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College 09

I can't believe how long it has been since I have done a blog entry. Time flies when you are having fun, or you are so confused that your head is spinning! I wish that I had something funny or entertaining to write about, but I don't. This is what my life has revolved around these past few months. We have done 2nd visits to the 4 places Jordan was seriously considering - Syracuse, Penn State, Pitt and Boston University (this was a first visit and only Jordan & Joe made a quick visit to BU). Between these visits and being at a Conference all of this past week, I feel like I haven't been home in a long time. Tuition Deposits are due on May 1st and Jordan is still waffling between Penn State and BU! I feel a little awkward about sharing my feelings/thoughts here. Quite frankly, I hope that putting this in writing will help me get my arms around how to help Jordan make a decision that is best for him.

Of course our major considerations include Academics, Money and "Fit".

Jordan ruled out Syracuse because of the weather and the City itself - very industrial, not a downtown to speak of, and really nowhere to go other than the campus itself "Mom, really 130" of snow is ridiculous". He loved Pittsburgh and the campus of Pitt, but was not impressed by the presentation from the College of Business Administration and thought that they placed greater emphasis on their MBA program - "All of their new technology and the Trading Room is in the Graduate School Building" This was really disappointing to him as he really wanted to be in a city and he loved Pittsburgh (and to me, as I was looking forward to meeting fellow ST member, Amy whose son will go to Pitt).

Of course Jordan loved Boston - "Mom it is such an awesome city". He also loved the presentation by the CBA and really liked some of the kids he met on the tour. He is concerned about the distance from home (6 -7 hrs) and the cost.

Jordan also loves Penn State and State College,Pa. He liked what he heard about the CBA and he loved the feel and spirit of this college town. State College is not new to us. We are are Penn State Football fans. Over the years we have spent much time there for Swim Championships. Many of our relatives and friends are Penn State Grads. While he loves the college town, Jordan is concerned that "it is not a city and is in the middle of nowhere" He is worried that he will not meet enough friends who will share his value of diversity or his liberal thinking.

Tuition. BU is double the cost of Penn State. However, with Scholarships and grants, the cost will be roughly the same for the first year. This is because we will have two kids in college next year. Once Adam graduates next year we will lose that advantage. Though we think that he will go to Grad School, this is not taken into consideration for Financial Aid. BU told us that, on average, we could count on a $6000.00 decrease in grants/scholarship money in subsequent years.

Academics - for what rankings are worth, the College of Business Administration at BU and Penn State are ranked similarly. Actually, Penn State is ranked a couple of points higher.

Jordan admits that the reality of leaving his best friends is hitting him, though he says that he realizes that he will make new friends and that he will always stay close to his 3 best friends. He has 3 friends going to BU and 3 friends going to Penn State. Like a typical 18 year old, Jordan is concerned that whichever he chooses, "I will be disappointing one group". While I acknowledged the importance of his friends,I reminded him that he couldn't make a decision based on his friends. In his heart he knows this.

We have told Jordan that we will respect whatever decision he makes, and that together we will find a way to make it work. We also reminded him that in life, he will meet a lot of people who do not share his views. He went to a very small high school and is considering 2 very large universities. There will be people at both universities who do not share his views. College presents a great opportunity for learning how to deal with opposing viewpoints on a personal level which will be helpful to him as a professional in the future. He sort of grunted at me this morning, but I know that he heard me.

I am really cynical about the whole college selection/admission process. The cost of higher education is outrageous. The Admissions Office at most schools are quite skilled at putting their best foot forward. Every college/university is ranked highly by someone, every campus is safe, and every campus is fun! Are 18 year olds really ready to declare a major?

So, I am at home fretting. The Masterman Blue Dragons won an important Volleyball Game today and remain undefeated. Jordan is at the Soph Hop tonight. In two weeks he will go to the Jr. Prom,and at the end of the month he will go to the Sr. Prom. All is right with the world. This week, Jordan will make a decision (Me, I went to Penn State because my friend Bernadette went there).

What do I want? I want my kid to be happy, and some day I would like to retire.

Comments (9)

Oh Sheri, choosing a college can be such a hard decision.And with the high tuition and the economy right now, it is even harder.
I am very impressed at how you are handling the situation, and letting your kid know that you will respect his decision now matter what.
Good luck to you and Jordan.

nancyhol:

Wow, Sheri, you have really been busy with the college visits and assisting your son in analyzing the options open to him.

You are right - college education carries an outrageous price.

I hope Jordan can make an informed decision SOON so you can relax!

Amy:

Know that if Jordan chooses BU, he has a "home away from home" six miles up Comm Ave!

So many factors for these kids to deal with. I think that in the end, they make for themselves the friends and learning environment they need, wherever they happen to end up. And I agree, the selection process, and especially the financial aid industry is out of line with reality, especially for families where the cost of living is much higher than elsewhere.

sheri:

Thank you Candi,Nancy and Amy for your words of support. I really appreciate them as it is a stressful time. Amy, your thoughts & offer of a Home Away from Home is really comforting. I am struggling with sending the "baby" off to college :), although I am excited for him

It's such an exciting but also stressful time. I went to a small high school and then a big university, and I really liked the change. Best of luck to Jordan with the decision and hang in there!

sheri:

Thanks, Annie!

Marcia:

This all takes me back, and I have a lot of empathy for you and your son as he wrestles with this decision. Sounds like there is no "wrong" choice, and I know that as much as you will miss him, it's all ok in the end. Just getting through this last week before the May 1 deadline is hard enough. Good luck.

sheri:

Thanks,Marcia. It sounds like you really do understand. May 1st will come, and I will survive this like millions before me!

Wow, this really sounds like a tough decision. Both schools have a lot of positives. I can't believe how much the tuition has skyrocketed. I can see how you would be so concerned.

Jordan is lucky to have you as a mom. You have been very supportive, helping him make this decision. Hang in there! May 1st is right around the corner.

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