Parenting quandary(s) Need input

Discussion in 'Dancers Anonymous' started by pygmalion, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member


    I love that last part about the car or vacation! Also, it sounds like Lioness has a cool mom!
  2. musicchica86

    musicchica86 Active Member

    My parents very generously paid for all of my expenses for my out-of-state, private college education, and I appreciate it. That said, I was eligible for a partial academic scholarship, and I made sure I graduated in 4 years when it routinely took other people in my program 5-6 years to finish. But I look around at my classmates and other people my age, and I see that that's not usually the case--either the gratitude or footing the bill.

    If you really want your son to contribute towards his college education, you could always say that you will cover x amount per year, say tuition + books for an in-state school. If he wants to go to an out-of-state or private school that's more expensive, he has to make up the difference himself. But if he stays in-state and gets scholarships to make it less than the amount you specified, he gets that money free and clear to use as he wishes.

    Obviously, this isn't what my parents did, but I've heard of other people doing it and it has the potential to work well for kids with the right kind of motivation.
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I may or may not have direct control over how much the ex chooses to write a check for. However, because I'm the custodial parent and the only parent who still has any real influence over DS's world view (the ex blew it with his bad behavior,) I'm really not concerned. I'm the one setting the standards and I'm undoubtedly the one who'll be there, on the ground, monitoring and encouraging the school application and scholarship application process. If DS comes through and is able to earn tuition assistance, I seriously doubt that the ex will insist on footing the full bill.

    But, if he does, more power to him. It's his pocketbook. Not my problem. I'll encourage DS to set aside any cash he gets to help defray future education expenses. At the moment, DS is planning to pursue a PhD in engineering, so I have no doubt that tuition assistance will come in handy at some point.
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah and I forgot to mention that DS's in-state tuition and fees are already paid for. I was lucky enough to get him into a prepaid plan right before they all started going belly up. So, at this point, any additional expenses would be for out of state and/or private schools.


    And, depending on how his grades, goals, etc, shape up, I may encourage him to stick with in-state for undergrad and go on to a prestigious university for grad school. A lot of folks I know used that strategy to keep costs down but still have an impressive resume when it was time to get a job.
  5. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    Oh.holy.crap!

    If it was me, he would be going to an in-state school...or he'd be paying the entire cost himself. That's real-world options and consequences. And it's a serious amount of coin. Tuition assistance could then kick in for grad school.

    ETA: One piece of advice I was given in high school (which I refused to follow...typical) was to go to community college and get an associate's degree, and then transfer to a 4-year school for a BA. In MD, at least at the time, if you had an associate's from a community college in state, any of the state schools had to waive all underclass pre-reqs. It would have saved me a ton of money, but having since taken CC courses, I'm glad I didn't because IME the courses weren't anywhere near as rigorous. But it's an option, and a good one for a lot of reasons.
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I just want to take a moment to go off topic and say that I have noticed a real maturity in you lately musicchica(even more than in the past)...and I hope you have taken the time to celebrate that in yourself...as I am sure it did not come cheaply
  7. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    our boy started out in out of state and then moved for a gf to in state...mercifully out of state was paid for due to his earned shcolarships...but I totally ascribe to the notiong of going local for undergrad and saving the big bucks for graduate school...of course, with daughter, that is unacceptable...anything but Northwestern was considered unacceptable...prays for scholarships nightly
  8. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    I wish I could say I put that much thought and effort into where I went to school. I mean, I did...but into a lot of other school I ended up nixing. I did my research, and was set on a couple of big-name private universities (American, GW, Cornell, Tufts, Northwestern among others)...and then that all went out the window for something as completely un-logical as falling in love with the SMC campus. I'm not proud.

    Thank goodness it was a good school, with at least an average reputation. Because once I saw the campus I made up my mind...researching it came after, but that was cursory since I'd already made up my mind.
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    With the added bonus of almost automatic acceptance at partner 4-year universities, at least in the states I know of. If you get the associates with a decent (and I don't mean great) GPA, you're in. And it does save a lot of cash.

    And, from my observation, sometimes CC can be a less intimidating experience for kids who may be only marginally ready. The core required classes tend to be smaller and more approachable, which could make life less stressful, depending on the child's personality.

    But, that said, the tuition plan I paid for covered four years at a four year university. So ... ahem... guess what I'm leaning toward? :oops: (There was a 2+2 option that was quite a bit less expensive.)
  10. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I think you are normal...my daughter is alarmingly focused and deliberate...she makes me seem downright easy going:roll:...i am proud of her...I am also a little afraid of her and for her ;)
  11. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    LOL. I get told this with some frequency--most usually by coworkers. I think it's kind of funny, and I completely don't understand it. I mean, I make quite an effort to be nice and easygoing with everyone. And I'm kind of socially phobic--the thought of having to interact with people, especially casually, is really intimidating. It's actually kind of a problem, or can be. 11 years of being with my coworkers and I'm still not comfortable around them. So...me, scary? Does.not.compute.
  12. nucat78

    nucat78 Active Member

    Well, perhaps it's TMI but here's my experience. I did my undergrad at Northwestern. DS1 did his undergrad at Northwestern and went to U of Southern California for law school. DS2 is a freshman at Illinois.

    I paid a lot for my BA as did DS1 and DS1 paid a real lot for his law degree since USC is / was rated in the top 15 law schools.

    DS1 is / was up to his eyebrows in debt but being a single attorney, he can pay it off relatively easily (and he's still driving a new BMW and living in Irvine, Cali - not cheap).

    DS2 is doing well at Illinois (AP credits and Dean's List) and seems to be quite happy although there was some culture shock since we bleed purple around here. But the kicker is DS2 is walking out of Illinois with a BS and next to no debt (God willing). He can do Berkeley or UCLA for med school and incur his debt then. And US News tells us that many big name employers would rather hire BAs from good state schools than from private schools - I have no idea why.

    I have no doubt DS1 and DS2 will both have good careers. DD got her BS in finance from Northern Illinois and was making more than any of us as an investment banker when she decided to hang it up and start a family. Her hubby went to Miami of Ohio but just got his MBA from Northwestern - he's a 30-something VP with Aon.

    So I guess ultimately it depends on the person, how they do, and how they present themselves.

    Go 'Cats!
    Fight on, SC!
    I-L-L! I-N-I!
  13. bia

    bia Active Member

    As everyone has been saying, so much of all of these questions depends on the individual kid. It seems clear that there's not usually a whole lot of impact on ultimate earning or career success from the prestige/cost of the undergrad school, so saving money there and choosing the grad program carefully makes sense from that point of view. However, I went to a selective private school for undergrad, and regardless of any effect on future earnings, I found it an extremely valuable experience, just to be on a campus full of academically-oriented peers and in classrooms with rigorous demands and vigorous academic discussion. From the experience of friends who went to the high quality state school, and teaching at one myself now, even an honors program there can't duplicate that experience. But I was always a nerd, and that experience mattered to me. Just going for the prestige of the name would make no sense. And those state school friends have perfectly good adult lives and careers.

    I took four years in the real world between college and grad school, and I found it very useful. Too many people go to grad programs just because they don't know what else to do, and many of them waste that time and money. And yes, that's true for lots of undergrads, too -- if they're ready, going straight from high school to college is fine, but many would understand why they're there much better if they had real world experience first.

    In my family, it was always understood that my parents would pay for college, and we were on our own for grad school, though if we had needed loans, my parents were prepared to give much better terms than any bank. From high school on, it was understood that our job during the school year was to do well at school and extracurriculars (with some weekend babysitting). In the summers, we were expected either to have a job or to be doing something productive/instructional (e.g., serious camp, unpaid internship). I don't remember my parents ever having to work to enforce any of this; it was just understood. I guess my sister and I were just easy kids that way. My parents modeled frugality -- we saw it whenever they shopped, when we stayed at the Motel 6 on road trips, when they closely compared gas prices before filling up, etc. I felt very lucky that they were in a position to pay for my college, and I felt proud of being able support myself -- including grad school -- from then on, with gratitude for the debt-free start and the continuing safety net that I happily never needed.

    So, money-wise, I think this way worked for us. If I hadn't been (naturally? from family socialization?) academically inclined, there may have needed to be a more explicit connection between financial support and academic performance. One thing I actually do wish is that there had been a greater expectation to contribute to housekeeping chores while I was growing up at home. I appreciate the point that my job then was school, and I was never an extreme slob, but I wonder if being in the habit of housecleaning might have made the transition to my own space easier.
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the great perspectives, folks! This is SO helpful. Really. As the parent of a teen, I find this discussion invaluable.

    Just to throw a little something extra into the mix, another of my friends made a deal with his daughter. He and his then wife agreed to pay for a certain number of years tuition total (five IIRC.) Anything else was on her own dime.

    Their very resourceful daughter applied for the International Baccalaureate program at her high school, earned a full year of college credits while in high school, and was able to get both her BS and MS paid for my Mom and Dad. They were happy. She was happy. Win. Win.

    ETA: Oh yeah and I forgot to mention that this exceptional young lady took off a year or so after her MS, established herself at a good job, and now is working on her PhD with a nice, healthy tuition reimbursement plan from her employer. Ya gotta love it!
  15. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    I have been thinking about this more and more lately. I remember, as a freshman, being shocked at how many fellow-freshmen didn't know how to cook a simple meal, clean up after themselves, do laundry, etc.

    Freshman year rolls around awfully quickly. I totally agree that being prepared academically isn't the only thing to consider.
  16. musicchica86

    musicchica86 Active Member

    I wouldn't worry too much, honestly. I was the same way (only one school was acceptable), but I was also interested in a very specialized program and my options were limited to begin with. The best option just happened to be private and out of state. I applied to other schools, but only because my parents made me. Even snuck in an application to Clemson just to irritate my dad! :twisted: Got accepted too, LOL.

    As for community college, keep in mind that some of them can basically be extended high school. There's a CC in my hometown that I bet half of the local high school population ends up going to, at least before transferring. With that many of the same people in your classes that you just graduated with, there's not always a lot of room to mature and grow past high school. Just something to keep in mind, IMO.

    In that same vein, if your son does end up going to school locally (whether it's a CC or a larger university), I'd encourage him to live on-campus or at least away from home. You learn a lot more and get a lot more life experience living on your own during college than you ever would while living at home with Mom, even if Mom is still paying the bills.

    YMMV, of course, but those are the opinions of somebody that's only been out of college for a year and a half and only been working full-time for a few months.
  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    My niece was the same way. She decided as a toddler (No. this is not an exaggeration.) that she wanted to go to one of the most selective liberal arts colleges in the US. Expensive and selective. But her heart was set on it. So, six figure tuition notwithstanding, when her grades were good enough, my sister did everything necessary to get her into her school of choice, including some hefty loans. My niece did her part and worked her tush off every summer and during school breaks.

    My niece graduated summa cum laude and joined the Teach For America program. The US government paid for her MA in education. Sweet.
  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Agreed. That's why I think that, for kids who may be not quite ready to make the leap to the big pond either emotionally or academically, this may be a good option. :cool:
  19. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    several things; peaches, well we will have to chat over drinks sometime...perhaps i will get to maryland or virginia this year...but it's scarey in a good way

    musicchica...fortunately, my dtr usally achieves what she sets out to do and Northwestern was no exception...but I would have moved out of the house over the holidays if it hadn't worked out...and don't get me wrong, I totally respect her drive

    bia, loved reading your contribution...this is in fact why our son decided to do the peace corps now, because he knew he wasn't ready for the rigors of law school just yet...course six months in Africa has lit a fire under his butt and he is taking LSAT practice exams now ...with a far greater sense of purpose than before...and I truly think this time is making him into someone infinately more focused ...

    as to money, I do think living frugally is a key factor to having kids who do the same..until ballroom dance, there was very little expensive behavior that went on around here...my husband became an attorney later in life so our kids remember simple living and still see us live well below our means with the exceptions of our cars, our vacations and my little dancing habit...and they know why we are able to do it now....we have also kept them well in touch with the fact that they are very fortunate to have what they have....and the fact that wasted money could have gone to persons in deep need...I think, in short, many of us are saying the same things...that conversations about responsibility and expectations well in advance make alot of specific rules and planning a bit less neccessary...there can be some room for flexibility if everyone is essentially on the same page and/or easily coaxed back onto it
  20. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    oh...and I do agree that whenever possible it is very important for a student to study/live away from home

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