Choosing a College (Ugh.)

Darling Daughter is nearing the end of her senior year. The process she’s traveled to choose a college has been filled with special moments. Darling Daughter has 24 days until May 1st. (All high school seniors must choose by May 1st)

May 1st looms like Doomsday in our house…


Out for lunch last week with Daughter and Aunt Kate:

Aunt Kate: Where does your Dad think you should go?

Daughter: Doesn’t matter. Don’t care what he thinks.

Aunt Kate: What about you? (Aunt Kate looked at me)

Daughter: I don’t care what she thinks, either.

Aunt Kate looked a little stunned…

Me: I’m fine with that. She’s the one who has to go to college.

(The sooner the better…)

Aunt Kate: But what if they’re paying?

Daughter: Still doesn’t matter. I’ll find a way to pay, if I need to.

Me: Her dad and I wouldn’t do that, anyway. Wouldn’t withhold money to sway her.

Darling Daughter wasn’t being snotty, but she’s been struggling to make a good decision. Her Dad and I will support that choice–And do our best to contribute to the cost.

When Daughter responded to those questions, I thought…”Good for her. She knows her own mind—she has backbone, confidence and strength in her convictions. She’s willing to stick with her decision and what she thinks is right for her, no matter what that costs her.”

Truthfully, that makes me more comfortable sending her off to college. College is expensive—I want to send a child who wants to go badly enough to incur the cost. Even if the cost is to her. Badly enough to step up and tell me where she wants to go and why she wants to go there.

Many will disagree with me. They’d argue I know more than she does, that I know what’s right for her.

Maybe. Maybe not. Yes. I’ve got experience. But its MY experience. I need to step back and let Daughter accumulate HER own life experiences.

Those who have known Daughter since birth know that she’s strong, has always known her own mind. Convincing her to do things has never worked. (Or at least not with good results…)

There would be hell to pay if I tried to talk her into a college or major—and she hated it!! I can’t imagine the next 30 years of holiday’s, or shouldering the blame for the job she despised. Because it was all my idea?

No thank you. I’ll let her decide. Others with strong-willed children will understand.

Georgetown1imagesCAAF7IS2Funny story…

Or maybe NOT so funny. About 15 years ago, Aunt Kate’s good friend had two boys–both graduated from college. One from John Carroll University. One from Cleveland State University. Both studied accounting. At the time, Aunt Kate’s son was set to attend John Carroll—an expensive, private university.

Aunt Kate: Please tell me that the one who graduated from John Carroll is doing BETTER…

Friend: Nope. They’re both doing the SAME.

Both were equally successful, earning similar  salaries. Even  though one chose Cleveland State, at a fraction of the cost of John Carroll–the private university.

The newest decision-making tool?


A giant dry erase board. It’s 3 feet x 5 feet. Daughter dragged it home last weekend after talking with a family friend. I was in bed, sleeping and was jolted awake by the sound of the board slapping up against my bedroom wall. Darling Daughter launched into an explanation. I blinked. Hard. (More than once…) Tried to pay attention…

Don’t get me wrong, I was grateful for the parenting assist, but I probably didn’t need the details at 1:00 a.m…

What’s on the board? SWOT diagrams. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for the colleges still in contention. (Thankfully, some schools are crossed out…) There’s also the ominous Red Box that changes daily,  showing the countdown to May 1st.

I’m considering a bonfire on May 1st. We can toss ALL college pamphlets, brochures, letters, scholarship notices into the fire pit and light it up.  Maybe roast some marshmallows in honor of the occasion.

From there, we’re not looking back…

The past few weeks have been tense. When I speak, I annoy Daughter. When we make eye contact, I annoy her. My breathing is more than she can tolerate. This is unusual, we typically get along wonderfully well.

Just recently, I’ve learned that other parents are in the same situation.

Perhaps we parents should swap children. I could send Daughter elsewhere and take in somebody else’s child. We could stay with this plan until May 1st, when all children would return home to peace and harmony.

I cannot believe I didn’t come up with this simple solution sooner.

At least I know what to do in a few years, if Son goes through this phase…




4 thoughts on “Choosing a College (Ugh.)

  1. Ha,ha,ha—you brought light to a gray situation. Ah, it will all be over soon. Life, harmony, peace, quiet time all will return in a blink of an eye. Excellent and perceptive commentary on the next phase of a teenager’s life. Well done!!

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