Back to school and planning for college!

Yesterday was a flurry of activity at our house. Rowan started 7th grade and Liam is now a Senior (where does the time go?) Neither of them really wanted to go back to school, but when they came home they reported that it was nice to see their friends, and even if they won’t own up to it, I think they enjoyed having something that they actually had to do. (Definitely no more, “I’m bored, what can I do?” moments).

College is only a year away and we are behind in the planning!

Like many Seniors out there, Liam is having a hard time deciding what he wants to do with his life. I always knew I wanted to go to college, and even though my major changed it was always going to be in the science field. With Liam I am not sure what to do. He has such an interest in making his own music, but he says that isn’t what he wants to focus on. What he does want to major in is yet to be decided.

However, he didn’t realize that he could be undeclared. He thought before he could apply he needed to have that all figured out. (Think about how many fewer students there would be in those intro classes). 

As a parent, we are looking at this transition into college in a very linear form.

  1. Pick a college(s)
  2. Go visit
  3. Apply
  4. Figure out student loans
  5. Try to get grants and scholarships
  6. Move him into the dorms
  7. My kid is in College!

Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them.

Laurence J. Peter

Liam’s view of college planning

Tom and I are busy looking at the process to get him into college and not the emotional side.  We have tried to sit down with him to get him to at least start thinking about what type of college he would like to attend.

  1. Is it in a city or suburb
  2. Large student population/class size or smaller
  3. Near home or away

Until yesterday, he was all set to get the heck out of Minnesota, he said I want to be by the ocean, on the east coast, somewhere warm and not a big city. We had found several colleges in North Carolina and South Carolina that might be a good fit and he was interested in them. Until hurricane Dorian.

Deciding to stay around home

Last night we talked about setting up a trip to go visit some of the campuses. He said “I think I might stick around home”. When asked why he said:

  1. I would have to find a new job and I wouldn’t know anything about where to get a job.
  2. I looked online at the schools you suggested and they didn’t seem like a good fit for me. (One he thought looked more like a summer camp. I don’t know about you, but sign me up!)

That was it. While we respect his decisions we both think that it has more to do with the hurricane. He doesn’t know anything about them except for what he sees on the news and I am sure he is wondering what would happen to him if he was there. He knows how to deal with snow-storms and tornadoes, but having to evacuate and go somewhere else? Not a clue! 

I know he would work it out and we would help him, but this is something that has become a stopping point for him. (Darn it! We were looking forward to having winter vacations wherever he ended up! Guess we will keep the mittens and coats.)

What’s Next?

  1. Liam needs to pick a few colleges. I found this link that has a great 10 step process/questions to help focus his search.
  2. Once he has some selected, then it is time to go on a visit. This link has a great check-list.
  3. After the visit, completing this form will help to rank and narrow down the priorities
  4. Then it is time to apply to the top choices. Here is a great overview of what things are needed and how to work through the application process.

I hope that someone has some suggestions on how to help simplify the process. Let us know what has worked for you!

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