Saturday, January 21, 2012

Not How Our Family Would Pick a College

One lecture I attended at the MIT ESP Splash parent lectures in 2011 was a total and complete waste of my time. The rest were fantastic and I am so grateful for them.

This one was a bomb. It was about college admissions. It wound up being a sales pitch for families to buy a software and online program that seemed completely unnecessary for me. The main thing was a timeline calendar telling you what to do when, for the college applications process. Anyone who has researched the process even a little bit already knows this information.

Anyhow the purpose of my post is to share this is when I realized this guy was not speaking to my family. No way, no how.

This is what he said about:

How Students and Parents Pick a College


Boyfriend or girlfriend goes there/ going to go there

All my friends go there


“Good food” there

It’s a party school!

Have certain sports teams

Dorm size (is good)


Money, can afford it

It’s their Alma Mater

Quality of the education there

Drive is within 2 hours

My thoughts---

UMMMM--------something was left off the list that is the top priority for my kids and my husband and I. That would be “has the major in the field I want to study”.


Also “is a good school for that major, respected and well known as a good program for that major”.

And of course “the school is a good fit for my child for multiple reasons”.
Depending on your career choice, it may be important to attend a brand name school for that career field. It’s not always necessary but in some industries such as my husband’s, it is important. He learned that the hard way. I also experienced favoritism for job candidates who attended a select few colleges where I worked.

The audience contributed these as reasons to pick that school:

Brand name school

Well known school

Have area you want to study

(He stopped calling on the audience at that point.)


Well anyhow when I realized that this guy thought that the people in the room actually supported that list he provided for what students and parents wanted I realized he was not a right fit for the people in the room, or so I’d like to think.

I chose to not leave the room although I wanted to bolt, because I wasn’t sure if the lecture was going to improve or stop being a sales pitch. In the end, I didn’t learn anything there except perhaps my family is in the minority if what we are looking for is not stuff like “good dorm rooms” and “good food” and “party school” and “where my girlfriend goes”.

Frankly I think a little suffering in college is a good thing so a crappy dorm room and bad food is fine by me. That way when the kids start working and supporting themselves and have it better than college was they’ll feel grateful -- instead of living in a country club college that may be even better than home was, and then realizing when they are working in the real world they are now slumming it even worse than when they lived with Mommy and Daddy.


Xa Lynn said...

No one at all touched on the moral environment, did they?

I informed my kids awhile ago that if they want my help paying for school, they will attend a school acceptable to me. If they want to go elsewhere, they can pay for it themselves.

Xa Lynn

Tyrean Martinson said...

Interesting that he didn't include area of study . . . that seems like a major area of concern to me. It's hard for me to imagine that it wouldn't be for most parents and students.
As a student I experienced the "go to a community college to save money" thing from my parents, but they wanted me to choose the best school for my major after that and I did. I went to the best university in my state for education (teacher education). I admit I applied to go to the university my husband (then boyfriend) transferred to, but he and I both agreed that going there just because he went there wasn't the right choice. So we had a long distance relationship, and it worked. I was picky about my dorm after I decided on the college, and it wasn't comfortable, but it wasn't communal showers and 8 in a room either.
I can't imagine the dorm room or the boyfriend/girlfriend thing being the first reason to choose a school. Finances come into it, but there are many good universities with amazing fields of study that aren't listed at private universities.
My daughter (age 13) wants to go to a Christian University with a marine biology major - we haven't found one yet. Most universities with a good reputation for Marine Biologry are state universities.

ChristineMM said...

Xa Lynn, Correct. No one discussed moral atmosphere.

Although honestly I am not confident a child or teen can pick a college that can guarantee a certain kind of moral atmosphere.

Humans are flawed. Christian colleges are filled with humans.

Some kids of all types go wild in college as they felt repressed in their childhood and teen years.

I have heard some Christian homeschool "big names" talk at conferences say that the Christian schools are not pure places by any means.

Another idea is to go out into the world to represent Christians on secular campuses. Jim Stobaugh of For Such a Time as This said last year he wishes more Christian homeschoolers would flood the secular colleges.

Also, I have heard some wild stories about what goes on at church youth group weekend trips and summer camps. I think that it makes a parent feel better to think that kids are with other Christians and it may help them not do certain things when in fact they are not as sheltered or protected as they'd thought they'd be.