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.