Sunday, February 25, 2007

Reality Check

"The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant--and let the air out of the tires."
                              Dorothy Parker , US author, humorist, poet, & wit
Dilemma, dilemma!
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.


oceanmrc said...

Relax!!!  (And congrats to your son on his excellent work!)

First of all, he doesn't apply until the fall of his senior year.  He's getting all that stuff now because of his GPA and scores, that's all.  The college admissions office computers don't know he's only a sophomore. Early decision just means that you apply early in your senior year and you hear in December instead of late spring.  Also when you apply ED, you are making a committment to go there if they admit you. If they admit you, you have to go there and withdraw all your other apps.  (You can only apply to one ED school, though you can apply to others at the sometime.) If they don't, then you send in all your other apps.  ED is different from Early Action, where you also apply and hear early but are not committed until the usual May 1 date.

Also, you have plenty of time to check out the money stuff.  If his scores and grades stay high, he will have a shot a merit scholarships from small LACs and his own state universities and also schools a range down from his highest set of choices that will be eager to have him.  Ivy League and similar schools do not offer merit scholarships; they will only give him $$ if he qualifies for financial aid.  ED is usually not considered a good option if you need financial aid, since you have to make a committment months before you know what the aid package will be or even IF it will be.

Been through this 3x; let me know if you have questions and also go to and get on the discusssion boards.

jibaro6543 said...

OMG...I know exactly how you feel...I am in the same boat....mine is  a junior...the only difference is she has chosen a school she likes that is in resident rates are the sound of your son's achievements...he will qualify for every scholarship out there...there are specific ones also just for florida schools....tell him to start in state and he can always go out of state for his bachelor's...that should open others opportunities in scholarships that come from medical programs....but I am also stretching my time with my daughter...she wants to go go go and I want her to stay stay stay....
I am still not over the boys leaving....I really have to get a life of my
take care

my78novata said...

OH man I kno wwhat you mean Love that quote above. You know that really it i shard to let them go and out on thier own. Of course now days they come around and abck very often. I sure hope you get some peace on your decision. Father bless them with peace and wisdome and give them clear answers AMEN

klconard1 said...

(((((((((Hugs dear)))))))))) that empty nest can be a scary thing looming up, I know.  And what a wonderful dilemma to have a great kid who is smart and has lots of options for a good education!  I know the money is a scary thought too, but believe me, if he is meant to be a doctor (and how wonderful that would be), the financing will be there.  I am sure with a mom like you, he will succeed in his chosen field.
And don't forget, though life changes when the nest gets empty, it is still good and worthwhile.
loving you

am4039 said...

It's so hard to have all your children leave. My oldest daughter who will be 21 in July doesn't live here. On the weekends. I have my twins who are 16 and I know in a few years they will be gone. How sad. I guess they have to grow up.

barbpinion said...

I'm certain you're right, hon, and it is very hard letting our children go. I know. Each time one of mine moved out it seemed I aged overnight. lol
Things changed but what remained- grew stronger actually, was the love between us all. MOving out seemed to help our children appreciate us more. They looked forward to their home visits as much as we did. It will be very hard for you when your house is empty, but just remind yourself that periodically it's wall will ring with your son's laughter again. It helps.
Hugs, love & prayers

springangel235 said...

I know how you feel, sending off my two kids years ago, now my oldest is tough.  The choices made, will be the best for your son...he will do well...and so will you...many hugs and love,

fasttrack58 said...

You should be very proud of your son! I never thought I would have 'empty nest syndrom' but now that my oldest has moved out and my youngest is in kindergarten, I feel my heart strings tugging... lol...
Big hugs!
Linda :)

tkelliher617 said...

How hard it must be to let your baby go out into the world.  But you should be so proud he has a good head on his shoulders and sounds he will do great in what ever he decided to become.  Im sure he will be able to get financial help if he chooses a more expensive school, as long as he weighs all the pro's and cons.  Will he make more money if he goes to a fancier school, will the education be better?  You still have 3 more years though so I hope it goes slow for your sake.