|By Roger (Roger) on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 12:26 pm: Edit|
In another discussion, a parent posted that she and her husband had established a maximum radius for their son's college search. I think it was 5 hours by car, or maybe 500 miles. If you drive like I do, those may not be all that different... ;-)
Response from parents and students ranged from outrage that they would so limit their son's education opportunities to agreement that this was a common-sense approach.
What do our College Confidential parents think about this?
|By California Mom on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 03:06 am: Edit|
I think the kids should go where they want to go.
Actually, it is eerie how "close" I am to my son in New York. The Instant Messenger Buddy List notifies me immediately when my son logs on and off from the internet. We have the same kind of trivial IM conversations that we might have at home, sending each other reminders or telling jokes. There isn't even hello or goodbye, the IM's from him always start with, "Mom?" The hardest thing for me has been to learn to ignore the Buddy List and stop pestering him -- just because he's online doesn't mean I have to talk to him.
Anyway, I guess if parents want their kids geographically close by, that's fine -- but it doesn't bother me to have my son on the other coast. There are many advantages -- he does his own laundry, for one thing.
I think it's kind of cool, actually. Not many kids around here go out of state to college, so it's kind of special to have a kid "out East".
|By Dadster on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 09:04 am: Edit|
I agree, California Mom. Who knows where a kid's interests will take him or her? The college location may be a key part of the education process. There are plenty of schools that offer quite unique learning opportunities or environments that simply aren't duplicated at other colleges.
I think there's quite a bit of value in being in a totally different environment - going from New England to the Southwest, Midwest to East Coast, etc. The people, the climate, the whole environment will enrich the student's experience.
|By GMom on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 08:30 pm: Edit|
My husband and I set a limit of about four hours driving time when our son was looking at schools last year. We wanted to be sure he could come home without lots of expense, and that we could visit for things like parents weekends and other events. He ended up about two hours away and is very happy. We have seen him three times already this fall, and will be going for parents weekend next week. He can even save some money on laundry by bringing it home with him.
|By California Mom on Saturday, October 06, 2001 - 09:41 pm: Edit|
Just curious -
(1) what part of the country do you live in?
(2) was your limit just a general rule-of-thumb, or was it absolute? That is, if hypothetically your son had been offered a unique opportunity (such as a full scholarship) at a college thousands of miles away, and he wanted to got there, would you have allowed him to go?
|By GMom on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 10:53 am: Edit|
Hi, California Mom. We are in the Northeast, where there are lots of different kinds of colleges pretty close to us. I can understand that setting a limit would be a problem if we were in the middle of Idaho or something, but with the choices around here I can't understand why families see the need to send their kids so far away.
I don't know how to answer your second question. Since we set the distance limit before we started looking at colleges, he didn't apply anywhere far away, and wouldn't have gotten any scholarships. I guess if some incredible offer had come in out of the blue we would have had to look at it and figure out if the savings were worth it. It would be difficult, though, if we couldn't see each other except maybe for Thanksgiving and Xmas. California would have been out anyway because of earthquakes.
|By California Mom on Sunday, October 07, 2001 - 11:53 pm: Edit|
I can't understand why families see the
need to send their kids so far away.
I don't it's the "families" that make that decision, I think it's a matter of where the student wants to go.
My son's inclination was to stay on the west coast, but he liked the offer he got from Sarah Lawrence the best and now that he's there it obviously is opening up a whole new world for him. Culturally and socially living on the east coast is a different experience. The students in his apartment come from all over. I know that there are two guys from Texas, and his R.A. is Hawaiian.
|By GMom on Monday, October 15, 2001 - 01:34 pm: Edit|
"I think it's a matter of where the student wants to go"
I have a few problems with that statement. I think the student's wishes are certainly important, but I don't think that all 18 year olds are mature enough to make that decision on their own.
Also, don't forget who is no doubt paying for most of the cost - the parents. If the kid is paying his own way, he can go wherever he wants.
I don't think that parents should force a student to attend a school that he doesn't want to, but I think that they should be participants in the decision.
|By California Mom (Calmom) on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 12:59 am: Edit|
I was responding to your comment about "why families see the need to send their kids so far away". In my family, the decision was entirely my son's, limited only by whether or not the college offered sufficient financial aid.
He had a specific idea about what kind of college he wanted to attend, and he chose one that fits his ideal. His college offers a unique approach that isn't duplicated anywhere else in the U.S., but is almost exactly what he told me he wanted from a college long before he even began to do his research and make his choices.
I don't know about other 18 year olds, but I feel that my son is an adult and makes good decisions. The choice of college is one of the most important he will make in his life, and so I feel comfortable giving him free rein to make the choice he feels is best for him.
I am not questioning your choices, but I don't think when kids travel far away to college that it's a parent's "need" being fulfilled. It's a matter of parents who are willing to allow their sons or daughters to make that choice without imposing constraints.
If you feel that the fact that you are paying most of the cost means that you are entitled to impose some limits, that's your privilege. I don't happen to feel that way in relation to my son.
I do feel like I was a participant in my son's decision - he repeatedly asked my advice and thoughts every way of the process, and I felt flattered and happy that he valued my opinion. But in the end, the choice was his.
|By Dadster on Tuesday, October 16, 2001 - 02:31 pm: Edit|
Sounds like it's time to cut the apron strings, GMom. I've always viewed the college selection process as the first major decision made exclusively by the kid, and the beginning of college as the time when the kid starts to make his/her own decisions about how late to stay out at night, how much (or little) to drink, etc.
Yes, we are paying for most of the expense of college, but it's the kid's decision IMO. We can advise and suggest, but not decide...
|By GMom on Tuesday, October 23, 2001 - 09:56 am: Edit|
We have seen kids make some really poor choices. One bright young girl, the daughter of friends of ours, was accepted to some really good colleges. She ended up going to a mediocre local school to be near her boyfriend. What happened? You guessed it... They broke up after her freshman year. The girl decided transferring would be too much of a hassle - she'll earn a degree, but she missed the experience of living away from home and going to a school with a national reputation.
Another kid we know that had some pretty good options decided he wanted to go to Florida and attend a school with a reputation as a party school. He must have enjoyed himself, because he had straight F's his first semester.
I think that if the parents exercised a little more control in choosing the colleges, both of these situations might have had better outcomes.
|By GFI on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 12:26 pm: Edit|
Just because some kids make really stupid choices doesn't mean your kid isn't mature enough to decide for himself, Gmom.
|By California Mom (Calmom) on Friday, October 26, 2001 - 05:19 pm: Edit|
I'll come to GMom's defense here. I kind of started this, mainly out of curiousity and the fact that I do like to discuss and explore different points of view. I disagree with GMom when it comes to my own family, but I don't know GMom and I don't know her son, so I really don't think we can tell her what choices she and her family should be making.
It doesn't sound like GMom's son objected to her limit in any case. That's one reason why I asked where she lived. A 4-hour time limit can offer a tremendous range of choices in the Northeast. Maybe her son wants to be close enough to home for frequent visits. Sometimes parents make rules or set limits that are easy to stick by because the kids like those rules.
Let's keep on discussing the issue in general, but stay away from attacking each other's choices. We can learn more from each other by respecting that we have different approaches and ideas.
Also, you have to face the reality that kids do show different levels of maturity and ability to exercise good judgment. I don't know about hard and fast rules after the age of 18 -- they're hard to enforce -- but I think parental guidance stays in the picture at some level for as long as our grown children are willing to listen to us and respect our wishes.
I don't mean to suggest that GMom's son is less emotionally mature than others, just that GMom is in a far better position to make that determination. If her son is really mature and he wants to extend his boundaries, then he'll also know how to approach his mom and discuss what he wants.
|By GFI on Tuesday, October 30, 2001 - 10:35 pm: Edit|
To me, it's a basic philosophical question: does the kid decide with input from the parents, or do the parents decide after taking into account the kid's preferences? I favor the former.
I don't want the responsibility to make this decision for my kid, any more than I would want to choose his career. This is a life decision that each kid has to make.
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