Choosing the Right University with your Child

JMJ131  *Ultimately, it is your child’s decision as to where they will attend university.  If your child is wise enough to will listen to your advice and ponder it, then give them your words of wisdom.  And then… let go and support their decision.  

Ring the School Bell 131/180 Days

Here is the update on universities which Sabrina, my high school senior, is considering attending.

Loyola Marymount University is supposed to send their financial aid package to Sabrina within the next few weeks.  Admitted students day is on the calendar, a day filled with inspirational speakers, good food, in the hopes that prospective students will, of course, select LMU as their school of choice.

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She is on the waitlist at Pepperdine University, the school in beautiful Malibu.  Waitlisted sounds hopeful, but after doing a little research, we learned that apparently nobody has been accepted off of the waitlist for 2 years.   Apparently, everyone who receives an admit letter from there, decides to go, which stands to reason, in dreamy Malibu.  (Of course, it is also an excellent academic institution!)

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Mount St Mary’s, in lovely Brentwood, sent her a T-shirt and an invitation to the Merit Scholarship Luncheon at their Doheny campus downtown, which takes place before the admitted students day in April.  She is really hoping for a good music scholarship from there as well as other state aid.  We are keeping our fingers crossed.

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We haven’t heard from UCLA or USC yet.  Should be any day now.  UCLA did not admit her to the music program, but may admit her through another department.

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Still waiting for Sabrina’s audition results at California State University Northridge.

I believe Sabrina is as ready as she will ever be for university.  She has taken a handful of college classes at the local community college, which has made her realize that university-level classes are a bit more rigorous than her mom-designed homeschool classes.   She also has had great teachers in high school, and continues to have a passion for learning.

Now it is time to choose the right university.  Being blessed with a daughter who respects my opinion, we are in this together.  Ultimately, it is her decision, where she will attend, but she is listening to my input.  I do not take that for granted at all.

Her are a selected number of factors to consider when selecting a university, after you and your child have done all of the necessary research and, hopefully, visited each campus to get a feel of the university environment:

  1. There is nothing wrong, as a parent, to suggest a radius of acceptable distance to a university. My sister, Ellen, for example, informed her children that she would help finance their educations as long as they stayed in her home state of Indiana.  She wanted to be able to make day trips to and from the universities of their choosing.  You are the parent.  If this is important to you, then voice it.  Ellen’s son chose Notre Dame, and her daughters chose Ball State in Muncie, Indiana.  They are receiving excellent educations, mom can affordably visit, and all is well. Maybe you have other parameters.  This is the time to let them be known to your children.
  2. Of course, if your child knows from the get-go what area of study they wish to pursue, make certain that the university is a good match that way. Mount St. Mary’s, for instance, has only a handful of students in their music department, and Sabrina would be the only piano major.  The school is very excited to possibly have a piano major amongst them, that could serenade performance and religious occasions, but would this really be a good match if Sabrina decides to pursue studies in music? Probably not!
  3. Take a look at the financial aid package which each school has to offer. The perfect-sounding university may not be affordable, and could strap your child with 30 years of school debt.  This is a tough one, because feelings may run very deep for a particular school, but sometimes a school may not be a financially wise choice, especially if a comparable education can be found at a different university who offers a full scholarship!  Pepperdine University, for instance, set in the coastal Malibu hills, would run at least $60,000 a year in tuition, if no scholarships were awarded. Try to be as objective as possible, taking into account your child’s feelings, but offering solid advice about the finances.  Remind your child that getting a degree is the ultimate goal here, and that degree holds relatively the same value wherever he decides to attend.
  4. Does the college offer clubs, organizations, and extra-curricular activities that are important to your child?  For example, if she is Roman Catholic and wants to connect with others of her same religion, is their a church on or near campus that would fulfill this need?  If she is an archery buff, is there an archery club?  Of course, you could always start a club, but it may take a while to build the membership.
  5. Ultimately, it is your child’s decision as to where they will attend university.  If your child is wise enough to will listen to your advice and ponder it, then give them your words of wisdom.  And then… let go and support their decision.

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** Note to the Reader- Today’s narrative is an excerpt of our family’s school journey from a few years ago, during my eldest daughter’s senior year in high school, a rather emotional year, with its many ups and downs.

May God shower blessings on your family as he has on mine.    Annette

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Sarah

 

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