Not thinking though college choices?

Avatar for melissamc
Community Leader
Registered: 03-22-2007
Not thinking though college choices?
21
Tue, 03-19-2013 - 3:38pm

How would you handle the following situations?

I have a friend whose daughter is at the top of her class, and was offered a full scholarship at an out of state college.  Instead, she's thinking of attending a different college in a different state so that she will be close to a boy she met online.  She's interested in being a doctor, so has years of schooling and training ahead of her.

I was telling my sister about it, and she has a friend that went through something similar.  The daughter in that scenario was offered a full scholarship to one college, but she didn't like their program for education, so she chose to attend a college where she is only receiving financial aid. 



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Avatar for turtleemom
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-25-2007
Thu, 03-21-2013 - 11:47am

It's been 20 years since I entered college and we are aways off from looking at 4 year schools for DS, but I do have a question.  When I took out my student loans I needed a parent to cosign or I wasn't going to get them.  These were not federal loans.  When you talk about student debt (you as in all of you not just Arryl) and it being the students' sole responsibilty, are 18 and 19 year olds now able to secure loans for $15,000-$30,000 thousand a year without a co-signer?  

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Thu, 03-21-2013 - 1:18pm
Federal loans a student can get without a co-sign. Private loans they almost always need a parent to co-sign.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-1999
Thu, 03-21-2013 - 3:15pm

If I were the parent of the this young woman, I'd do anything in my power to keep her from choosing a school to be near a boy.  IMO, it is an immature and short-sighted choice.   If it meant refusing to cosign a loan or refusing to extend financial help above and beyond the scholarship, I think I'd do it and hope that the child would thank me later.

As to financial aid, I did not require my children to go to schools which provided the biggest scholarships but I absolutely did require that they seek out and apply to at least some schools that were generous with scholarship money and consider these schools very seriously.  I will do the same with my third child when it's time for her to apply.   When I went to college, back in the dark ages, my parents failed to consider the financial piece to my education, allowed me to apply widely, and then when I was admitted to my dream school, told me that I couldn't attend.  I'd had no warning and ended up on a full scholarship at an enormous state school that was a miserable fit.   I think it's vital to go into the application process with a very clear sense of what is realistic and what is not.  When it came time for my older girls to look at colleges, I looked with them at which schools were apt to provide merit scholarships.  It was eye-opening!  There are amazing, highly ranked schools that do this.  The competition for some of these is as great as it is to gain admission to the single digit admit rate schools but the programs are incredible.   There are also somewhat less competitive scholarships that combined with financial aid make attendance at a private school affordable.   And then there are honors programs at state universities that make those places feel smaller and more personalized while still being affordable--even free.  I guess my point is that kids should go into this knowing the financial realities while also being aware that there are great choices to be had.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-06-1999
Thu, 03-21-2013 - 6:22pm

We have a junior and have been very transparent with him as to exactly what we can afford. He knows the exact dollar amount anything above and beyond he will have to have scholarships/financial aid to cover. He will be able to get a good education at one of many state schools or UC's. he has his eye on a private, out of state school that is out of our range. We told him to apply and see what happens on the scholarship front.

Avatar for turtletime
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-13-1998
Thu, 03-21-2013 - 7:12pm
You mentioned UC so I'm assuming we are in the same state. I just wanted to mention that many of our friends were able to get a lot more financial aid at private schools (even out of state.) Many are sending their kids to privates for less than it would have cost for them to go to a UC school. Plus, the privates have a higher income eligibility window so you can earn more and still qualify. Our DD is looking mostly in state but mostly privates. A few out of state schools. When we plunk all the numbers and do the financial aid calculators, they really aren't out of reach.
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Fri, 03-22-2013 - 11:37am

Our DD is a national merit finalist and has received numerous scholarship offers because of this. (There are schools that guarantee a full ride to NMSFs, so if you've got a rising junior, tell him/her to study for that PSAT!) However, not one of these schools (they are mostly state schools or schools that want to increase their prestige by attracting top students) interested her because she really wants the small liberal arts college experience. This means we will be footing the bill ourselves. We planned to do this all along (we began saving for college tuition for our kids as soon as they were born), so I'm okay with it.

However, if we didn't have the means to pay for college, then you can bet I'd be encouraging DD to take a good hard look at those scholarship schools. I'd be reluctant to have my kid go into debt for an engineering degree, let alone one in a humanities field, as DD will likely do. I'm all for knowledge for knowledge's sake, but I don't think it's right to let a young adult saddle himself with $100K in debt and start out life that way without a reasonable hope of paying it back. There's something to be said for quality of life post-college, too. So like Mahopac, I'm thankful we can pay for our kids' degrees and give them the choice of going to one of those those LACs, and I wish everyone had the same opportunity.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-1999
Fri, 03-22-2013 - 5:40pm

I just want to point out that there are LACs that provide merit money though some of the funding for these may have dried up some since my kids applied.   It's an ever evolving landscape that you really do have to research.  These are just off the top of my head: My eldest received scholarship offers at Oberlin and Grinnell.  My middle dd received a part-scholarship at Mount Holyoke and Smith and Bryn Mawr started a similar offering the next year (though I think this may have ended).   Washington and Lee has a Johnson's Scholar program that provides complete tuition, room and board and might also offer a stipend.  Davidson has a Belk Scholar program that's similar.  If I recally correctly, Kenyon had something as well and as long as the application was submitted by a certain date, it would be considered for the scholarship.  Washington University in St. Louis, Duke, Vanderbilt, Tulane, etc. (not LACs, I'll grant you) have full tuition merit scholarships or did as of two years ago.  As I think I mentioned before, USC automatically grants a 1/2 tuition credit to National Merit finalists who choose it as their first choice on the National Merit application.   These scholarships can be very competitive, some you can't apply for at all, but they were out there.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Sat, 03-23-2013 - 12:28pm

We just found out last night that D was chosen as a 21st century scholar at Mount Holyoke. I guess they considered all applicants, even those who did not apply for aid. She's still awaiting other decisions, but this definitely catapults MHC to the top of  her list, as it means $25K per year and a funded summer internship. We were aware of merit opportunities, but I'd never heard of anyone getting one unless they'd also applied for aid, so I assumed most schools considered those applicants first, as they should.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-13-1999
Sat, 03-23-2013 - 1:26pm

Congratulations to your dd!!!  That's terrific!   That's the scholarship my middle dd received that I was referring to in my last post.  Like you, I had no idea that these merit opportunities existed until my eldest received some at admissions time.  I am guessing that your dd will receive more of these from the other LACs she's applied to and it will make the final decision a more challenging one for her even with the moon shot school in the mix.  It's a great problem to have, congrats to her again!

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
Sat, 03-23-2013 - 10:41pm

Wow!!! That is great. I know most small schools will enter every applicant to the school to see what they might qualify.

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!