Support for Moms of College Applicants

My daughter got in to Cal Poly Slo. It was one of her first choices and she committed right away. We went to visit and that excitement dwindled quickly. By the time we got home she wanted to go to the university near our home, which is a great university, but she always wanted to go see something new. I am personally devastated by her choice and having a really hard time with it. Trying to show support, because it is her decision. I think she spends too much time cruising the internet for advice and not enough time talking with us. (I guess that is what I am doing right now…ha!) There is still hope for a possible UC waitlist. Any advice on how to process this would be appreciated…

What drew her to SLO in the first place? Has she been participating in any of SLOs virtual events? I would caution against changing plans based off of one tour or one visit. SLO and UCSB have very similar social scenes and you can’t count on UCSB accepting her off of the waitlist.

Why are you devastated? Is SLO a better program for her? Are you paying for her education? Is SLO more affordable? If it isn’t just an emotional response then sit down with her and go over why you feel that she should stick with SLO.

FWIW, I was lukewarm about my D’s decision (she graduated high school in '18). I never envisioned her at a big state school and always thought she would go to a mid size private. I may have shed a tear or two when she committed to Purdue.

With four years of hindsight, I can tell you it was the best decision she ever made. She’s has totally flourished there, found her tribe, and had an amazing experience academically, professionally, and socially.

If your daughter is excited to attend the near by, great university, you are already ahead of the game. And not having to get on an airplane for move in/out will be a ton easier ; )

Hugs to you though, I know the mental shift can be a challenge!


I guess I am devasted because I think it is time for her to branch out and grow. Leaving our hometown would help to foster that. I think she is frightened of the idea of moving that far.(6-8 hour drive) She was attracted to Cal Poly because everyone seemed so happy there and she thinks it is very reputable. She did not like the small town feel when we got there. However, I don’t think she gave it a good chance. I am trying to leave my feelings/opinions out, but it is very difficult.

Will she be living in the dorms at the university near your home? If so, I think she’ll still have plenty of opportunities to branch out and grow.

Hopefully though she isn’t making a decision based on fear :frowning:


Thank you! Yes she would live in the dorms, but I guess I am worried that when she runs into a problem, she will show up at our front door instead of grappling with it herself and learning some life lessons. Of course I would love to hold her hand through everything, but I don’t think that is always a great way to foster her independence.


Set some boundaries right up front. Like no visits home until after parents weekend, so she has time to settle in and work through any challenges on her own, as if she was further away.

We are doing something similar with a family member who is coming to our town for school (at her parents’ request).


Yes, we could do that. I guess deep down My husband and I just think Cal Poly is a better choice. It has a better college town feel, better environment, safer, moving from home, experiencing something new and we love the “learn by doing” approach. My husband and I both went to the university by our home and loved it, but Cal Poly is just a better fit for our daughter.

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Have the two of you told her this?

For most of her life, she has looked to you for your guidance. Maybe she is waiting for your husband and you to share your feelings and opinions.

Is she considering a local CSU? Are many of her HS friends attending that school? Is she thinking of rooming with a HS friend? Try to find out what is pulling her away from a very social CSU where the majority of students are from out of town.

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It depends on how big the change is. In our case my D got into NYU CALpoly SLO UCI and SDSU. In the end we decided on UCI as it is near not a big change and also not a big fin debt.

Calpoly admits by major so changing major might be difficult. Also ask her to talk to talk to other students who are attempt just complete at both institutes.

We made our decision after she talked to my friend’s son at NYU and she ultimately decided on UCI

I think some kids just need to move away from home gradually. Your daughter appears to be one of them. My D22 is one, too. After originally saying she wanted to be at least an hour away from home, she chose the college closest to our home (12 minute drive), which is also the one her best friend (since 2nd grade) is going to attend. They will both live on campus, though both her friend’s mom and I “forbid” them from rooming together. As my daughter has a history of anxiety/depression, I’m just happy that she feels excited about going to college.


Yes, we have had this conversation about Cal Poly being the better choice a gazillion times, it usually ends up in tears. She is sad that we are not overjoyed about her decision on the local school. (I am confidant I will be one day if that school happens) It’s so clear to us…Its really the location of Cal Poly to her, being more rural than where we live. She thinks she will get bored and she actually said she heard the food was bad.:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: These are not strong cons to me…but??? She somehow is committed to both at this point…cal poly doesn’t charge. I don’t even know if that is possible…

Btw, no she doesn’t really have any good friends attending the local. They are all going out of town.

Make sure to un-commit from the one she doesn’t choose ASAP. If colleges find out you have double-committed they can rescind your offer.

My guess is that since the deadline is tomorrow, if she withdraws today or tomorrow they won’t find out and she will be fine, but best not to risk that.

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Then she will have to make new friends, which inevitably involves growth! Going to university is enough different than HS that she can’t help but spread her wings a bit.

Objectively, you may be 100% right that CalPoly is ‘better’ for her by the metrics you are using.

Notably, however, you don’t mention any meaningful negatives about the local school.

So, perhaps this is part of the two-way street of letting go. She did the work to get into some great choices. She went to visit CalPoly expecting to love it- and didn’t. Maybe she didn’t give it a fair chance- or maybe her gut is right that it’s not her place.

But, as neither is a bad choice, maybe pull back* and 'say, hey, daughter, you know what? you are right! you are the one that did all the hard work that got you into these colleges, so that now you have good choices, and you are the one who is going to live there for the next four year. You are stepping up and making a reasonable and responsible choice, and we should be trusting you. Well done

And then come here and we will 100% support you in all the the frustrating parts of being the parent of an almost-adult!


I went to school very close to my home (farther than 12 minutes) and rarely went home. Once I made friends at school I was too busy. Sometimes I went near home to take a tennis lesson and never even went to my house. I went with some friends to Star Wars and saw my father and brothers coming out of the theater (remember the days of big lines? they were pretty far away) but never even talked to them.

She can make her own life at any school, even one 12 miles away. YOU need to let her find her own way. If she needs to come home for dinner once a week, let her. I bet she’ll start bringing friends with her and soon she won’t be coming home so much but if she needs to come home, wouldn’t you rather she only have to come 12 miles than 8 hours? She’ll have plans, you’ll have plans, she’ll need to cancel dinner to study.

One good thing about being close is that you don’t have to commit an entire weekend to see her, she doesn’t have to commit a weekend to entertain you. My nephew went to school close (about 30 miles) and my sister would go and take him to brunch a few Sunday mornings a semester. For her it was about 3 hours with travel, for him about 1.5 hours of eating. He was also at a school with about 20 of his hs friends and 100s of other kids he knew from years of youth sports, neighbors, older siblings of friends. But also thousands of other kids he’d never met before. His roommates were usually new fiends, his frat brothers, others in his major.

College, even 12 miles from home, is not like hs all over again. Colleges are bigger, have more freedom for the student, have new people to interact with.


Have you made it clear that you expect her to make an effort to stay on campus at weekends? I can confirm that many students who go home at the weekends have an unsatisfactory college experience.

That’s because kids who are on campus all week don’t put in a lot of effort into getting to know suitcase students who go home every weekend. Then the kid that’s coming home all the time ends up not liking their college because they feel like the have no friends, just acquaintances. And meanwhile, if her local friends have headed out of the area, it can be even more isolating.

You’ve let her make the choice, which is good, but make sure you set some ground rules. Also, do you think she is holding out hope to get off the WL? Please tell her not to hope for that. It might happen, but the odds aren’t in her favor. It would be helpful if we knew which college she is on the WL for, but there will literally be thousands of others on the waitlist. They might take 100, or 0. She should commit to her college and you should let her know your expectations.


Wow! Thank you for all the sage advice on this thread. I feel a little bit better than yesterday. She is more than likely going to rescind her acceptance at Cal Poly today.:pensive: However, I am starting to come to grips with her choice of SDSU. My husband and I are alumni there and loved it, but looking in from the outside, we are still apprehensive about it being a good fit for her.
Reasons: The hot inland location, the ability to get the classes you want, no surrounding college town, easy access to Mexico, unsafe surrounding neighborhood, many kids move to the beach yr. 2, too close to home, and she will not have a car.
There is still a little hope for UCSB waitlist, but going to be neutral at this point. She applied to UCSB as a undeclared in letters and sciences, 4.7 gpa and varsity sports, clubs etc. :crossed_fingers::pray:


She’ll be fine.

If she does get off the WL at UCSB, housing could be a nightmare. Be careful what you wish for.

I heard that. We checked with housing a couple weeks ago and they said freshman are guaranteed housing…so who knows. We will cross that bridge if we need to…

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