Parents of College Class of 2018 (A.K.A., "Is this the line to the poor house?")

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by Gina, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. Gina

    Gina Remembers the Great DIS Board Crash of '99

    Aug 16, 1999
    Did a search but didn't see a thread, so here I am. :wave:

    I love our marching band parent thread -- it has always been so supportive and helpful and interesting -- and would love to see a thread for us parents of kids working on this whole aiming-for-college thing!

    My DS just turned 17. He has known he wants to be an engineer for a good while now, and wants to be at Texas A&M @ Galveston for their Marine Engineering program. We're both ocean nuts anyway, and when he found out that the program is mechanical + electrical engineering, focused on the ocean, that was it. Spending a week at engineering Sea Camp there last summer cemented it for him.

    But I swear I learn (and stress out about) new stuff every day! He took the SAT a year ago and did well, and then I just recently found out that you can get more merit aid the higher your test scores are. (And every aid dollar is going to be critical!) So now we're trying to decide if he should take the SAT one more time in an attempt to raise it a bit, or give the ACT a try since it's more math/science oriented. We head back to the school at the end of this month anyway, so I think I'm going to ask the adcoms and finaid people which they prefer/what would be best.

    Anyways, that's where we are. Looking forward to hearing about your and your Juniors' college-planning journeys so far! :goodvibes

  2. Ilivetogo

    Ilivetogo I really DO want to live there!

    Sep 25, 2008
    My DD went back and took her SAT again just to see if she could get a better grade. The nice part is that they take the better grade from either one. So they give you the credit for the higher one ultimately. Nice! Anyway, ended up she did a little better on one part 2nd time around, and so her score went up a bit.

    Good luck!

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  4. SpecialK

    SpecialK DIS Veteran

    Nov 6, 2003
    I've got a junior and a freshman, both boys. My junior is interested in chemical engineering but has no idea where he wants to go. He's considering getting his general science courses out of the way at he local community college and transferring in as a junior.

    Someone on the 2013 parents' thread suggested looking at the common data set for the colleges that were on the short list, and that has proved invaluable. It's nice to have an idea of the average ACT scores and the admission rate.
  5. Mom21

    Mom21 DIS Veteran

    Feb 16, 2004
    I have a dd that turned 16 this week, but she skipped 9th grade. They tried to get her to graduate this year, but she doesn't want to even though she has enough credits. I'm letting her do what she wants, so she is also class of 2014. We do college tours this week and next and all are in North Florida and we are South Florida, so several hotel rooms needed, plus gas, food, etc.

    She took the SAT once and will take it one more time plus the ACT. Today she is at an all day review for AP exams for the entire county. I had to pay plus take the day off work so I could pick her up.

    Believe me, I know how you feel about how I'm on the way to the poorhouse. It all adds up. Her father will not help as he will have to pay child support for the first year she is in college since she will be 17. After that it is over, and we are on our own. Can you believe he tried to say child support ended the year she graduated. She actually could have gone to college at 14, but we decided against it. What kind of father stops child support at 14 when he makes a ton of money (I digress). Oh being the wonderful father he is he'll throw $20 her way occasionally if she will visit him. That doesn't even cover gas.

    Anyway I feel your pain as the mom of The Class of 2014!!!!!!

    She wants either some type of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Mom is starting to panic as to how to pay.
  6. Gina

    Gina Remembers the Great DIS Board Crash of '99

    Aug 16, 1999

    Our situations sound very similar! My ex is useless as well, so this is all on me... But my son & I have been a team since before he was 2, and I don't think I would have it any differently. :goodvibes We're closer because of it.

    Anyways, it is what it is, and I'm just trying to plan ahead a little and pick up dorm stuff as I run across a sale and whatnot. I'm definitely glad I have a boy, in regards to dorm room stuff! I made the mistake of asking him which of two desk lamps he liked, and he looked at me like I just asked him if he wanted to have his nails painted, LOL. :rolleyes:
    Talby likes this.
  7. PrincessKsMom

    PrincessKsMom <img src=

    Feb 9, 2008
    Sign me up. I'm already on the line for the poor house before college. DD is a junior. Just took the SATs for the second time. Hoping her scores go up (1590/2400) the first time. Thinking of spending the money on a tutor if she has to take them a third time. Right now admission isn't a problem, it's the merit money I'm after. ;) She thinks she wants to do something in marine science but I know my daughter well. After one semester she'll be looking to transfer out.

    Went on our first campus tour (Rowan in NJ). While we liked it well enough, it wasn't "the place". Once winter guard is over, we're hoping to visit a few more in NJ. Since she really isn't sure what she wants and I never went to college, we really didn't know where to look. She's definitely interested in Coastal Carolina (in SC).

    As for unsupportive dads, well I'm still married to him, but it's an issue. That's why I'm hoping for merit money because most (if not all) of the financial responsibility will fall on me. :rolleyes:

    My DD is still, for the most part, uninterested in the whole college thing. Spent only a nominal amount of time studying for the SAT and really hasn't bothered to look into any colleges. I think she's ignoring it because she's feeling overwhelmed at the idea of leaving home and being on her own.

    Please tell me I'll survive this and she'll grow up to be a productive, employed member of society? :laughing:
  8. ZuZugal

    ZuZugal DIS Veteran<br><font color=red>There are many reas

    Jan 1, 2002
    Definitely call the FinAid at that school to find out! My DS took the ACT again, increased it by 2 points which was an increase of $10,000 per year in aid from the school.

    Most schools have their "tiers" for test scores and aid so it is worth looking in to. Good luck!!
  9. momoftwins

    momoftwins <a href="" targ

    Jan 8, 2001
    I have twins that are in the class of 2014. I have no idea where we are going to get all of the money we will need.

    Both kids are pretty bright, but heck that is not enough anymore. They just took their SAT's for the second time. First time, they both refused to even pick up the book. Well, pull the rug out from underneath them! They were none too happy with their scores. I wished they knew "mom" might know what she is talking about after all :laughing:

    Good luck to us all. Any more financial tips will be greatly - greatly appreciated!
  10. Pembo

    Pembo OH-IO

    Aug 19, 1999
    I have a junior and a freshman. My jr is ready to graduate high school today. He is ready to move on from the drama of high school. However he has another year. Our hs offers PSEO classes or classes for college credit at the school. DS is taking 2 of those next year and hope to take 1 or 2 classes at the local community college as well.

    After graduation, he's attending the community college for 2 years and then move on to a 4 year school. He wants to major in guitar and music, something...not teaching, not performance. So the future is to be determined.

    Lucky for us, he does not have to take the ACT or SAT since he is going to the community college. The scores are not needed when you transfer.

    The next 18 months are going to be a fun ride....
  11. erincon23

    erincon23 <font color=blue>Everyone must have gotten a life

    Sep 25, 2008
    I'm in! DS17 is a junior. Until the beginning of soph year, he insisted he wasn't going to college, that he wasn't smart enough (the result of several years of bullying, resulting in missing a LOT of middle school), but he's come around to a much better view. So he's finally on a college track. For a while he thought he wanted to be a history teacher, then, seeing as there wasn't much demand for history teachers, thought he'd go into criminal justice. Last night, we had a heart to heart, and he said he's now not that interested in things he thought he was interested in. Where do you go from there? I told him not to look at the final job -- that was the small end of the funnel. He's going to do some thinking about what he's really interested in - in reading about, and talking about; and look at the lists of majors that colleges have, and that may spark something; and look at college, at least to start with, as a place to learn more about what he's interested in, rather than a place to work toward a job.

    But he may end up at community college for a year. And then we'll figure out the finances, which are going to be tough!
  12. Christine

    Christine Would love to be able to sit on

    Aug 31, 1999
    As a mom of a class of 2013 (and a participant on the other thread), let me tell you all that merit aid is very scarce. Do not count on it. If you do count on it, your kids better be in the top percentiles of both GPA and standardized testing. Even with all that, the college your child wants to attend may NOT be big on merit aid. Some of the flagship state public universities give very little.

    My son has been accepted into his third choice school, into an engineering major, and into their honors program. This school offered him about half of half of his tuition in merit aid. If he could manage to get his GPA up three-tenths of a point, he could get double that. This school is out of state, but they are very generous with merit aid.

    He will not get one dime of merit aid from any of our state schools that he has applied for. And one of those schools is his preference.

    So, if you are really, really counting on merit aid and you have to have it, I would encourage you to look at what your desired schools offer based on GPA and test scores. If they don't offer anything or they only award merit to about 12 scholars per year, the time is now to have that talk with your child.

    Private schools also offer a good amount of merit aid; however, their tuition tends to be about double of the state universities so we found, in the end, we were paying the same amount out of pocket.

    The Common Data Set (as mentioned above) is very helpful. My son scored roughly a 2000/2400 on his SATs and a 31 on his ACT and, no, there's not much money rolling in. But that's just where I live. Some other areas of the country have more generous merit aid packages.
  13. MrsPete

    MrsPete DIS Veteran

    Feb 24, 2002
    First, you don't know about the poorhouse 'till your child is a senior. We spent more on senior year than we are now in college. Yes, most of that was a choice, and we could afford to do it. Paying for college itself has turned out to be easier than we'd anticipated /saved for.

    Anyway, about the SAT, two questions:

    - Don't just send him back to take the SAT again without any additional preparation. The SAT only tests math up to Alegbra 2, so high school classes won't have given him any additional prep. Vocabulary skills don't improve without additional study. The thing I suggest to all Mt students: when you take the SAT, pay the extra $18 and get the feedback sent to you. They send your answers, the right answers, the test questions and the categories. My daughter and I went through with a highlighted and marked her wrong answers. We ascertained that she had no need of any math review, and within the verbal portion almost all she missed was reading comprehension. We googled SAT reading comprehension questions on the Internet . . . By pinpointing the right things, her score came up. If she'd just gone in again old, I don't think that'd have been true.

    - How willing is he to put the work into extra SAT preparation on top of the classwork he's already doing? If he'll do the work , it's worth the money and time. On the other hand, if he'd wait 'till the night before and glance at some review items, there's no point.

    - How good is his current score compared to the college's average?
  14. mjkacmom

    mjkacmom DIS Veteran

    Feb 20, 2006
    We will truly be in the poor house with 5 kids! Dd16's plan is to find a crappy school that will give her money - lol. She wants to be a CPA, and has decent SAT scores (2000), and a 4.3 (weighted) GPA. She knows she's not getting any money from decent schools.
  15. Christine

    Christine Would love to be able to sit on

    Aug 31, 1999
    There are probably some good, mid-tier schools that would give her some money and are looking for kids like your DD that have excellent GPAs and solid SAT scores. Getting students like that helps their overall profile and I find that they are offering money. They are definitely not "crappy";) but they are just middle of the road types of schools. Which are fine.
  16. bballmom56

    bballmom56 DIS Veteran

    Feb 23, 2004
    Not sure where you are looking, but there are plenty of decent and better than decent schools that will give merit money for those stats.
  17. runwad

    runwad Dis Veteran

    Jan 18, 2006
    I've got a DD17 who is a junior, so I'm in too. She's not all too interested in college but she has been getting some emails from some schools who are interested in her for track so that's peaking her interest a little more. She's taking some post secondary classes next year and will probably have a little over a semester of college credit by the time next year is over. Every little bit helps. She wants to major in bio-medical engineering so we'll see how it goes. I'm just waiting for her to get excited about going on to college, but I think she's a little afraid of the whole "growing up" thing.
  18. Luv Bunnies

    Luv Bunnies DIS Veteran

    Sep 3, 2006
    My DS17 will be graduating high school next year. We're in a little different situation due to his Asperger's Syndrome and the fact that he took a less traditional path through school (attended a private specialized school from 6th - 10th, now attends public high school in a specialized classroom). He doesn't really like school, but is wicked smart and could do anything if he would just apply himself. Until last week, nothing had really sparked his interest besides his obsession with trains.

    So last week, his class took a field trip to the county's occupational center. High school juniors and seniors are eligible to attend, and it's also available to adults. My DS was totally enthralled by the video production class. He spent a long time talking to the teacher and looking at the computer and video equipment in the room. They had a public open house on Friday so we went back with him. He was so thrilled to show us the classroom, the cafeteria, the vending machines, etc. The teacher remembered him from his visit the previous day, and he spent some time with us discussing the class. He said he's happy to work with special ed students, and will work with the district if he requires any accommodations. DS would spend the mornings at his high school, taking the remaining requirements (English, Government, etc.). Then he would take a bus to the occupational center and spend 3 hours in the video production class. It would be a huge step for him and would take him out of his comfort zone, but he says he's up for the challenge. After next year, he could continue at a community college and go for an AA or a certificate in video production. He may end up not liking it so much, but at least he's interested and willing to try something!:)
  19. forloveofdisney

    forloveofdisney Earning My Ears

    Oct 5, 2012
    Count me in as a parent of the Class of 2014. My DD is my oldest so all of this is new to me. She is just starting to think about her career path and is leaning toward something in the medical field. She has gone to a couple of career fairs and college fairs but does not have a definite plan. She plays varsity softball but I don't think that is going to lead anywhere. She has not taken the SATs yet so I feel like we are sooo far behind.

    Can anyone who has already been in this spot give me any advice on what we should be doing right now? Thanks!
  20. BernardandMissBianca

    BernardandMissBianca Rum makes math fun! Moderator

    Feb 18, 2005
    Marking my space to come back and read later.

    I have 2 graduating in 2014, one from HS and one from middle school. I'm going to need to get a job to pay for all of this stuff!!
    I also have one in 6th this year and one in first grade.

    DS16 is looking and sports nutrition/fitness. He has 4-5 schools he wants to look at but we need to figure out how to do campus visits. DH works in DC and is never around so it's hard to plan anything, plus DS will be team captain for the cross country team this fall so he needs to attend every practice over summer, and find a job, and take drivers Ed, and he wants to go to a cross country summer camp.
    I don't know how we are going to manage.

    Ok, need to chase him off to bed and follow suit. I will come back tomorrow and catch up.

    Sent from my iPhone using DISboards
  21. powellrj

    powellrj DIS Veteran

    Mar 2, 2003
    My DD will graduate next year too. She is the last of 3 so we have been down this road before. I have a DS who is a college senior and another one who has been in and out several times so I am not sure what he is at this point (but I am not paying for his since he is almost 30 and married).

    We have been back and forth about where she wants to go and what she wants to do. She was all fired up to go to IU, until she visited and now she is having 2nd thoughts about it. She is leaning toward one of the smaller Christian schools in the area. She has stayed with friends at a couple of them and has been really impressed with what they have to offer. My brother went to grad school at one of them and would love for her to follow in his footsteps.

    I wanted to go on some college trips over spring break, but it seems she made other plans.

    I am taking a more hands off approach with her. I was all over our oldest and like I said he has been in and out of school for years with a stop off in the Army and a trip to Iraq. I learned my lesson with him and let them do most of the planning and work. I fill out the forms and offer advise and am there when they want me to be and otherwise I am pretty hands off.

    The one thing I hate is that she refuses to even look at the schools her brothers attend. While I know she doesn't want to go to school with them, at least with her middle brother, he is graduating soon and will be gone. The school has like 31,000 kids so I really don't think many if any will remember him, but she still won't even talk about it. It would be great for me because I know the ins and outs of that school!

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