The College Process: They Want Your Money

From the moment we started looking at colleges, it was apparent that schools want your money.  They may SAY they want you (and by that I mean your child) and some of them DO, but they all want your money.  That's a part of life and I don't blame them.  Everyone needs money.  Everyone spends money.  It is up to us to decide HOW to spend that money.  Where we can get the best value.  What makes us most comfortable/happy.  Where we fit in.  What place ties to our wants and desires?  It's not just about schooling, it's about life.

My son has gotten probably thousands of emails, as well as some "snail mail" from schools.  The majority of which didn't match him at all.  The emails still continue to flow in and when I look at some of them, I want to laugh.  They don't know my son.  (How could they?  Whatever information they have gotten is not really indicative of the person that he is.)  Yet they SAY they want my son to apply.  Even if they don't have a major or program that interests him.

That is why we are a family worked on figuring out what might be feasible.  I TRIED to find schools that fit my son's wants/needs as well as our budget.  While I *thought* I did well, his first choice, Wagner College is a lot more than I had anticipated.  But it still remains his first choice and while he looks for scholarships (and I look for scholarships and creative ways to come up with the money), cost cannot be the only thing that is taken into consideration.

We visited (if I recall correctly) half a dozen schools.  They were all very good schools, although you might not know the names of some or all of them.  (I'm very much opposed to looking at a school just because it has "name recognition."  There are thousands of schools out there, but only a few names might come to mind.  The ones that don't are can be just as good, or better, depending on the student's needs, which is what I feel should be the #1 priority; the student and not the "prestige" of the school. However that probably should be the topic for another post.)  All of the schools we visited offered a major or program that interested my son.  There were three that stood out:  WagnerSUNY Purchase and Cazenovia College.  Unfortunately, Cazenovia will be closing their doors after this semester, so that is out of the running, but let me tell you what each school did that made them stand out for us.

My son would fit in at any of the campuses.  They all offer programs that match his interest and talents. My son appreciated the aesthetics of each one.  But what drew us in, was that each one took an interest in my son as a person and went above and beyond in showing them why they wanted him as a person.

Now I KNOW that part of the campus visit is to sell you on the school.  Just about every place we visited did that.  However, these three schools, made sure that my family saw and learned about specific things that would apply to my son.  For example, SUNY Purchase made sure we were part of a tour group that was focused on the arts.  Our tour guide was majoring in what my son thinks he wants to major in and shared her experiences.  At Cazenovia College, after touring the campus, the admissions counselor took us own a private tour of additional art facilities that campus had to offer, which also gave us a chance to see the town and speak with students and teachers. Finally, when we toured Wagner College, we met with an admissions counselor (Anthony) who didn't handle our state, but gave us lots of great information.  We contacted him later to see if we could talk to someone in the art department.  Not only did Anthony set something up, he arranged for the CHAIR of the Visual Arts Department to meet us and give us a tour, had my son sit in on part of an art class, AND introduced us to the counselor who does cover our territory.  

Each of these schools want our money, but more importantly they all saw my son as a unique student who could be a part of campus life.  They saw someone who could succeed at their school. Our visits were not just about scholastics, but about people and life.  It was about the community. It’s what I want for our son.

Higher education CAN be expensive. All of my family is doing their bit to try and make it more affordable. I can proudly say that we, as a family, have done our best to make sure that the cost will be worth it. 

Then all my son has to do is officially commit and get ready for his next adventure in life.


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