Regretting my decision - did I make a mistake?

<p>Last year, I was lucky enough to make my state's National Merit Semi-finalist score cutoff - and then some. Although I don't really agree with the way the scholarship is handled, I feel like it's opened some real opportunities to me. Namely, I decided to take advantage of the University of Alabama's full scholarship and free room and board for National Merit Scholars worth $100k total, and I applied there as my safety school. While it's a great deal and I'm grateful for it, I'm really starting to regret my decision.</p>

<p>The problem with U of A's scholarship opportunity was that it was good - too good. Few schools will give me that sort of money. (The other college I've heard back from, Centre, only gave me $68k over four years) Now, my parents will definitely not pay for any other school except that of the reach schools I applied (which I doubt I'll be getting into) to or Barnard (which they made me apply to). On the other hand, I'm really getting the feeling that U of A is not for me. You see, I'm definitely a person who prefers a smaller environment and more intellectualism and less partying. However, I got to visit the campus a couple of weeks ago for a debate tournament, and I wasn't entirely happy with what I saw. While I did like the campus (and it is definitely more attractive than my state flagship), it didn't really connect with me. Plus, I walked by frat row and I was shocked by how they didn't even manage to keep any sort of pretense about their activities by leaving beer bottles right on the lawn. </p>

<p>As for Barnard, I've really realized that I really don't want to go to an all women's school. The thing is, I realized most of my close friends are guys, and while Columbia is right across the street, I think going to Barnard would really put a dent into making friends during college.</p>

<p>So if I don't get into any of my reach schools (and I'm afraid I won't get into Barnard either), I'm basically stuck at a school that is almost a completely wrong fit for me. I would understand needing to go there if my parents were actually financially constrained, but they're willing to drop thousands for what they consider a top school (and they just bought a second house too). I know I'm not entitled to my parents' money, but I regret not being able to go to a school that would be better for me and be able to provide me with a fantastic education simply because my parents don't deem it acceptable.</p>

<p>Parents (especially those of you who believe in fit) what do you think about this?</p>

<p>Congratulations on your academic success and being so honored by Alabama! </p>

<p>While there may be a very visable party scene at Alabama, don't assume all the kids there want to be part of it. Before you totally dismiss Alabama, perhaps try to find out more about what other students there are really like. Maybe start a thread on the Alabama board on CC? </p>

<p>Speaking as someone who had massive student loans to pay off after graduation from a private university, I have misgivings about turning down the full boat-ride merit scholarship I was awarded at my state's flagship school. I went on to even higher education and wonder if I would have ended up with the same outcome via the other school.</p>

<p>I don't think that everyone goes to Alabama is a partier, but I think that this sort of culture is really prevalent and would be hard to avoid. Also, if there's vomit in your residence hall, it's there.</p>

<p>I'm not willing to take out student loans, and thankfully, I won't have to in any case. However, I am frustrated that my parents aren't willing to pay more for a school (and it wouldn't even be the full tuition) for a school simply because it doesn't fit their idea of a "good school."</p>

<p>Sadly, vomit in the residence halls is not a rare occurrence at any college.</p>

<p>
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I really don't want to go to an all women's school. The thing is, I realized most of my close friends are guys, and while Columbia is right across the street, I think going to Barnard would really put a dent into making friends during college.

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</p>

<p>You can go to Barnard and choose to live in a co-ed dorm at Columbia, as one of my neighbors did. You can take a lot of courses at Columbia. You can get involved in a lot of ECs which include both Barnard and Columbia students. </p>

<p>You won't have any problem making male friends there if that's what you want to do.</p>

<p>
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Sadly, vomit in the residence halls is not a rare occurrence at any college.

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<p>Yeah but I think there would be a different concentration of it between different schools. I'm not expecting to go to a place where this never happens. But schools definitely have different concentrations of partiers.</p>

<p>
[quote]
You can go to Barnard and choose to live in a co-ed dorm at Columbia, as one of my neighbors did. You can take a lot of courses at Columbia. You can get involved in a lot of ECs which include both Barnard and Columbia students.</p>

<p>You won't have any problem making male friends there if that's what you want to do.

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</p>

<p>Thanks! I didn't really think about the school from that perspective. Actually, finding this out makes me really excited to go there.</p>

<p>I think "goodness of fit" is massively overhyped. There are amazing people all sorts of places. Look for a dorm that has a no alcohol policy -- or evening quiet hours. I'll bet there's a place that the resident staff directs other students like you. </p>

<p>Don't worry about frat row. They are enjoying shocking you and it sounds like they did a good job. Pat them on their (sticky) heads and go about your life. </p>

<p>And welcome to the big world. Your parents money is THEIR money. Not yours. Thank them for supporting you to the extent they do (and poke around on the financial section of CC and read about how many kids come from well to do families and their parents will not support any college of any sort. The student is then looking at NO college -- or military or waiting tables). </p>

<p>You are smart. You are healthy. You are headed to a college of some sort. You are abundantly, abundantly blessed. You can talk to parents and maturely say "If I end up at UA, I will promise to give it my very best shot. I'll work at finding friends and interesting classes. " Then do it. If you fail after truly giving it your all, then regroup and transfer. At the very least you will impress your family and yourself with your open mind. </p>

<p>There's a bible verse that goes "I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet." </p>

<p>Please know that the "perfect fit" college is a fantasy packaged by marketing staff in the hopes that parents will shell out vast amounts of money for small, private colleges. And, guess what? All that money means the private college pays groundskeepers to pick up the beer bottles -- the jerks who threw them on the ground are cleaned up after like toddlers. At least at UA there is some honesty involved.</p>

<p>To give Alabama a fair shot, what if you ask someone in admissions at Alabama (as well as the Alabama board as suggested above) the questions you are asking here?</p>

<p>Perhaps you can go to the University</a> of Alabama forum and ask your questions there. You may want to write your subject asking for opinions from National Merit and Presidential Scholars and non-partiers (and people in your possible or likely major if you know).</p>

<p>Student</a> Affairs | Housing & Residential Communities
^You could request the substance free dorm--Freidman.</p>

<p>Note that Alabama residence halls have an apparently strict alcohol policy:</p>

<p>[url=<a href="http://housing.ua.edu/on_campus/com_living_standards.cfm%5DStudent"&gt;http://housing.ua.edu/on_campus/com_living_standards.cfm]Student&lt;/a> Affairs | Housing & Residential Communities<a href="section%20IV">/url</a></p>

<p>You may want to ask on the forum how well obeyed and enforced it is.</p>

<p>Any strings attached to the scholarship?</p>

<p>I'd politely tell them that you want a substance free dorm with similar students of your caliber.</p>

<p>I'm confused - it seems as if you have two issues. One is picking only one safety that you don't really care for, and the other is that your parents will only pay for schools they like. Do you like Centre?</p>

<p>Maybe you could quietly collect data about how smaller schools provide better education, how fit is important, etc. If you do get accepted into schools you prefer, but your parents don't consider worth the extra expense, if you could have well-reasoned arguments why you think they would be better for you, that could help. Your parents do want what's best for the entire family, including you.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>Why not apply to university of Texas at Dallas? They offer very generous scholarships to top students and there isn't a big party culture on campus. You can still meet their March 1 deadline.</p>

<p>Hm, a substance free dorm sounds ok but I don't think that is the right environment for me either. Also, a lot of parents just put their kids in there because that's what they want. I might look into honors housing though.</p>

<p>So just because I don't want vomit on the floor everywhere doesn't automatically mean I want to go into substance free living. I'm not sure where you guys are assuming that. Actually, I'm thinking of my friends right now, and I really doubt any of them would be going to substance free living either. </p>

<p>
[quote]
Note that Alabama residence halls have an apparently strict alcohol policy:</p>

<p>Student Affairs | Housing & Residential Communities (section IV)</p>

<p>You may want to ask on the forum how well obeyed and enforced it is.

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</p>

<p>Haha. Enforced? Yeah right.</p>

<p>
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I'm confused - it seems as if you have two issues. One is picking only one safety that you don't really care for, and the other is that your parents will only pay for schools they like. Do you like Centre?

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</p>

<p>Besides Alabama and my state flagship, I applied to three other schools: Centre (which only offered me $68k), Hendrix, and Mount Holyoke.</p>

<p>"I know I'm not entitled to my parents' money, but I regret not being able to go to a school that would be better for me and be able to provide me with a fantastic education simply because my parents don't deem it acceptable."</p>

<p>I wouldn't think of it as "not acceptable", but perhaps not the best investment. In the end, we ended up paying for what D thought was a "fantastic education", rather than what we might have thought the best investment. At least once she has questioned that. She will graduate in May. I wonder if she wouldn't prefer to have that money NOW, as she negotiates getting a job that "would be better for" her. One day I hope to hear if that's what SHE would have done.</p>

<p>BTW; she was pretty judgmental about the substance thing when she graduated HS, but not enough to do substance free at a top school with a party culture. Wasn't without patience, but she found her peeps.</p>

<p>Sounds like your mind is made up.</p>

<p>I feel like Alabama is a good decision, but applying there closed up just about every other door open to me.</p>

<p>I agree with Geekmom- you have really two separate issues you are muddling together.</p>

<p>The one great thing about big schools is diversity: everyone can 'find their people' among 32,000 students (including 1300 from 77 countries and over 1/3rd from different parts of the country). Will you be part of a honor's class? Do they have an honors dorm? Can you look through their 250 clubs for similar interests to your own and talk to the students in those clubs- what do the debaters at U of A say, for example? How about the other outstanding students that took advantage of the scholarship?</p>

<p>Ok, listen up. All schools have their share of party animals, spoiled debutante types,and pure academic types. U of A is no different. It might surprise you to know that of all the Ivy league, MIT folks that I have met, and I have met quite a number in my life, someone from University of Alabama was a stand out intellectually. In fact, he was a major, successful writer. Yes, there are some very smart people there.</p>

<p>Moreover, U of A has an honors program that can be top notch and give you a lot of access to top faculty, research etc. </p>

<p>Bottom line: Go to U of A and have zero debt. If, however, you are going to lament and sulk for the rest of your life about not going elsewhere , then don't go. However, I would still recommend that you go to U of A and never look back. Having zero debt and almost zero expenses are very hard to beat. Just find a few friends who are just like you, and you will be a happy clam.Just don't sulk or be close minded about it. Don't forget that University of Alabama has among the most national merit scholars in the country. In addition, they have other scholarship programs that are a big draw for smart kids. There has to be people just like you if you look for them, although I personally would have preferred meeting people who were a bit different from myself.</p>