Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Tell Everybody I'm on My Way

Elite w/poolside Moc'tinis!
"New Friends and New Places to See..."

Early Decision
Early Action
Priority Scholarship Deadline
Reach and Safety School/Access Institution
Flagship Institution
Successful Academic Progress
Expected Family Contribution/FAFSA
First Time in College
Big $'s but engaged faculty
Spring to Fall First Year Retention Rate
Six Year Graduation Rate
Mid Career Median Salary
Full Freight
Net Price Calculator
Cleary Report

Over the past year and a half the family and I have been on an arduous journey visiting 15 colleges and universities in six states and DC trying to identify where our eldest will take her next steps in life.  Along the way we have learned, on the fly, a new language one has to become familiar with to gain entrance into this new world of academic higher education.  Granted, I've lived my whole life around higher education.  In fact two of my all time favorite posts have been about colleges and college towns.
Elite and it shows!

How getting into college is like meeting people on Ashley Madison
Ryan's World Wide college town tour

However, everything certainly seems quite different as a parent and seeing all of this through the eyes of my daughter.

As cool when football sucks?
Getting a job is what is most important so is the mid-year median income of that school's grads the most important factor?  But if they don't enjoy college they will never make it to graduation day so maybe spring to fall retention for "first time in college freshmen" is most important?  They are in college to learn but if they don't like the food and where they live they won't be happy and won't be able to focus on their studies so maybe Princeton Review's rating of "Best College Dining Services" is important.  And if the food sucks on Saturday night is she going to need a lot of extra $'s for Chipotle?  That could be a big $ suckage!  Classes are Monday through Friday but if they are lonely on the weekend they will want to come home and won't build an affinity towards the campus and thus won't progress towards graduation so maybe campus life is kind of important (and dang I sure would like to see Zedd for Homecoming).  But then again, it really is about learning so how connected are the faculty to their students, will Professor X really know who she is, and are there really great experiential learning opportunities beyond the classroom because that is what she really wants.  Study Abroad, should we be interested?  And then what is all this about Title IX, the Cleary Report, the Dear Colleague Letter; I thought this little college town seemed so safe?  Is safety really important?  Probably is and can I really believe those reports on the institution's web page?  Maybe I should be reading "College Confidential" blogs?  She wants to go far away to a sunny place for college, what are the hidden costs we don't now foresee like flights home over fall break?  And OMG, I live paycheck to paycheck but the Federal Government (FAFSA) thinks Shannon and I are doing fine and dandy and will have no problem signing $50K checks to good old Fancy U (google EFC)!

Oh wait, we have to get into these schools first!!!

S-A-F-E-T-Y, Safety DANCE!
That one with the great median mid-year income for graduates has a 30% acceptance rate.  With her grades and SAT she only has a 50/50 chance of getting in.  Can dance and Early Decision put her over the line.  Yes, Early Decision that big one chip gamble on the college of your dreams.  Early Decision, Early Action, Application Deadline to be considered for merit scholarship; so many strategies to consider.  We have come to understand and rue the tangled web of decisions needed in today's murky world of college applications.  If she doesn't get into her dream school what school can she get into that will make her happy and won't cost a ridiculous sum of money to a school with lesser cache!  It's one thing to lay out $65K to an Ivy League school but I ain't paying $65K/year just because they have a ropes course and Taco Tuesday on the Quad!  Although now that I think about it I would like to visit and enjoy that Lazy River myself, why didn't they have this stuff when I was in college!

Anyway, because of our life and lives this process, though stressful, has to a degree become a collage of our entire life.  We started off where Shannon and I first met and got to re-experience what we loved about that place.  We visited my Big State U.  We finished our long magical mystery tour two weekends ago at two schools that are in the heart of where our girls have come to love.  Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party was a way to put a smiling enjoyable exclamation point onto a somewhat scary, apprehensive process that in the end is what we've all been looking forward to for a long time.

Chipotle @Union but suitcase campus 
But as a parent this is very tough.  I have spent the last 17 years of my life trying to take care of this individual.  Now, as we face college, I understand that going forward for the rest of my life there will be more days I don't see her than days I do.  Though heartbreaking its also exhilarating to imagine what her life will become.

In the end all you can do is hope you've established firm ground for your kids to start life upon.  Dang, I am glad my younger one loves Big State U as much as I do and doesn't want to go anywhere else so we don't have to go through all this BS again.  I'm done!

"Tell everybody I'm on my way
and I'm loving every step I take.
With the sun beating down yes
I'm on my way
And I can't keep this smile off my face......"


Same sassy girl said...

Wow! What a process! You did an amazing job of capturing all the work and emotions and complications!

In my youth I didn't get in where I wanted to go, chose my alma mater for the wrong reasons, but looking back I am so happy I ended up where I did and it got me good jobs and fantastic friends for life!

Fingers crossed that it works out for her and you, and is way better than Ashley Madison!


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