I know it can be stressful when our children struggle to juggle all their activities and academics but it is also a great learning opportunity at relatively low stakes. Having to figure out her own solution (or accepting the lower grades) is a way for her to really learn and own her choices and the consequences.
She will find a great school for her, even if it is lower than Top 100. There are like 3700 colleges and universities in the US. Going to the college ranked 112, or 217 is still in the Top 10% of all US higher education.
My D24 is a top student, high GPA, great ACT, good ECs, but I would not want her going to a T20 school. For one, there is the cost. Second, there is the pressure to perform. Let’s face it, college is what you make it. At many of the top colleges and universities you have to compete to be a part of the premier clubs and organizations. This is not the case at lower ranked universities. Lower ranked universities also offer more AP/IB credit which allows more flexibility in class planning (or changing majors if your first one doesn’t pan out). Take my S22 for example. He is a NMF at Bama. He is on the EcoCar team. He just signed up, and he got on the team. He is now an integral part of CAV team that does stuff (I know not what). At many universities, this would have been a competitive spot. He just showed up. He has been asked if he would like to participate in research. He has been asked to participate in student government. Is S22 a driven student…honestly, no. But, it’s working out for him. For D24, Oregon State seems to be the school. Why? Well, it isn’t here (which is the South), it’s good in environmental and ecological engineering, has great outdoors programs, and she could minor in art (hard to find that in other schools). Why? Well, she would get a ton of IB credit.
I am rambling. Don’t look at a T50 or T100 school as a bad thing. There are 3300 colleges and universities in the US. T100 is still top 3%. That’s nothing to sneeze at. My wife went to a T500 university. She out earns me. I went to SMU and Georgetown Law (oh, and did a Fulbright in the UK). The name on the degree isn’t everything. The fact that you got the degree and what you make of your time while getting it are.
Campus Visit Issue: My daughter and I took the Boston University campus tour. I realize that one tour guide doesn’t speak for the university, but this tour guide certainly seemed to replicate the views of the majority of parents on College Confidential. Her major was mathematics. She asked the touring group of students what their majors were, and volunteered her spectrum of possibilities: Management? Business? Journalism? International Relations? Engineering? Pre-Law? She finished without mentioning even the possibility of my daughter’s intended major (Psych of some kind), and then kept giving the tour. Near the end, when she stopped by the College of Arts and Sciences, she said, “you’ll probably take at least one course here.” This was a tour given at one of the top academic schools in the nation. What is happening–are parents so afraid that their children will end up outside of the financial elite that they are telling them that knowledge is not a legitimate pursuit? Is there a place on College Confidential where parents talk about intellectual majors? This isn’t a sarcastic question: please direct me to that thread.
I don’t think it is strictly about parents wanting their kids in the “financial elite,” but I think it does have to do with the enormous cost of college and return on investment. For my family, and many others, Boston University is, if not full pay, still extremely expensive. My S23 got in this year and our COA is about $60,000 per year, and they are very clear that that will go up at least 3 1/2% every year. As much as I think a psychology degree is valuable, I also know that internships in psychology typically pay very little and many of the jobs you can get with a psychology degree, unless paired with some else thing like business, are also very low paying relative to the over $250,000 we would’ve spent on a four year degree.
My S24 is interested in psychology. He has a few other interests also, but if that is the direction he decides to go, I will definitely be encouraging him to go to a school where he can graduate debt-free and with money in the bank, rather than a school where he will have spent all of his savings and still graduate with debt.
But, also, it is weird that your tour guide said that at Boston University. Boston University has a pretty extensive “HUB“ general education requirement, and everyone will be taking classes in the School of Arts and Sciences. Also, the Boston University computer science major is in the school of arts and sciences, so it seems like a lot of people would be there…
I’ve thought about creating a support group here for parents of non-CS, non-engineering students. It would be nice to know there are others out there and also nice to hear some success stories about non-STEM kids who have finished their undergrad degrees and are out in the world doing interesting things.
Thanks for your response–if our daughter gets into BU, we will not be willing to pay 60K either–and it’s possible that they could give us a price that high. We’re hoping for no loans from the school she attends, or loans only in the last year. It clarifies things a little for me to think that some people might be gambling on a job payoff in order to justify loans.
Very similar here. My D24 is near the top of her class, has interesting ECs, etc. She would not do well at a T20 school. She would not like the pressure or any competition. We are looking strongly at fit for her. Her current top choice is ranked in the high 200s and I think she’d do well and enjoy herself there.
My S22 is also at Bama. He is in mechanical engineering and was a NMF with some great admissions, including U of Michigan in-state and affordable. He is part of a research team and will be getting paid for his part. He tried to join the robotics team, but it interfered with band. He will try a different team in the fall. He has an internship lined up for the summer doing engineering (as much as a freshman can). It also lets him take tons of elective classes as they take so many AP and IB classes that he did not have any general ed classes to take. So he took an electrical engineering class this semester, as an elective. Higher ranked schools, including UofM, don’t take nearly as much.
And now I’m going to look at Oregon State, lol. I think it’s too far for her, but she’d love to do engineering and minor in art and she absolutely wants as much credit for IB as possible!
Yes to all that (my daughter too was deeply engaged in managing performing arts - as a counterweight to rigid and intense academics, so I get it) - but…
It’s a matter of balancing two jobs/responsibilities - one full-time job is school, and another job is President. And the calm “adult” conversation to be had is to acknowledge the measurable fact that one is suffering - and that she’s no longer a kid and you recognize that its best for her to be in charge of managing this problem.
So if she wants control of her affairs, then she has to apply her leadership skills equally to both, and brainstorm on a plan, full of specific actions, on how to achieve results in both jobs. Hiding the head in the sand is not an acceptable option.
Until the big event is over, something else has to give - the mall, YouTube,… And, there might be someone lurking in the shadows, who actually is ready to step up and be delegated a few responsibilities. Maybe there just hasn’t been time made to make that happen.
I’m not focused on the question of T-xx colleges, but I disagree that there shouldn’t be active parenting, while also respecting her maturity.
She can be the manager - but she still will have to report to the Board of Directors, seats which currently are taken by Mom and Dad.
I totally get how you feel. Have a similar discussion with our S24 this year. He never played Soccer before this year all of a sudden he joined the Varsity soccer and then his grades went down compared to prior years for the first time this year and it has been an adjustment and multiple talks.
We also have adjust the college lists Initial was goal. I had to show him which colleges we now have to remove from the list so he realizes he needs to do better. I am not sure how else to get to him that the next 2 months are crucial. Feel like he is more distracted this year.
We had taken lazy DS2022 to tour local elite colleges early in his sophomore year. This kid was happy to get 100% on his exams, but not work on trivial homework assignments, so his GPA averaged to A-/B+. I had offered money$, freedom, sleepovers, food, etc, to encourage him to do his assignments.
But at his MIT info session/tour, the admissions counselor told audience that they expect the best, someone who is smart AND works hard.
That was the BEST “carrot”. From that day on, he worked hard on EVERYTHING and bonuses, no matter how trivial.
So we took DD2024 to 2 great colleges, hoping for the same “carrot”.
She was enthusiastic for a few days, but then reverted back to her same distracted ways.
One of the problems is that BoD Dad is more like Best-Buddy Dad who says Yes to everything.
sure I’ll drive you to the mall
here’s $money for you to spend (no, you don’t need to get a part-time job)
It’s not going to change.
She’ll find her place, may not be where I think is best, due to diminishing options.
It’s not about where you go. It’s about what you do when you get there and what you do when you get out of there that counts.
There are a lot of really great colleges out there. Lots of places which will probably be a good fit for your D24. They might not be MIT-level but that’s ok. Does she have any idea of what types of things she might want to study in college? Do you have a target budget per year that you’re able to spend? Does your family have any needs/thoughts/requirements around how far away? Any preferences for small/medium/large schools or doesn’t matter? Any ideas around what sort of campus vibe (urban, suburban, rural) is preferred by your kid? Some of the folks here might be able to provide some good suggestions if you need that.