My son, a high school sophomore, had been getting a lot of college invitations for Early Decision admission. Some of them are from great schools like Notre Dame, NYU, Duke, Miami U, St. John's, and University of Tampa (but I do not know if we can afford these). Some are from good colleges like Florida State U, University of Florida, U of South Florida, Jacksonville U, Xavier, St. Louis, and Rochester (we can afford these but I want him make his own selection without the cost restriction). What a dilemma!
The kid is busting his rear to get into a good college. The invitations for Early Decision were a product of his freshman's PSAT score and good GPA. He has enough extracurricular activities as is but he signed up to be a candy striper at a local hospital and joined HOSA (a student association for those wishing to pursue a degree in medicine and allied health occupations) this year. His team won the HOSA competition in January and they are going to the regional competition next month. He is on the Honors track and will be taking enough AP and dual enrolment classes during his junior and senior year to qualify for an AA degree out of high school.
He told us a few months ago that he wants to explore Medicine as a career. Of course we were supportive and proud of his decision. We talked to him about the commitment needed to pursue an MD degree. He said he just want to explore the possibility for now to see if the job will suit him. We also told him that it will cost a lot of money to go the Med school. He said that he interviewed some of his friend's parents who are Doctors and was told to just apply because if the colleges really want him, they will work out the cost difference with private scholarships and financial aid.
We told him to pick out ten colleges for now and send back the Early Decision applications by the due date (most are for June 2007 through February 2008). From there, he can pick three of those with great financial aid packages. He said the three he wants to get into are Notre Dame, NYU and UT (top shelf but also expensive!).
We are encouraging him to look into colleges and universities that are not too far from home and affordable. We want to see him as often as possible when he goes to college. We also do not want him and us to be burdened by student loans for eternity. He agreed to give nearby and affordable colleges a look if his first, second and third choices proved to be unattainable.
I am in denial. I only have three more years with this child in our home. Well, I am really stretching that, hoping he will not leave until after the summer of his high school senior year. He is the last child to leave home. The nest will be empty soon.
I think the dilemma is not about being able to afford the college he wants to go to or the possibility of him getting rejected by his chosen school. I believe I am freaking out because these Early Decision applications are reminders of the future. I will have to let my son go, SOON.