Consider yourself warned!
A guide for those who think they want children.
Since I’ve been going through this college process with my son, the recent college admissions scandals really hit home. Now, I’m not in the position to pay people off to ensure that my children get into the college of their choice, but after going through this experience with my son, I can understand why parents were doing this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it is the right thing to do, nor am I condoning this bad behavior. All I am saying is, I understand.
The competition these kids face is fierce. My son is a smart kid. He attends a specialized high school in New York City and makes good grades. Yet, he didn’t get into his first-choice college. I can understand that. That college was his reach school. He didn’t get into his second-choice college either. I don’t understand that. That school was well within his reach. Now, he gets to choose between his third-choice schools, which are still good schools. But not the ones that he had his heart set on.
I know that he is disappointed that he didn’t get into some of these schools. I’m disappointed too. I know that life is unfair and that we can’t sugar coat everything for our children. I know that our kids have to learn how to deal with disappointment and rejection. But, the Emotional Mom in me wants to give him everything his heart desires. I would love to spoil him. However, Rational Mom in me knows not to do that as it will only set him up for failure. And, the Financial Mom in me says, “Girl, I don’t think so.”
Once these kids get into college, you need to look at the financial aid package that’s offered. When my son was applying to college, I knew that there were some schools on his list that were not financially doable. But, I encouraged him to apply because hey, you never know what kind of aid package he would get. Two of the schools he got into gave him over $20,000 in scholarships and need based aid. I was happy and relieved. It doesn’t cover all the tuition and fees, but it’s a big help. Now, here’s the reality of all of this, the total tuition/fees of one school is around $73,000 per year. That’s right, per year. The other college’s tuition/fees per year is around $47,000 per year. Bear in mind that tuition will keep on increasing each year. So, after you deduct the $20,000, that leaves roughly $53,000 and $27,000 left to pay. Per year. Guess who gets to figure out how that will get paid? And don’t forget, next year, his younger sister will be applying to college.
Of course, of the two schools, the son wants to go to the more expensive one. How do I tell him that he can’t go? All I can do I show him the numbers. Its all a number game. We knew that from the beginning of this process. This college process sucks.
My son is not alone. I’m sure there are thousands of high school seniors with awesome grade point averages who will not be able to attend their college of choice because they can’t afford to pay the tuition. So many future lawyers, doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs, etc., will not get the opportunity to attend. Yeah, I know that these kids can attend community college and still achieve their goals, but its just not fair (I know, life is not fair).
So, if you have small kids, I suggest that you start investing in a 529 college plan the day after they are born. At least you will have some money to help them out. It will most likely not be enough, but at least it will be something.
So, now you know, and you can … Consider Yourself Warned!
If you’ve already been through the college process, what advise do you have for parents who are now going through this process?
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SassyGirlTye lives with her two wonderful teenagers in Brooklyn, New York. No matter what she says in her posts, she truly loves her children with all her heart.