Poor and Frustrated :(

<p>I have posted in the parents forum many times and have always received helpful advice, so I will test my luck again. </p>

<p>As many of you may know, I have applied to 7 colleges.
1. University of Portland (9k a year)
2. Gonzaga University (6.5k a year)
3. U of Puget Sound (applied RD)
4. Vanderbilt (applied RD)
5. Boston College (applied RD)
6. Boston University (applied RD)
7. Santa Clara (applied RD)</p>

<p>My parents own their own photography business. They take pictures at a luau and do conventions but a couple of weeks ago they shut down the luau which was our main source of income. I am an only child and neither of my parents went to college so they have not at all been involved in the college proccess. We were planning on going to Washington in early February to visit UPS and Gonzaga (I've already seen the campuses but I am concerned about their academics, esp.English, so sitting in on a class is very important). My parents told me this morning that I have the choice to either visit Washington or Boston (I only saw BC and walked by the BU campus), but if I choose Boston there is no guarantee that I can go. They also told me that it is pointless for me to visit BU because it is too expensive and I won't get scholarships and it is too far away. I feel like they just want me to go to Washington because they are going to miss me (only child) and we have lots of family there. It is just so frustrating because I've worked so damn hard to get this far and now my parents are holding me back. My best friend told me that I'm acting like a spoiled brat and I probably am but I don't know what to do. Tennis season starts in a few weeks and it is my senior year but I am thinking about quitting and just getting a job. </p>

<p>Sighhh sorry for the rant, but please...help.</p>


<p>I only know a little about U of Puget Sound. A very intelligent student I know is there and loves it. I also know lots of smart kids from VT are considering this school. That's all I know, but I've been reading your posts for awhile and am just trying to help somehow. The other schools I don't know (have heard of them, but don't know anyone attending).</p>

<p>Your parents are not holding you back they are telling you what they can and can't do financially. My son is going to school 3,000 miles from home and it is very expensive. Not just the cost of attendance but flights home, etc. Quitting your tennis to get a job won't do a lot. You should focus on enjoying your senior year and get a full time job over the summer. Use those funds for spending money once you get in college.
You and every other student on this forum has the ability to be happy at any college you attend. Lots of adults work during the day and go to community college at night for goodness sake. The opportunity to go to any four year school is something you have worked hard for and should be grateful for.<br>
Choose one of the schools in Washington and be done with it.</p>

<p>Surfette - I am sorry this has happened to your family and you are entitled to vent and even whine a little but then you need to figure out your next move.</p>

<p>First - If your parents have lost their main source of income they are probably very worried right now and trying to figure out how they can still manage college in addition to everything else. I am sure you are frustrated but try and see it from your parents view point also. They are probably worried to death. </p>

<p>Sit down with your parents and ask them to tell you straight out what they can or cannot afford. Then look at your schools and figure out your next move. Decide where you think you can afford to go now and be positive about it. Make sure you let financial aid officers know there is a major change in your families financial situation. Maybe there will be additional financial aid available. </p>

<p>Your friend sounds like he has a wise head on his/her shoulders. You are dissapointed so maybe you have been a brat for a while - now you need to start getting past that. (I know it is easy for me to say when I am not the one being dissapointed). Truly if you start taking positive action and making plans to adjust your expectations you will start to feel better. Good luck and I hope you and your family get this all sorted out.</p>

<p>I agree fully with Swimcatsmom. When ones major source of income disappears, it is a serious situation. I know that if it should happen here, basics such as our home, healthcare, utilities would be at risk, and any thing that is not essential would have to be put on hold. I know it is tough for you because this past year has probably had you focused on college, and when business is good, kid often are not aware or brought into money matters. Now it has become a major problem for your family, and college is a huge expense. I've known families who very regretfully have had to pull their kids from college when this sort of thing happened, because there simply are too many more important expenses that just have to be met first.</p>

<p>I would fill out a FAFSA and any other financial aid form immediately with your parents and find out what the damages are. If last years income is not much affected by the loss, write a letter to each college's financial aid office explaining the situation. This might make you eligible for aid. I know BU's financial aid is a merit/need matrix, so you might want to go to the fin aid pages of the website and see where you fare there. </p>

<p>Take care, and good luck. You are normal to be feeling down about all of this, but be aware that your parents are under tremendous stress now, and you can make it tougher or easier on them.</p>

so sitting in on a class is very important

Not really. There is no guarantee that the class you sit in on is at all representative -- all colleges have some really great profs, some really terrible ones, and mostly profs who are somewhere in-between. You may be able to get better info from objective sources, such as focusing on the course catalog to get an idea of the required courses, and then doing some digging to find out what the typical enrollment in those courses are, as well as typical enrollment figures for other introductory courses and for advanced courses in your intended major. </p>

<p>You can't really draw conclusions about your fellow students from a single class, either. Just because students are engaged in one group, or seem disengaged in another, doesn't tell you much. </p>

<p>My daughter's college requires all first year students to take a writing class, which is a seminar with about 15 students; the school makes the assignments, so students do not have much of a choice. My daughter went to her first class and immediately had a problem -- she called me up and told me that there was no way she could possibly stand a semester with that teacher, and elaborated on all the reasons. She also went to her advisor and made some other adjustments to her schedule... and was able to switch to a different writing section. The other teacher was entirely different, and she ended up really liking that class. This could have happened at any school -- the point I am trying to make is that there are probably 30 different sections of the identical course at her school, and you could walk into one and you would not know anything about the other 29. </p>

<p>When you get to college, your first semester (anywhere) will be a little rocky as you get your bearings, and then you will start to have the sort of information that allows you to tailor your course selection to get classes and teachers more to your liking. My son is at a CSU where the academics are far less challenging than they could be, for him, and from what he experienced at his first college -- but he has some classes and teachers that he likes. Usually its just a matter of word of mouth that happens once you get to campus -- you often choose your courses for the second semester based largely on recommendations from your friends based on the courses they liked the first semester. That will happen at Gonzaga, and it will happen at BU, and it will happen at any college you end up in.</p>

<p>Your best source of info may actually be to try to talk to some current students at the college you are interested in. Use web sites like myspace, livejournal, facebook --(or right here on the CC board) -- to try to find some students who can answer some of your questions. </p>

<p>I think that your parents are being very reasonable -- they can pay for one trip to the states, but not two, and they have honestly told you what the choices entail. You can go to visit a college where apparently you have already been admitted and have a financial aid package that your parents know they can live with; or you can go visit a college where admission and finances are uncertain.... and your parents are giving you the choice as to which you think is the most effective use of your time. </p>

<p>If it helps in making the decision -- unless you are near the top of the applicant pool, BU will not give strong financial aid -- they've got a chart on their web site where you can match your stats to a probable aid award.</p>

<p>Wait and see what the offers are and in the meantime, take swimcats' advice adn get teh FAFSA and the letters ready.</p>

<p>Skip the visits until you get right down to the wire. One school could be a real winner in terms of money--wait until that happens before you visit. The schools will give you until May 1st to decide. Keep us posted as your acceptances and awards come in. We can help you sort through and negotiate the offers.</p>

<p>All the schools are good. You are going to have a great time at any of them.</p>

<p>Thanks for all the advice so far.
I've calmed down a bit and have decided that I should just hold off on all trips until April when decisions come out. I picked up an application at starbucks, and although it won't make a huge impact on my finances, I will at least be a lesser burden on my parents. I will try working, playing tennis, and keeping up with school work for as long as I can, but I am prepared to quit tennis if need be. I think the thing that I am struggling with the most is the fact that my parents have so much control over my life but I'm sure I'll deal with it eventually because I know that it would be impossible for me to finance my own education. </p>

<p>Thanks again :)</p>

<p>If you really need to work for financial reasons I understand, but don't quit tennis unless you absolutely must! You are only a hs senior once and this will be your last chance to play hs tennis. You will be able to work for the rest of your life.</p>

<p>My parents did not have the money to send my brothers & me to college, so we did what we had to do to go. I was a very good student, and I remember gazing longingly at the college guides, dreaming of Harvard and Notre Dame. All the while, I knew that those schools were out of reach. I don't know if I could have gotten financial aid, but that was irrelevant --- no one gave me any assistance with college planning, so it never crossed my mind that I might have gotten financial help.</p>

<p>I ended up attending a co-op engineering/management school --- not because it was my dream school, but because the price was right. I never stayed overnight, never attended a class --- I went there pretty much sight unseen & clueless about what I was in for. What I found was a small, unimpressive campus --- with an extremely challenging curriculum, incredibly intelligent peers, and tremendous opportunities for personal growth. I spent some of the best years of my life at that school and in my co-op job, and I got the bonus of a wonderful husband!</p>

<p>My point: life is what you make it. Deal the hand you are given. Don't dwell on what you don't have. Make the best of what you DO have. If you are a good student, you will excel anywhere. Best of luck!</p>

<p>Have you ever thought about visiting after you've heard from all colleges?</p>

<p>Because that's what I'm doing; I cannot afford to visit all my colleges as well.</p>

I think the thing that I am struggling with the most is the fact that my parents have so much control over my life but I'm sure I'll deal with it.

Your feeling is very typical for a teenager, but you are looking at it all wrong. If you will be 18 by that time, your parents will have NO control over your life and future after you graduate high school -- you have 100% control. You just have no money, so that limits your opportunities. If you wanted to get a job and move into an apartment with friends and hang out all the time, there would be nothing stopping you. But you want to go to college -- and worse, you want to leave the island to do so.</p>

<p>Your parents have generously offered to finance some travel and college expenses, but their own finances happen to be limited. So your parents are able to offer you some opportunities that you would not have otherwise, but they just aren't offering you an unlimited range of opportunities.</p>

<p>My S also never stepped foot on campus until he had accepted & was preparing to move-in when we went up with him in August of his freshman year. Neither I nor any of my sibblings visited the Us or grad schools we attended either. We all made the most of our opportunities and thanked our lucky stars that we were able to attend.</p>

<p>My S made his choice of U b y the school who would work with the family to be sure his needs were met. One U was very inflexible & the other that we were seriously considering was very flexible and responsive when we called & spoke with them. He had several other options but in the end he chose the school that showed that they would respond to our questions and work with him & us. He's extremely happy there. </p>

<p>We did ask him if he wanted to tour any of the campuses he was accepted at before he made his final decision & he said we should all save the money because college was going to be expensive enough as it is. He also said that any visits would necessarily be pretty superficial & he was sure he could be happy at any campus.</p>

<p>I agree with the others that travel expenses need to be considered. It is quite expensive to fly from HI to Boston and the difference in climate is quite an adjustment for many kids, especially folks from warmer climates like HI. There are often pretty decent fares & good competition among airlines on routes between HI & the west coast. Having family & close friends near the campus can really be a big plus, especially when everyone else heads home or somewhere for long weekends, Thanksgiving, and other breaks. We have flown our S to campus & home for Winter Break. We don't plan to fly him back until he's done with spring semester & he will be figuring out what to do for Spring Break but it probably won't involve a plane trip to HI.</p>

<p>I'd strongly suggest not visiting until you have final decisions from all your schools, with FAid offers from each. I would also strongly suggest that you & your family write a letter to each U about the loss of your family's major source of income, so they can consider that in your FAid offers, as that is definitely something they can consider in their professional judgment. It's helpful to have documentation backing this up as well.</p>

<p>Good luck!

<p>P.S. I know many HI folks who have kids at PSU. The kids are all very bright & getting a great education & enjoying it there. I think your parents are being very generous.</p>

<p>It doesn't sound like you're parents are trying to control your life. If I lived in Hawaii, my parents would never let me go to the continuous states for college because of the distance and being forced to fly back and forth. It would also be very expensive for the higher out-of-state tuition. It sounds like you have a lot of options. Why is it bad that you would be near family in Washington or Oregon. If something happened to you, you would want to be able to call a family member that could get to you without having to fly for 3 or 4 hours. That sounds like a perk to me. I was in your shoes a year ago. I was facing (and am currently attending) an in-state school that isn't my dream school, but has been very socially and educationally fulfilling so far. My parents just couldn't foot the bill for a more expensive school, we didn't qualify for need-based aid and my grades were too average (not bad, just average) for merit aid. That was my reality and I came to accept it. As calmom said, your parents will pay the whole cost of a west coast school and travel expenses. YOU ARE LUCKY and you are not getting much sympathy from me or anyone else who has equal or more limited opportunities than you. </p>

<p>I agree that you should fill out the FAFSA and see what merit aid you get from your RD schools. I also agree that you should not quit tennis. You have the rest of your life to work, but you only get one more chance at HS tennis. You're a senior; you'll be teaching and leading the underclassmen and if you've played for all 4 years, they'll want you on the team. You'll regret not playing this last year, you really will. Do not do both. I did theater in HS and had rehersals every day Monday-Friday until 5pm (later when it got closer to opening night) and I had a job only on Friday and Saturday nights during senior year. I never could have maintained a 3.0 working and doing theater every day of the week. Theater during the week and work on the weekends was a lot. I was always getting home late, up late doing homework, and I never had time to have fun with friends on the weekends. You won't make enough to afford the cost of BU or BC and travel expenses without A TON of aid, and your grades will drop from the decreased amount of time you'll have for schoolwork. Work can wait until summer.</p>

<p>Thanks again. You all are really putting things in perspective for me. </p>

<p>This is my new plan of action:
Try and do the starbucks, school, tennis, and social life thing.
I'm on a block schedule this semester so I only have 4 classes, 2 of which are easy peasy. The other 2 (honors English and AP Euro) are much more challenging and require a lot of reading. Tennis goes till 4 everday after school and we have matches on Saturdays. For my job availability I am putting after 5 mon-thurs, not avail. fri & sat, and anytime sundays. I don't even know if I will get hired with all of that, but we'll see. But if everything does work out, do you think I would be able to handle that full of a schedule? </p>

<p>Sorry if that made no sense...it is late, I am tired, and a little delirious with cough medication.</p>

<p>Surfette, I am sure you will be able to "handle" the Starbucks job along with everything else, but, why do it? It seems to me that there is very little net gain. You only have very little time - what, 16 weeks maybe? left of high school. And these last weeks will contain a lot of events specific to closure, graduation, etc. - things you will not want to miss, or attend in a tired state where you may not be able to fully enjoy them and participate. The amount of money you will make working just doesn't seem worth it. Plus, why compromise time that can be spent on your school work, to make sure you keep your grades high? </p>

<p>Why not simply wait until school is out, and then you can work all summer if you like, and perhaps even at something that will pay more than Starbucks, and perhaps even be more interesting than Starbucks? </p>

<p>I definitely agree with everyone else who posted that you NOT quit tennis. You will be in the workforce something like 40+ years. You have only a few more weeks to play tennis in high school, and then that option is closed, forever.</p>

<p>It's all what you make of it! Don't overdo it though, unless it is important to you: helping out your folks, being more responsible and the like. "Having fun" is highly overrated. Taking charge is actually a great thing to do, especially at your age. Kind of raises your self-esteem by a million points. It's a good way to gain your parents attention in an amazingly positive way. :)</p>

<p>One thing I do know. You can handle anything that you put your heart and mind to.</p>

<p>surfette, when you say that you are taking AP Euro on a block schedule, does that mean that you're going to do the ENTIRE course before the May test?</p>

<p>If so, I would suggest either Starbucks or tennis, but not both. AP Euro is a time-consuming course, even for people who have two semesters in which to complete it.</p>

<p>It concerns me that you don't seem to have a local college on your list (just in case the money doesn't work out anywhere). You didn't apply to the University of Hawaii at all?</p>

<p>I highly recommend the part-time job, even starting now (in part because you'll be more likely to get hired <em>NOW</em> than if you wait until school is out and lots of others are looking for work). My S got himself a job last summer at a local frozen yogurt shop, and I supported it wholeheartedly, even though we are fortunate to have no financial challenges in our family. He continued at the shop through water polo season, arranging his work hours around his practice/game schedule, and now that the season is over, he has rearranged his schedule. Not only does he earn money for himself, but he has caught the eye of the owner, and is now the only "key holder" other than the owner. He can open and close the shop, handle the money, and train new employees. The owner wrote him a glowing recommendation for colleges, and we have seen him learn more at this job in terms of responsibility, commitment, and punctuality than we'd thought possible. His self-esteem is far higher and he's having a great time his senior year in HS. (And if anything, his grades are <em>better</em> this year than last!)</p>

<p>In the area where we live, most parents discourage their children from getting part-time jobs. They would prefer the children go to tutors or study groups or train for academic competitions or participate in ECs that they believe will look more impressive on a college application. Y'know what? I am really truly glad my S got this job. It has done wonders for him, and I <em>know</em> that having been a reliable, valued employee not only teaches valuable life skills (and earns a nice little bit of change for the bank account) but also looks just <em>fine</em> to colleges.</p>

<p>Good luck juggling things, surfette -- I agree with overseas that it's all what you make of it.</p>

<p>Keep in mind that some of the schools with large endowments will cover the cost of transportation for accepted students who are low income and/or first generation students and under represented minorities. This usually happens on a first come basis. So, you may wish to call Vanderbilt, BC and BU to see if they are having an accepted students' weekend and if they are financing it for selected students and have them put your name on the list for consideration.</p>