Your Parents’ Problem
I am planning to go to college in Boston, and I currently live in South Florida. My family suggested I should consider going to a public university near home and then transfer to either the University of Miami–or a school in Massachusetts to finish my undergraduate or master’s degree later. They say that it will not only be cheaper, but it would also ease my transition to college and the process of becoming more independent. Do you believe this is a good option, or is this just some kooky idea to get me to stay home?
This question is hard for me to answer without knowing your financial and family situation. Public universities certainly cost less than private ones, and it’s true that you could save money by going to a state school for a while. Living at home would also allow you to save money. Having said that, I would encourage you to live on campus, wherever you go to school. Living away from home allows students to take full advantage of college life and to experience the independence your family mentions. It sounds to me like your family is experiencing something very normal: difficulty in letting their son or daughter go. Talk to them and see if this is the case, or if there is some other motivation for their wanting you home. If they’re simply sad to see you go, tell them you understand what they are feeling, but that this is a natural next step in your life—one you’re very excited about. Just because you’re leaving home doesn’t mean your family is losing you, Sometimes, in fact, going away to college can actually improve parent-child relationships!
You might want to also consider attending one of the very fine Florida state schools, such as the University of Florida or Florida State. That way, you would have the experience of being away from home (and probably a car’s drive away) and, as a Florida resident, would pay a much lower tuition than at the University of Miami or as a non-resident attending the University of Massachusetts. This might accomplish the respective goals of both you and your parents.
My 14 year old son wishes to attend a pre-med program in college. Please give us some guidelines to begin preparing. Other than taking challenging courses, and doing well with grades, what recommendations would you offer? We are planning for him to attend one of the summer programs this year.
In all honesty, I think you’re thinking too far ahead. The summer enrichment programs and special educational opportunities you can make available for your son are great, but they should be viewed as a way to enrich his life, not prepare him for med school. In about the ninth grade, he should begin making course selections that will allow him to enter a selective college. Along the way, of course, he should study hard, stay involved in a number of activities, and enjoy life. There are eight or more years between now and medical school for your son. A lot can happen, and he might even change his mind.
I have a very strict father who desires me to stay within the boundaries of the states bordering ours. However, I very strongly wish to attend a school in California (we live in Oklahoma). What advice or techniques do you suggest in order to convince my father into letting me attend the college of my choice? (I am a junior in high school.)
A Ranger choke hold might be a good technique. Just kidding, of course. Assuming you have a civil relationship with your father, I think you need to have an honest discussion about the matter. You first need to find out if the reason he doesn’t want you to is related to money. Parents often have a tough time admitting to their kids that they can’t afford the college of their choice. You might pose this question like, “If money was not an issue, would you feel better about me going?”
If the reason your father doesn’t want you to go has something to do with discipline (behavior or work habits), then you need to find out what behavior he expects, and then deliver.
I would also encourage you to explore your reasons for choosing a California school. Are they truly legitimate? That is, is there something there that isn’t available elsewhere? If your reasons for going are lame, you’re in trouble. I would also make sure that your father is as in the know about your college choice as possible. If he simply won’t discuss it, then you have a problem. But if he will, get him to review the college’s material with you. If parent’s feel like they are participating in the decision, then they often feel more comfortable with it. You might also arrange a meeting between your high school college counselor, your father, and you. Prep your counselor first about your problem. A joint college visit between you and your dad would be wonderful, but might be hard to pull off. You may never understand the reasons behind your father’s decision. Still, there are some truly excellent schools in your neck of the woods, and I would encourage you to explore them too.
I am a senior in high school, and my whole life has been consumed with sports since 6th grade. I have played volleyball for my school as well as club volleyball. I have been interested in playing college volleyball and have been looked at by coaches. But I have second thoughts about it. My parents want me to play because its a free ride to college. I feel like my parents don’t care what I want. I want to go to college and do something other than volleyball. I love it, but I know it’s something my heart doesn’t want to do. Now, I feel like my parents are making my decision for college. It makes me frustrated and confused. I’m starting to fill out applications for schools this week. I don’t want to base my college choice on my parents’ opinions. But I won’t have money for college unless I get a scholarship for volleyball. I am a stressed senior and need help. Thank you.
Thanks for your honest question. Your decision probably depends on whether your scholarship is contingent on a fully packed volleyball schedule while you’re in college. What I mean is, will you have time to do other things you love too? If you are able to get an athletic scholarship, you’re right that it is one of the best ways to fund your college education. If you can look at it as a means to an end (the end being an affordable college education), then go ahead and pursue that. However, if you know that the expectations put upon you would be to go Olympic or pro or to compete at some level of expectation that you know is not your heart, then do explain that to your parents and ask them to help you figure out if there are alternative ways of funding your education.
Your parents are probably feeling the financial stress of a child entering college in a down economy and are looking at the situation practically, which is their role and responsibility to do as your parents. If you try to view the situation through their eyes, it might help you both understand each other’s points of view better. And the volleyball option does make a lot of practical sense (as I feel you recognize, based on the reasonable tone of your question). But if it means that volleyball might suck your life away and you want to take your life back some other way, then that is what you need to determine with each school that may offer you a scholarship. Be proactive. Ask coaches what expectations you will face if you accept an athletic scholarship. Based on that info, determine whether you would be able to both play volleyball and also pursue a major that suits you better. (Be assured that many college athletes study something different than a sports-related program.) Or, if you don’t want to play volleyball at all anymore, you need to approach your parents respectfully and speak to them honestly about that. Seek out advice and wisdom from those who know you the best before you make your final decision. All the best to you.
My son has gotten back two letters after applying for early admissions, and they say that the committee did not approve him for admission under early action. However, they say that everything he sent in looked good. Does this mean he won’t get in? And does this mean that the college won’t help him find the money to get in? Also, should I do the FAFSA now, or wait and see if he gets into a college first? Sorry, this is all new to me. Thank you!
Do the letters your son received mention whether he was deferred to regular admission? If so, then there’s a chance he may still get in to one or both of the schools. And if so, he’ll still be eligible for some financial aid. If he was rejected without a deferral or waitlist option, then I suggest he set his sights on some other good schools. So many students get rejected from the “higher-end” schools in the country, I wouldn’t really worry about it too much. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand. If your son’s materials were deemed good, then I’m betting he’ll be able to get into a fine school.
Go ahead and fill out the FAFSA now, then send it along to whatever schools your son applies to. Don’t worry about waiting to see if your son is accepted, each school has a financial aid deadline. So you and your son should fill out the FAFSA sooner rather than later.
Going to college has been pretty easy for me. I’m doing well in my classes, I’m making good friends, I’m being social, and I’m getting enough sleep. My school is about a half hour away from my parents’ house, and I’ve gone home twice since I’ve been in college. My parents aren’t hovering too badly, and I feel like things are going well. But recently, my mother has started demanding that I come home to do things for her when I have a life on campus and things I can’t drop just because she asks. For example, she’s going out of town for a weekend, and she wants me to come home to take care of the pets. My dad and younger sister will be home at various times, but apparently everyone thinks I can just drop everything for them. How can I get my family to respect that I have my own life now?
This is a tough question, but a good one. I understand your point of view. It sounds like you feel as though you are succeeding in college and have struck a nice balance. It also sounds like you feel as though your mother’s demands disturb the balance you’ve created between your academics, social life, health, and activities. Have you tried to approach your mother and explain that you’ve already taken on too much to come home more often than a few times per semester? Try to understand her perspective in order to make the right approach. Perhaps she feels overworked or doesn’t have the help she needs to create her own sense of balance. Is there a way you can compromise by explaining your side and allowing her to explain hers?
This is a great opportunity to learn to set healthy boundaries, but also to learn to listen and consider another point of view. Throughout life, others will make demands that are based on their needs. This doesn’t mean they don’t respect your space or your life, but it means that they don’t have a clear picture of your life or your boundaries. If you can make these boundaries clear, you can avoid and mitigate further conflict. Perhaps you might suggest that you will be happy to help out when you come home to visit, but that you cannot make a last-minute trip home unexpectedly, because it interferes with the relationships and activities you are building in your own life. Work on striking a compromise rather than protecting yourself. This is a relationship you’ll want to maintain and nurture for a long time, so make kind, respectful moves rather than reacting defensively. Good luck!
My parents don’t want me to get a job while I am in college. Is this weird? Why shouldn’t I get a job?
While I don’t know all the variables in this decision, I do know that your parents are probably concerned that a job will get in the way of your studies. Many students do balance work with school, but this means sacrificing time to study and engage in campus life with other students. While you may feel that a job will give you more independence and financial security, make sure that the time you spend at work won’t detract from what you’re really trying to achieve during college, which is a solid education. High grades and strong work during college can help you land a really lucrative and fulfilling career after college, and it would be a shame to sacrifice that opportunity for the short term benefits that an hourly part time job could bring during college. If you’re still perplexed by your parents’ position, perhaps sit down and discuss the issue with them. If you’re dead set on working a job, find out the details in terms of hours and schedule and present a clear picture of how working would not interfere with studies. Good luck!