Thoughts on children attending college far away?

<p>I'm currently a HS senior awaiting two acceptance letters which I believe will come soon: University of Minnesota and University of Delaware. It may seem odd that I applied to these two schools despite living in Virginia. However, this is due to the fact that I am an aspiring chemical engineering major, and none of the schools in Virginia can compare to the program quality of these two. Furthermore, I have pretty good academic stats (4.0 UW GPA, 4.38 W GPA, 34 ACT) so I think that I will get in and possibly receive some merit aid.</p>

<p>My question for all the parents on here relates specifically to the University of Minnesota. I realize that it is a way's away from Virginia. However, I found out about it so recently that I was barely able to apply before the deadline. The more I research it, the more I seem to like it. Not only does it have a top 5 undergrad program for Chem Eng (putting it in the same league as MIT/Caltech). Its tuition rate is among the lowest OOS rates in the nation at just $18,000 per year (That is significantly cheaper than UDel's $26,000 per year). Due to my relatively high stats, I believe that I could get some substantial merit aid that would, at the very least, waive the OOS portion of the tuition and possibly lower it to levels that would be cheaper than even instate schools.</p>

<p>Despite professing a substantial interest in attending, my parents (especially my mom) seem to refuse to even consider the thought, even when I tell them of how low the price would be without any scholarships. I understand that this might be natural, but I don't seem to understand their thought process. The cost of attending U of M could potentially end up lower than my other choice of UDel, but my mom only considers U of M to be a "safety choice", which I shouldn't even consider attending if I got in to UDel. This pretty much stems from the distance factor, since Delaware is a 5-hour drive away while Minnesota is a flight away. My mom's logic is that it would give "peace of mind" to be within driving distance. However, since she has repeatedly stated that I wouldn't be able to take a car on campus, that seems to defeat the purpose of being that close.</p>

<p>To summarize: It's not like I overwhelmingly prefer to attend UMinn over UDel, but that could very well be my mindset once I receive letters from both schools. The biggest problem is that it's IMPOSSIBLE to have a productive conversation with my mom about this topic, as she accuses me of "wanting to get far away from them" every time I try to bring up that I may want to simply consider going to UMinn (dependent on price of course). My question to all the parents on here is how to approach this topic. I understand that it might be hard for a parent to think about sending their child that far away for 4 years. However, its not like I'd be able to come home more frequently if I were in Delaware. Should I wait until I receive scholarship decisions from both schools to really discuss the topic? I've already talked to someone whose child was at UMinn who was very helpful...I'd just like to hear more feedback from other parents as to how I should go about handling this uncommon situation.</p>

<p>I don't have particular insight to offer into your situation or current info on these schools (except I would recommend U of Minnesota from past knowledge) but I definitely commend you on your choice to study Chem Eng. and feel compelled to post a few comments.
Yes, I have to note it IS a hassle to have students attend university farther away from home - but it MAY very likely be worth it. From our perspective, we know a lot of people doing this. Our family has experience with this. Get on a frequent flier airline program. Find someone to carpool with - whatever. We live in a modern, advanced world and travel is often part of it. Understand you will grow tremendously from the challenges and experiences of living in another region of the country and it will be most likely be WORTH IT.
Seriously, I can't relate to the idea that a family would require their kid/s to stay near home (unless it coincidentally made sense for multiple reasons). Coming home should not be the focus of any discussion about where to apply/attend college.
With all due respect to your parents, It SHOULD be your choice - you are the student and it is your life and education. It sounds to me (a parent of young adults) that you are doing the right kind of research and thoughtful consideration of your potential options and your educated opinion should count for a lot.</p>

<p>I'm not a parent, but I did attend a university 3,000 miles from home, in central Alaska.</p>

<p>I would talk to your parents in no uncertain terms about your feelings in the matter, explaining why you believe U of M to be the best choice for you. Explain to them that ultimately, it is your life that will be permanently impacted by this choice - that a parent deciding what college their young adult will attend is not a rational position.</p>

<p>@lateparty...My thoughts exactly. Thanks for the reply, we usually fly Southwest (which is cheap to begin with) so the few flights out there would not be that expensive. I definitely would like the experience of living in a new region different from the typical East-coast urban environment. I've always been drawn to the charm of the Midwest. Unfortunately, distance really has become one of my mom's main focuses in choosing a school.. If the price for UDel ends up being cheaper, then I can concede that it would make fiscal sense to go there. I just can't seem to get a legitimate conversation started about what should be a fair and open topic to discuss.</p>

<p>A 5 hour drive is almost as far time-wise as a 4 hour plane ride + time going to and from airports. The plane ride may be less convenient when moving your stuff, though. However, the difference in cost of attendance can pay for a lot of plane tickets and shipping costs.</p>

<p>@polarscribe and Battlo...thank you for the advice...I'm definitely going to try all those things, but I believe that it will be easier to talk about the topic as a whole once the acceptance is a done deal. At least, thats how I feel about it.</p>

<p>@ucbalumnus that's why I'm praying for some decent merit aid from U of M...lol. I really don't see why travel considerations should pay such a big part, it would really only be a disadvantage when moving in</p>

<p>
[quote]
My mom's logic is that it would give "peace of mind" to be within driving distance. However, since she has repeatedly stated that I wouldn't be able to take a car on campus, that seems to defeat the purpose of being that close.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>As a parent, might I suggest that your mother means it would give HER peace of mind to have you somewhere that is in driving distance for HER? (I assume she has a car.) Should you be injured, arrested, struck ill with meningitis, or otherwise in a pickle, your mother wants to be able to get to you on a moment's notice. Flying cannot be accomplished that quickly. </p>

<p>I say this as someone whose daughter was transported to the local emergency room on three separate occasions one summer to rule out appendicitis. "Local" was in Wisconsin, I was in Maryland. </p>

<p>I just got a phone call that she was taken to a hospital in Eilat because of an allergic reaction to peanuts.</p>

<p>I will have MUCH more peace of mind when she's 45 minutes away at college!</p>

<p>Both of my daughters attend school far from our St. Louis home. D1 is at UMinn and D2 is at Pitt. We are able to get them to and from fairly simply by flying Southwest . Both daughters have really gained in confidence and self reliance since beginning school. It has been a joy watching them grow. They call frequently and sometimes it feels like they never left because they communicate often enough that my H and I still feel like we are needed and are a part of their lives. I will admit I was extremely apprehensive about my kids leaving but it has worked out great. Both kids are very happy at their respective schools and I wouldn't change anything except the $$$ flowing out of my checkbook :)</p>

<p>When I was 23 I moved, on my own for a job, from Connecticut to the Chicago area. I know my parents had a hard time with it -- but it ultimately made me a more independent and self sufficient person. </p>

<p>Compared to the 70s, air travel is cheap, and there is also the train. I would suggest that you on your own work out what the transportation costs would be so you have that info when you discuss this with your parents. </p>

<p>(I drove out once ... flew back and forth once or twice a year ... and ultimately drove back east for good. Not so impossible -- and that's when a plane ticket cost a week's pay or more.)</p>

<p>What you don't mention in your post is the <em>weather</em> and that is absolutely something that you should consider. Living in Virginia, you have no concept what midwest cold winters are like. I speak from experience, having grown up in Connecticut!</p>

<p>
[quote]
A 5 hour drive is almost as far time-wise as a 4 hour plane ride + time going to and from airports.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Right, except it's not a 5 hour drive. It's a 10 hour drive (round trip) for the person who has to drive you to college. Add up the cost of gas, tolls, meals, then maybe even an overnight hotel stay, not to mention the risk of an accident or mechanical failure. Delaware may as well be the Midwest (or the West Coast for that matter).</p>

<p>The transportation is not a "hassle" in my opinion...it's a trip to the airport or a long drive and back - 10 hours which they aren't probably going to want to do in a day. Figure out the transportation costs for both choices. When push comes to shove, if the costs overall are lower at Minnesota and your preferred major is better...then you're holding the cards if you like Mpls/St. Paul. With our kids they do NOT fly home at Thanksgiving, but as a parent I'm sure I wouldn't be driving 10 hours to pickup and 10 hours to bring back over what amounts to a 5 day holiday if my kids were at a college 5 hours away. So think about that one, also. If your parents have spent their entire life on the east coast perhaps they feel like Minnesota is the hinterlands and so very far away....but people fly from the Twin Cities to the east coast on business all the time :-) it's really not that big of a deal. Unless you want a rural college, you'll love the Twin Cities! Good luck.</p>

<p>We have a son who attended college 280 miles away. It was a 5 hour drive if we didn't hit traffic - which was rare. (A 10 hour drive for the person doing the drop-off/pick-up). Our daughter now attends college 800 miles away. Door-to-door, it takes about 6 hours to go to the airport, fly to her area, rent a car and drive to her campus. Not really much different, except for the cost of the flights. She gets a shuttle from the airport to campus, or gets a ride with a friend.</p>

<p>BUT.... there's a lot more involved here.</p>

<p>1) It's a lot harder to move her in and out at the beginning/end of the year. It's a 13 hour drive from our house to her campus, which we've always done in 2 days (stopping at a relative's house along the route). This means that last summer my husband had to take 4 days out of his schedule to drive down, pack up our daughter's things, and drive back home.<br>
This year my daughter has a car on campus, but I still drove down with her in August because it was too far for her to drive alone. Then I flew back. Her car isn't big, so she had to store things at a friend's off-campus house over the summer. Next year she'll be in an on-campus apartment. I don't know where she's going to store her stuff over the summer or how she'll move furniture to the apartment - I guess that's HER problem. If she were close to home we could run to campus with our SUV and bring her stuff home.
For the initial move-in, it's easiest to fly to campus a couple days early and do your shopping near campus.</p>

<p>2) Southwest is great, but we don't fly them because they don't go non-stop to D's campus. When dealing with winter weather there are a lot fewer things that can go wrong if you can fly non-stop (no connections to miss, fewer flights so less chance of them being cancelled). Will you be able to go non-stop from VA to MN? </p>

<p>3) Also when dealing with plane flights, you need to make travel plans for Thanksgiving WAY in advance. Sometimes we reserve flights and then D's class schedule changes. With Southwest there's no change fee, but you do pay for any increase in airfare, and as Thanksgiving approaches airfares go WAY up.</p>

<p>All-in-all, if you really think MN is the place for you, the travel issue isn't enough to cross it off your list. My daughter LOVES her college and can't see herself anywhere else. For us, it's worth the hassles to get her back and forth. (Although part of me can't help but be jealous of my friends whose kids are 3 hours or less away.) Just be aware that going to school far away is more complicated than it initially appears.</p>

<p>(As for your mom... I could have told my daughter she had to stay closer to home, but I feel like that would have been selfish of me. Keeping her close to home was more about what <em>I</em> wanted than what she wanted or what college was best for her. So I shut my mouth and opted to "grin and bear it." Seeing how happy she is at her college makes it all worthwhile).</p>

<p>"As a parent, might I suggest that your mother means it would give HER peace of mind to have you somewhere that is in driving distance for HER? (I assume she has a car.) Should you be injured, arrested, struck ill with meningitis, or otherwise in a pickle, your mother wants to be able to get to you on a moment's notice. Flying cannot be accomplished that quickly. "</p>

<p>That's what I was thinking, but only because parents seem to post about that situation from time to time. It never occured to me before my daughter went 3000 miles, and two (or three?) times zones away to school. She is about to graduate, and it was never an issue. </p>

<p>OTOH, her bother just started college about 400 miles away, and she is a little jealous of how much easier it is for us to get there, making me wonder if she would have liked us to come more often. She comes home twice a year, and we visited her about four times total.Son has been home twice, and we have visited him twice so far.</p>

<p>Transportation to the U of MN FROM the airport is soon to be very simply, light rail access in 2014 even so, it's easy enough to get a ride/take the bus. Flying out of Minneapolis is VERY easy, especially if you fly one of the smaller airlines like Air Tran or Southwest. RARELY do I pay over $200 for a ticket, usually closer to $150--Thanksgiving not included :). </p>

<p>The chemical engineering program, like you said, is one of the tops in the nation. The U of MN is very well respected. Job prospects in MN are EXCELLENT after graduation--or if you move back east I am sure there won't be issues either. We have a couple companies here you might have heard of that are direct lines to the Chem. Eng. program at the U of MN--3M being one of them. A couple of our kids' friends are in the Chem. Eng. program at the U of MN right now and other than it being difficult, they love it. Both of their fathers (separate families) are also U of MN Chem Eng. grads working for different companies here.</p>

<p>Your mom is concerned because, at is seems, for whatever reason, people out east can't picture anything of value happening in the midwest, not true at all. </p>

<p>Travel to and from MN, I would rather my kids go a flight away, than driving 6 hours away or stay 4 hours and under. That 5-6 hour driving time is just REALLY difficult to accomplish--doable, but tough. You COULD fly out in and back in a day if needed, driving round trip 5-6 hours is hard.</p>

<p>Transport should not be the biggest issue. Also many start in ChemE--many do not finish in ChemE. Look at the bigger U too.</p>

<p>
[quote]
[getting to the kid in an emergency] never occured to me before my daughter went 3000 miles, and two (or three?) times zones away to school. She is about to graduate, and it was never an issue.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>It's happened to me several times and my kid hasn't started college yet! I wouldn't have forbid her to choose a school that was far away, but I was extremely pleased and relieved when she did not!</p>

<p>Schools are prepared to help if there is an emergency. Even if your child is 30 minutes away, there could be an emergency that prevents you from getting them right away...not a good reason, in my opinion, not to have a child go away for college.</p>

<p>My D goes to school on the opposite coast. She is ecstatically happy there. It is definitely a great place for her and we have no regrets about the decision.</p>

<p>Since we live 45-50 minutes from a major airport, getting her back and forth to college has been way easier for us parents than it was for our older child, who was a 5-6 hour car trip one way. Move-in was trickier for our D, of course, but we all brought her stuff in our extra suitcases when we flew out (free with Continental Elite Access) and used the Bed Bath & Beyond remote pick-up for some larger items. It worked out just fine. She ended up working on campus the summer after freshman year, so she stayed at college. While she did have to move all her stuff to a new dorm room, she didn't have to pay for storage for her belongings. This summer, storage might be a cost she will incur. You might need to add storage costs into your calculations too, unless you are a minimalist and can fit all your stuff into 2 suitcases.</p>

<p>One negative was that we haven't attended parent weekends or other events (D's athletic competitions and banquets, for example) due to the cost of airfare and hotels, since we were saving that to pay for our D's transportation and tuition bill. However, we didn't attend for our S either--also for financial reasons. Had they attended a school only an hour or two away, we likely would have made the trip.</p>

<p>Secondly, you need to think about summer internships and your post-graduation employment prospects. While there are large companies who recruit all over the country and will offer you geographic preference, you could find that the majority of on-campus interviews you get are for job openings in the immediate area of your school. Your parents might be afraid you will settle in the Minnesota region after you graduate, and that could definitely happen. However, it's not like Delaware is next door should you land a job at Dupont or something. But that's irrelevant, because to your mom Delaware FEELS closer. My guess is that assuring your mom that you plan to return back home summers and after graduation will help her feel better.</p>

<p>


</p>

<p>"Smaller"? Southwest (including AirTran) is the third largest airline in the US in terms of passengers carried. Only Delta and United (including Continental) are larger.</p>

<p>Delta's hub in Minneapolis may make it seem much larger than Southwest or any other airline, although it is only about 21% larger than Southwest in terms of number of passengers carried in 2011.</p>