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And Then There Were Two (Universities, That Is)

The whole process of selecting and applying to colleges and universities has been a daunting one for my son. There was so much information to wade through, and so many factors to consider. There were applications to complete, essays to write, recommendations to request, and more. It was a strenuous process, to say the least.

The tallies are in, and there are two universities in the running for my son’s heart, mind, and tuition. Today is April 5, and decisions have to be made by May 1. You might think it would be easy, but you would be wrong.

In-state vs. Out of State

It would be nice to have him nearby, at the local university, but I think he might miss out of something by not striking out on his own, away from his high school comfort zone, both in terms of geography and friends.

On the other hand, the other university is SO far away! I would see him far less, and each visit would cost hundreds of dollars. Still, there’s something to be said for striking out on your own.

Cost

Both universities have offered him scholarships and financial aid packages. They’re fairly comparable, but the in-state university has the added bonus of being, well, in-state. They’re both public universities, so they offer reduced tuition rates to residents of their respective states. Obviously our in-state university has a huge advantage here. Between the aid package and the savings we’ve managed to cobble together over the years, he could earn his bachelor’s degree there without any significant (or possibly ANY at all) debt. Wouldn’t that be something in this day and age?! The other university would require some loans from all three of us (him, me, and his father).

Climate

Okay, maybe it’s just the mom in me, but baby it’s COLD out there! Out in the midwest, that is. Yesterday when I looked up the temperature it was 36 degrees! It was 89 at our house, with bright sunshine.

Now I grew up in the Great Lakes region, so cold and gloom are nothing new for me, but my boy is a sunshine kid. He claims not to mind, though. And he DID visit the campus in December. Still, brrr!

Campus

By this I mean the feel of the campus. Does is seem like a place you might like to spend the next four years of your life? Only he can tell that one. Sometimes a place just feels right, you know?

Energy

This is similar to the campus one. What does the energy of the place feel like? Do you get excited thinking about it? Or is it just a place to punch in and punch out? It was clear to me after his December visit that the out of state school had a great energy for him. His eyes lit up talking about all he had seen there. For me that was enough. Ultimately, though, he’s the one who has to make the decision.

Making the Call

Time is ticking and he has to reserve his spot at one of those universities soon. I know he’s torn, but either way he’ll get an excellent education. I support either decision. I just hope he chooses for the reasons that make the most sense for him and his future.