real reason is that she can't afford to send you to an out-of-state private college.</p>

<p>Here's my answer to your question about whether the student or the parent should have the "ultimate choice." Students should have the final say, since they are the ones who will be living there for 4 years -- BUT THEY ONLY GET TO PICK FROM SCHOOLS THAT THE FAMILY CAN AFFORD.</p>

<p>I agree, i guess I will just have to wait and see what happens with financial aid</p>

<p>Even with zero dollars offered in financial aid, a SUNY school for instate kids will cost around $16,000/yr (tuition/room/board/fees). Northeastern with zero offered in financial aid will cost you close to $50,000/yr (tuition/room/board/fees). It's going to take a heck of a lot of financial aid to bring the costs anywhere near that of a SUNY. </p>

<p>Also, University of Vermont is very expensive for out-of-state students and they are not very generous with merit scholarships or financial aid.</p>

<p>Keep an open mind about your in-state choices. Wait until you get the financial aid packages and have a better idea of the bottom line costs.</p>

<p>I'd check with NEU and make sure they have all your FA info. I've heard that a number of people already have received FA packages. Did you get a NCP waiver from Northeastern?</p>

<p>so far, these are my offers:</p>

<p>-new paltz will cost $8,000 a year in loans
-vermont will cost $15,000 a year in loans
-hartwick will cost $8,000 a year in loans</p>

<p>so far all of my colleges have covered everything except for student loans (nothing out of pocket)</p>

<p>does this change anything in terms of my chances at financial aid for northeastern?</p>

<p>yes, i am late in submitting my CSS profile for northeastern and I was also chosen for varification. They just received the last of my documents, so i should get a decision soon (?)</p>

<p>NEU will require FA info on your dad. If he doesn't cooperate, you can apply for a Non-Custodial Parent Waiver, but those are not given out easily.</p>

<p>It may be much harder to get grant $$ this year if you are late in filing!!</p>