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hokiefan
12-28-2009, 05:44 PM
My daughter has a problem. She's been accepted at all three places she applied, University of Georgia, Mercer University, and Georgia Southern. Her choices were UGa and Mercer (a particular honors program), with Georgia Southern a backup plan. The first two are distinctly better schools and she's been accepted early admission. She's earned the Hope Scholarship which pays tuition at UGa, we would have to pay room/board, etc. Not insignificant, but doable.

The problem (sort of) is that Georgia Southern is on a mission of upgrading their student body, so is offering nice scholarships to get better students. Bottom line, she got a full ride with a little spending money left over. So naturally she feels some pressure to take the money, but she doesn't want to go to this school.

I'm not asking you to make the decision obviously, but would welcome thoughts about things to consider and how to approach them while coming to a decision. And I'd really like this to be her decision in the end.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Bobby

rbgarr
12-28-2009, 05:47 PM
Where is the pressure to 'take the money' coming from?

John Turpin
12-28-2009, 06:16 PM
I'm going through that same process now with #1 and will do it again with #2 next year. At our house, we are starting with career goals and finding the schools that best facilitate those. Most schools are strong in some areas and weak in others.

What does she want to do and how do those three choices rank in her chosen field?

hokiefan
12-28-2009, 06:22 PM
Where is the pressure to 'take the money' coming from?

I was trying not to answer that one.:D There is some disagreement among the parents, lets put it that way. My first inclination is to tell her to pick the school she really wants and we'll make it work. I'm not winning yet. She's quite mature about money for a 17 year old and has some concept about how much we're talking about here.

She thinks she wants to be a lawyer at this point, and my guess is she will be a History major.

Cheers,

Bobby

botebum
12-28-2009, 06:47 PM
Thats an easy decision. She is more than welcomed to pay the difference by working parttime since she is mature enough to tell pop to spend money. :DI think you may have missed the jist of his statement(or I did). It sounded to me that her parents raised her to see the cost issues and she's leaning towards not putting that burden upon them.

Doug

bamamick
12-28-2009, 07:08 PM
Opinion #1? College is all about networking. At which school is she most likely to give herself the best chance to succeed after college? Is she going to pursue a post-grad degree? Would Georgia Southern give her an even chance to advance and get into the grad school of her choice?

My best friend's wife went to Georgia Southern for her Batchelor's. She has a couple of post-grad degrees from other schools, so apparently it didn't hold her back there, and as far as I have ever heard had a good experience in Statesboro.

Whichever school meets the criteria I laid out in the first paragraph, that's where I'd go.

Opinion #2? Expense matters. Whether you pay for it or she pays for it, school costs are a burden for most of us. My wife, kids, and I are paying over $1500 a month in student loans. Kid #1 had a full ride to a public university in-state, attended for one year, left to change majors, and graduated from a private school here in Mobile. Kid #2 attended three different schools and graduated from a state school in Montgomery. Kid #3 graduated from a private school in Montgomery. Kid #1 wound up owing about $35K upon graduation. Kid #2 about $7K, and Kid #3 about $20K so far, but she is bound for grad school.

That's not even that much on a national scale, but it's a chunk out of my boat funds I can tell you. Three of the proudest days of my whole life, but at a cost.

Georgia has it all over Alabama with the Hope Scholarship. So does Florida. So does Louisiana. So does Tennessee. Alabama and Mississippi are the only states in this neck o' the woods that doesn't allow the lottery and sometimes it seems that our kids (and their parents) pay the price. I don't understand Mississippi's take on it, considering casino gambling is more than alive and well in that state.

Mickey Lake

George Jung
12-28-2009, 07:35 PM
If you have a 'ringer', and as responsible as you say - I'd bite the bullet and encourage her to attend the best school available. Easy choice.

My twins (and you thought you were looking down the gun barrel) graduate this year, and we're in the thick of it, as well. First two attended a large, well known midwest University. I'm unimpressed at the 'support/counseling' they've provided. For #'s 3 and 4, we're looking at smaller, private. So far, admitted to all - but now we'll see how the money shakes out. I've already told them I'm reluctant to sell the other kidney or any other paired organs. But if they apply themselves diligently, with a goal in mind - I will help. Best investment you can make.

paladin
12-28-2009, 07:50 PM
If you're expecting her to make good decisions, tell her what you honestly think, then let her make the decision. If you think, honestly, that she would do better at one school over the other, say so, but let it be her decision. She has a good deal,
and an opportunity that many of us did not have. My folks wanted me to go to a trade school, they couldn't afford college.......I went into the military for the educational benefits, then came out and went to Berkeley.....best decision I could have made.

hokiefan
12-28-2009, 08:10 PM
If you're expecting her to make good decisions, tell her what you honestly think, then let her make the decision. If you think, honestly, that she would do better at one school over the other, say so, but let it be her decision. She has a good deal,
and an opportunity that many of us did not have. My folks wanted me to go to a trade school, they couldn't afford college.......I went into the military for the educational benefits, then came out and went to Berkeley.....best decision I could have made.

You're right Chuck, she has a good deal. Its a good problem to have. I know what I think, and if left "completely" up to her, thats the choice I believe she would make. She was basically set to go to UGa until the Southern scholarship complicated things. I'm looking for a way to put together a sound argument for giving her a way to make the best decision without feeling guilty. Yeah, I have a definite lean here. I'm confident she could get a good book education at any of the choices, but name recognition matters as does networking. May not be right, but thats the game. And there is no question that the competition is tougher at UGa than Southern.

Props for getting yourself through Berkeley. Thats a quality engineering degree, EE if I remember right.

Erster, congrats to your son for working for what he wants and pulling down some great grades. Thats not easy without the job. I sure didn't do it.

Cheers,

Bobby

Hwyl
12-28-2009, 08:21 PM
If you're expecting her to make good decisions, tell her what you honestly think, then let her make the decision. If you think, honestly, that she would do better at one school over the other, say so, but let it be her decision. She has a good deal,
and an opportunity that many of us did not have. My folks wanted me to go to a trade school, they couldn't afford college.......I went into the military for the educational benefits, then came out and went to Berkeley.....best decision I could have made.


You're right Chuck, she has a good deal. Its a good problem to have. I know what I think, and if left "completely" up to her, thats the choice I believe she would make. She was basically set to go to UGa until the Southern scholarship complicated things. I'm looking for a way to put together a sound argument for giving her a way to make the best decision without feeling guilty. Yeah, I have a definite lean here. I'm confident she could get a good book education at any of the choices, but name recognition matters as does networking. May not be right, but thats the game. And there is no question that the competition is tougher at UGa than Southern.

Props for getting yourself through Berkeley. Thats a quality engineering degree, EE if I remember right.

Erster, congrats to your son for working for what he wants and pulling down some great grades. Thats not easy without the job. I sure didn't do it.

Cheers,

Bobby

Everything needed is in these two quotes, my daughter ended up gettin a nearly free ride to a small private college with great name recognition. It was her choice, but I laid out why I thought certain parameters were important.

She's of to Sevilla for a semester abroad on the 13th. I sure wish the phone would ring with a nice delivery so I could put frosting on that cake for her.

brad9798
12-28-2009, 11:05 PM
Where on goes to school is about useless. WAY too much stock is put into that.

If you are going to make, then you are going to make it ...

Mostly, schools are silly, phony image/ego/pi$$ing matches ...

She can become what she wants REGARDLESS of a school name on a diploma!

Go with her/your gut ... not her/your ego!

Paul Girouard
12-28-2009, 11:11 PM
Where on goes to school is about useless. WAY too much stock is put into that.

If you are going to make, then you are going to make it ...




Where'd you go Brad? I think with those two sentences in your above quote, Hokie could rule your college OUT:D

brad9798
12-28-2009, 11:17 PM
I am glad you caught that ... most wouldn't!

;)

:D

Paul Pless
12-29-2009, 06:20 AM
Georgia's number 4 on Playboy's list of top party schools.

Go Bulldogs!:D

Evan Showell
12-29-2009, 08:11 AM
Bobby -- Your daughter has to ask why she is going to college? In the stone age, when I went, one of the reasons was to be exposed to folks way smarter than me. Not surprisingly, a good number of them were my classmates. Sounds like she could go to the school seeking to "upgrade" its student body and be one of the bigger fish in a smaller pond. Hopefully, the faculty will keep her on her toes, but the faculty doesn't generally participate in those 12:00 a.m. discussions in the dorm lounge from which one can learn a whole lot. Bright students do.

If she chooses the small pond, there is an immediate short term payoff -- i.e., no college debt -- but it will be limiting in the long term in terms of potential to open doors.

If she's going to college to learn, she should go to the most academically rigorous institutions she gets in to and should find a way to make the numbers work, especially if considering graduate schools. Harder to overcome a high GPA from a weaker school than a solid GPA from a much better one for grad school admissions purposes.

I could have gone to the "honors college" at the University of South Carolina for, in essence a free ride. I chose to pay a bit to go to the University of Chicago instead. I'm not sorry I did.

cookie
12-29-2009, 08:20 AM
She is probably a smart girl and she could get "bored" going to an "average" University, so if she has got the brains for a better University, go there. I found the University I went to a bit too easy. The only thing that made it sort of difficult was the vast amount of reading we had to do. On the other hand, this allowed for a nice and relaxed lifestyle, with enough spare time for going surfing and earning some extra money.
I think a very important thing is to look for good / the best teachers with real experience. There's a lot of knowledge in books, but the really good teachers can offer insights and show parallels that are rarely learned from a book. The good teachers can make difficult and boring stuff rather interesting.


Good luck!

Tom Hunter
12-29-2009, 08:34 AM
I can't tell anyone where they should go, and it sounds like everyone involved is diong the right thing.

A lot of the college experience comes down to your relationship with the professors. If she wants to make a well informed decision she could meet with some of them to get a feel for who she likes. That is a lot of work, even on the phone, but it will help her make the best decision.

Good luck to both of you. It's a great problem to have.

coelacanth2
12-29-2009, 08:34 AM
Can she negotiate a better deal with the better school? They may be willing to help a bit more if they know who's trying harder to attract her. Good luck... Igraduated in 85 and amstill paying one loan off. 19 3/4 0/0 will do that to you!

Mrleft8
12-29-2009, 09:41 AM
SG for a year while finances for the favored school are built up, then transfer, with hopes of a tasty transfer bonus.

openboater
12-29-2009, 09:51 AM
go to the free school.

buy her a house and car with the difference.

Bert Langley
12-29-2009, 10:14 AM
In some ways I am glad I did not know enough to really consider things when I choose a college. I got lucky with my choice of undergraduate and graduate schools.

A lot of things to consider, starting with your daughter and her personality. UGA is a large school, over 25k undergraduate enrollment. As a large SEC school it offers things that neither Southern nor Mercer can possibly match. I have long been of the opinion that for the most part undergraduate school is as much or more about experiences as it is about academics. At UGA your daughter will be "lost in the crowd". In particular her core courses will be taught in large group lectures. She will have to adjust to that atmosphere and provide her own motivation to succeed.

I am not that much of a sports fan, however NOTHING compares to football and all that goes with it at an SEC school. If she is at all interested in that social atmoshepre she will forever regret not attending UGA.

Georgia Southern is half the size of UGA. She will not be quite as lost in the crowd and will likely have more chance to network (hate that word, but it does seem to apply)with more people.

Mercer has only 2200 undergraduates. It would provide an opportunity to become much more known by her professors and other students.

You indicate she is interested possibly in law school. I will assume her grades will be good wherever she goes. The smaller schools will give her more chance to become involved in extracurricular activities AND make her professors (who will be writing recommendations) actually know her and be able to say good that are not just a generic letter of recommendation.

Good grades, extracurricular activities and good recommendations will let her get into law school no matter which of the schools she picks.

A problem with the really small schools like Mercer is that students often get labeled early. Your daughter could easily find out that she hates the idea of law school and wants to take up acting instead. At a larger school there is no pressure, at a really small school the peer pressure to not make radical changes is huge.

I went to a small state school (University of South Alabama) in the 70's. The teachers were superb and because at that time there was no graduate programs a dedicated undergraduate got experiences and opportunities that would not happen at a larger school. When I went to graduate school at Emory in Atlanta I found I was much more prepared and had much better experience that did students from some of the large "name" universities.

My wife went to a small college (Birmingham Southern) and then to graduate school at University of Georgia. To this day she REALLY regrets not going to UGA as an udergraduate. Her personality is such that she did not thrive on the attention she got at the small school and really missed both the anonymity
and social aspects of the larger SEC school.

All of these choices are good. The practical "old fart" side of me says go to Southern, get a good education and go to graduate school with no debt. However, many kids dream their whole lives of being a Georgia Bulldog. if she can fit in to that atmosphere that is where I would advise going.

Raka025
12-29-2009, 10:16 AM
I think fiscal responsibility today and not the hopes of an intangible in the future should be seriously considered. Being in debt limits ones choices in the future. You take a job you don't want and do things that don't enhance your life experiences. You pay interest which keeps the bankers happy and keep yourself in debt for life. If you don't personally have to take a loan or second mortgage to make it work, than invest the money you could spend into her account for graduate school or a home in the future. Than she could also work, get a 4.00 and be way ahead of the game.

Good intelligent people will find like minded individuals no matter which school they go to.

Evan Showell
12-29-2009, 10:33 AM
Erster's post has caused me to reconsider a bit. A part of your daughter's choice may involve where she thinks she may end up living and working as an adult. If all of the schools she is considering are known by prospective employers in the area, then chosing the better known school is probably not that important, unless one has an absolutely dud reputation. Also, my earlier comments are based on an era when private school tuitions were considerably less than what they are today. There'a a lot to be said for a free ride in today's economy where a college degree has, in essence, become the equivalent of a high school diploma in prior generations.

An alternative that has not been mentioned except tongue-in-cheek by Dougie is to try the big state school for the first year or two's core courses, get killer grades, then transfer to a more intimate college to finish out. May provide the best of both worlds and is one strategy to keep the college costs down.

The good news is, your daughter has done well enough to give herself some options. She deserves congratulations and continued support in whatever form you can provide.

brad9798
12-29-2009, 12:55 PM
Speaking of tuition ... just checked my school ... $30,940 plus room and board plus books.

Holy crap.

I guess I've been out of touch ... does that seem high?

Hell, that's over $40k per year, total!!

:eek:

Evan Showell
12-29-2009, 01:55 PM
Unfortunately Brad, that number does not seem high for a private school. I don't know how parents and kids do it today.

paladin
12-29-2009, 02:05 PM
I was in school full time carrying a lot more hours than required.....I got $440 a month on the G.I. bill......worked full time and supported myself.....and started building another boat. While in the military I was constantly studying through The U. Maryland....and finished my second year while in tech school...then the military sent me to school to finish up, extending my service time.....and I still had the G.I. Bill when I got out. Where there's a will there's a way......

George Jung
12-29-2009, 02:48 PM
I put myself through school, as well - but I'm not sure it would be as easy today. If you look at the inflation rate over the past thirty years, compared to the rate education costs have increased, there's a notable disconnect. Not saying it can't be done, but... it's different. As far as how one pays for private school, in our case it will come down to how much scholarships they will send my kids' way.

Mixed with all the personal stories is good advice, and insights. I'll be interested in what she decides.

bamamick
12-29-2009, 03:22 PM
Bert has a very good point for any kid thinking about college. My kids all graduated from Daphne High School near our home in Spanish Fort. About 3-4000 kids go to school there, or did in those days (Spanish Fort has it's own school now). When we took our youngest to Tuscaloosa to visit the campus she loved it, but then decided that 800-student Huntingdon College was more to her liking. The University of Alabama is pushing 28,000 students now, and for small town kids, even those who attended 4000 student high schools, it can be daunting.

Mickey Lake

hokiefan
12-29-2009, 04:57 PM
Yeah Brad, thats about right. Mercer, being private is in that range. They've offered some $$$ already, but that makes the price about the same as UGa and Georgia Southern. She's invited to a series of scholarship interviews there the end of January, but she won't know the results until after she has to let Southern know. Part of what makes a good decision hard. Just like real life, you don't always have all the information you need when the decision has to be made.

Not really stated in all of my above comments is the fact that I want both kids to get out of undergraduate school with no debt. If she wants to be a lawyer she'll be able to pay for law school. But I'm committed to getting them to that point. I think we have enough saved to make it work without taking on significant debt ourselves. Thats really the disagreement between the parents, she's not as comfortable with that as I am.

Its really interesting. At the scholarship day at Southern they put on the hard sell for these kids and their parents. They touted how they were a big school with a small school feel, and they went out of their way to make sure the students had the help and support to succeed. I was surprised that my daughter was a little put off by that. She basically said that by that point you should have figured out how to get it done including taking yourself to get the help you need from a teacher. She thinks she's good enough to compete anywhere, time will tell.

Virginia Tech was very different from this. They told us upfront that there was more help there than we could possibly ever need, but we had to act like grownups and get what we needed. If the students didn't take care of their own business, Tech had no problem flunking them out. I eventually managed to figure it out, but there was no one chasing me down while I was trying to flunk out. I grew up in a dinky little town, about 7000 people. Everyone knew everything about everyone. Being able to be anonymous at a large school was very appealing to me. We're all different in this regard.

Had an argument with my wife about this subject (among others) this afternoon.:( While the argument was unfortunate, I think we are closer to agreement on this subject than I originally feared. Certainly not because I'm persuasive, mind you. The fact that we've been through one job loss in recent years and the economy sucks right now weigh on the matter. Time will tell how things work out. The kid does have good options in the end.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. There is no one "answer" to a dilema like this, but the diverse viewpoints help frame the matter.

Cheers,

Bobby

brad9798
12-29-2009, 06:34 PM
I've been thinking about this ...

Hell, Harvard is only about $36k undergrad.

Seriously, how do 90% of folks afford this crap these days?

Thank goodness I had no student loans or anything like that ... but I went on a 100% academic scholarship .... I'm sure that made my parents happy.

But seriously ... college is really becoming a joke ... in fact, I wasted three and a half years at a top university earning two degrees when I could have been out building my business. :mad:

If I had it to do all over again, I would have skipped college. NO JOKE!

hokiefan
05-23-2010, 05:43 PM
Well two bits of info to update this old thread. First, she graduated from High School this afternoon. A really sweet day for her, with some reminders of old memories and friends for me. There were smiles, tears, hugs, and "omg we made it!" from the kids. Really neat to watch.

Second is she decided to go to Georgia Southern. She went up there to visit the week before the deadline. The Honor's Program set her up with a roomie in the dorm and let her attend several classes. Then she was set up to meet some of the faculty she might have. She came away impressed and comfortable with Southern. So we now have an Eagle amongst us.

To all others whose kids are graduating from high school, college, whatever; congratulations to you and your kids.

Cheers,

Bobby

Oh, by the way, thanks for everyone's input here.

Joe Dupere
05-23-2010, 06:06 PM
I used to work in a financial aid office at a state university and over the course of twenty years I saw average student loan debts increase from less than 5K for a four year degree to nearly 22k for the same degree. I have put three kids through school, two at public universities, one at a private school, and we're working on the fourth one right now(also at a private school). From my personal perspective, the best thing she could do for herself is to graduate as debt free as possible. Especially if she's thinking of going off to grad school, where the opportunities for a free ride are less likely.

One thing you might want to do is look at a student loan payment calculator, there's one here http://www.finaid.org/calculators/scripts/loanpayments.cgi
that's pretty easy to use. You can expect grad school student loans for law school to run anywhere from 80k to 120k.

But, ymmv.

Joe, FFPoP

ishmael
05-23-2010, 06:38 PM
Interesting topic. I was expected to go to a four year college, but I'm not at all clear I was well served there. I think, if I were advising a young person graduating highschool, I'd advise them to take some classes in their area of interest at a local community college. People don't really know what they want at eighteen, and to push them isn't right.

Don't get me wrong, I got a pretty decent liberal arts education at the insistence of my mother, and I respect it. I went on, after working a bunch of years, to be a carpenter. Who makes this stuff up?

hokiefan
05-23-2010, 06:52 PM
Interesting topic. I was expected to go to a four year college, but I'm not at all clear I was well served there. I think, if I were advising a young person graduating highschool, I'd advise them to take some classes in their area of interest at a local community college. People don't really know what they want at eighteen, and to push them isn't right.

Don't get me wrong, I got a pretty decent liberal arts education at the insistence of my mother, and I respect it. I went on, after working a bunch of years, to be a carpenter. Who makes this stuff up?

While I understand where you're coming from and agree to a certain extent, there is a stark contrast between the unemployment rate (and the median salary) of college graduates and high school graduates. Its not all about money, but you have to be able to eat and sleep in a warm place before you can worry to much about what it is you "really" want to do.

I would not advise any kid not to go to college if they had the means to do so without getting buried in debt. My $0.02 for what its worth.

Cheers,

Bobby

BrianY
05-24-2010, 09:46 AM
If she wants to pursue a career path that does not involve/require going to graduate school, then she should go to the school with the best reputation because her future employers will be looking to hire her right out of college.

If, however, she wants to or needs to go to graduate school to law school before she starts her career, it proably doesn't matter what school she goes to as long as she does well. Getting in to a prestigious grad school is a lot easier than getting in to an prestigious undergrad program. If you've got decent grades and the money to pay for it, you can get into pretty much any grad school because colleges treat the grad programs as money makers (grad students cost the insitiutions much less than undergrads and the scholarship rate is much much lower).

If she goes to the "lesser" school and is a standout in academics and actvities, she'll get into the grad school of her choice.

Kaa
05-24-2010, 10:04 AM
I am a firm believer in getting the best education possible.

It's much easier to pay back student loans than to go again to a better college :-)

Kaa

blindbrook
05-24-2010, 11:15 AM
I attended the graduation of my third over the weekend. They have all gone in different directions through this process While I don't have an informed view about the schools in question, my oldest was confronted with the same choice. She bought in to the building story and was part of the most qualified class the up and coming school had ever assembled. The problem, however, was that the president who had quarterbacked this surge departed the next year for greener pastures. The school lost its momentum.
My takeaways,
1)Let her make the decision. The process can be a hudge learning experience and you can avoid being blamed for the decision.
2)I agree that the cold rational approach would suggest that if she decides to stay local, reputatiopn and peer group are all important.
3)Ignore #2. The process almost always works out. Let her make up her own mind. If she makes a mistake she can have another learning process through the transfer decision. Ultimately, don't overthink, just go with feels right.