Monday, March 12, 2018

Another College Road Trip

My morning office.
DD2 has looked at colleges to the east of us and to the south. This time we head far west to our neighbors in North Dakota and will look at a couple schools today. Our road trip was uneventful, though we did stop for a bathroom break at McDonald's and got an ice cream cone and an order of fries to share as well. Nothing fancy about our freebie hotel, but it is a spacious room with two queen comfy beds with extra pillows, and breakfast.There is a pool and hot tub but neither of us were feeling like using either last night. DD2 is in the shower after we ate waffles and scrambled eggs, hotel staples but I admit I kind of like them.We will be out by 8:00 as out first tour is at 8:30.

Right after we checked in since we had extra daylight due to daylight savings time kicking in, we scoped out the college campuses quickly so I would know where to park and to let her get a look. A choir concert had just wrapped up at one so kids in robes and visitors were everywhere. We didn't bother parking, just took a peak. The other college might be on spring break-it looked nearly deserted. I didn't think about that so hope she still gets to see what she is hoping to learn. We went back to our hotel and ate picnic supper of sandwiches, chips and apples, which did the job nicely. We binge watched the first three episodes of Stranger Things, replied to my blog and went to bed.

We're just about done now with touring. She is scheduled for two ACT's and a few AP tests in the coming months. She needs to have an idea by September of at least her top three possible choices so she can apply early and get scholarship applications and choir auditions taken care of. She got the letter that she was accepted into National Honor Society, so a nice addition to her applications. The induction ceremony and dinner on on April 12th but she has a mandatory meeting right when school is back on after spring break. I'm cherishing this time with her, as I did with the other two. DH did more with DS, and we had combined a family mini trip with a couple tours for DD1, but his schedule hasn't worked so well for our youngest. I'm lucky to have this time but ridiculous choices and budget aside, the decision will need to be hers.

We are staying on budget with the $1500 planned towards show choir and college trips. Branson will cost about $600 and Omaha was $500, but this trip is the cost of gas ($54 perhaps) the McDonald's stop ($5.69) and lunch (perhaps $15) so let's call it $75. February's was gas and lunch, coming in at $35. This leaves $390 to spare. She's going with a friend to visit her sister some weekend at another campus, so I'll include her meal money but they may just stay in the dorm. There are two more colleges on her list to see. In total, making 10 prospects toured, which considering the  least we will spend is $80,000 over four years and upwards of $130,000, and this sets the trajetory for her future employment prospects, I don't think that is too extreme. How many cars do people research before buying? Thanks for coming along on the ride. 

12 comments:

  1. I certainly understand the desire to visit campuses, and remember many of my classmates doing just that. Heck, I even acted as a tour guide at my own alma mater. That said, I don't see the necessity, really...didn't then, don't now! All my siblings went to our schools, sight unseen. Of course, my father was a college professor, so we were pretty much raised on a campus, but still, one small, liberal arts college is basically like another.
    That said, I envy you this search. My junior just doesn't see the need. That's a hard thing for two college educated parents to take. I daresay reality might be a bitter pill for him. But...earlier this weekend he asked about getting into our state's dual enrollment program for his senior year--courses at the two-year college serve as H.S. requirements, and transfer over (101 level or higher) to colleges or universities. Tuition is reimbursed by the state. Some kids actually leave h.s. with an associate's degree, or, at the very least, a good year of college under their belts. Fingers crossesd!

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    1. I'm not sure I agree that all colleges (within the same type) are alike becasue they draw from the communities and opportunities for experiences around them. The campus we looked at today, feel, resources etc. seemed quite diffferent to what she looked at last summer. Major differences here was size of community (metro area of 200,000 compared to samml town of 10,000, plus other colleges and universities nearby for some partnerships. What is astonsihingly similar is the over the top price tags at private colleges! Good for your son. I hope that works out for him and gives him the boost he might be looking for to decide what life after high school might look like.

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  2. I think the visits are a wonderful opportunity to see if the school that looks really good on paper would actually be a fit. Sons 1 and 2 only visited a few and they were all relatively close to home. Son3 was a horse of a different color and visited many. As it turned out one of the schools he visited had not really been on his radar and it is where he ultimately went. Have fun and enjoy the process!

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    1. The first school we looked at was only becasue it was near the main school she wanted to look at. She ended up loving it, and was less keen on the one she thoguht she woudld like! Now, to figure out reality and making the dollars stretch.

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  3. Back in my day(lol)visiting college campuses wasn't such a big deal as paying for college wasn't as much. My last year tuition at a top private school(2nd 7 sister school back then)was under $2K in 1981.
    Neither my 2 brothers or I went visiting. College was a means to an end in my father's view(he had gone to night school for many years to get his degree at the age of 38-the year before eldest brother graduated high school).
    I first set eyes on the college I attended and got a diploma from when I drove up there to go. lolz

    Our eldest kid visited a couple schools, our daughter many more than that(this college visits thing seems to be a girl thang I think)and college boy HAD to visit since going into the arts, he had to audition on campus anyway(He applied to 4.).

    Unlike your daughter we put a caveat onto our kids to where they could apply due to funds. They had X dollars and they could go anywhere but if they went to a pricey school(and didn't get grants/scholarships)they would be stuck with student loans as we weren't cosigning loans. 2 of the kids were happy to go to state schools and escape almost loan free but the Daughter.....sigh.....she's been a horse of a different color and she has taken a circuitous route to a degree(and she still has 1 more year to get that sheepskin)and will have loads of debt starting out even though she went to a private school for the last half of her schooling and got lots of scholarship $.

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    1. Oh, there is a max we can pay, and student loans are off the table. She is a very good student and quite involved/plans to be involvd and the rough calculator for what she should expect to earn in scholarships at a couple puts the pricey private schools just within the top of our price tag-stretches the point on the tip pretty well. Still, after two kids with not great fits, it is very important that we do not close doors before we learn what is possible. She has a couple pretty highly likley noncollege specifc scholarship opportunitiesas well, which she would be able to use at any school.

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  4. As we live in a university/college city we didn't look around at other options. Kazi did her french lit degree at the university and then took a graduate course at the college while living at home. I wouldn't have been able to pay the expenses of living away from home on top of tuition so glad she was on board with that plan.

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    1. I commuted for my undergrad for a year before I moved on campus. It was what I ahd to do as well to afford college. The job I later got was a striclty weekend and eanred enough to be on campus Sunday-Friday, and feel like I was a part of school. I later ommuted again to finish things. I think I raised kids to be too independent and they want so hard to be able to study away, but had we not been able to afford it, I think they owould understand and commute as well.

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  5. My elder daughter looked at one uni, and the younger daughter looked at 2, although, just like her sister, her heart was set on Manchester. That's where they both went, and that's where they have stayed. Here, most unis charge the same price, although that amount trebled in the time between the elder and the younger studying there. I had a choice of 2 when I went to uni aged 40, but was accepted after interview at my first choice so didn't look around, or attend the interview for the other.

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    1. Her choice will come down to personal fit and major/degree offered, AND out of pocket cost. I asked point blank waht the inflation rate on tuition is going and we will expect a minimum of 4% a year, so the price tag today will be an additional $10,000 her senior year.

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    2. I think 4% is overly optimistic and the college admin will want to low ball the actual number to prospective parents. I say this from front line experience the last 4 years. lol

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    3. Good to learn from the voice of recent experience. I did a little back checking, and it has averaged about 4%, but no guarentee!

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