Shell Shocked

College hoopla. All last week. After all getting word about which colleges they all got into (or didn’t), my son and all his friends (many kids I’ve known since kindergarten) are all kind of sitting back now – away from the web sites where they’ve been scanning for their names – and restructuring their lives in their heads. Very few got their first-choice schools, or even any school they’d been picturing for the last several months. All the schools were so impacted, and students in the top 5-10% of their class weren’t getting their first picks (or sometimes even their second or third), or weren’t even getting into the California University system where they thought they’d be. Their visions are all shifting: from palm trees to pines, from private to public, from living at home to being away, from being away to living at home. … They all look a little shell-shocked.

And while the kids all stare off into space, trying to wrap their heads around schools they hadn’t pictured, Moms and Dads are freaking out over the money. Most of us haven’t gotten Financial Aid letters yet, so we’re all looking at sticker prices: $12,000/year tuition, plus $12,000 room and board. Or $24,000 tuition, plus $8,000 room and board. Or $30,000 tuition, plus $12,000 room and board. The shell-shocked looks go both ways, for sure. …

Once the dust settles, we’ll all come up with a plan. Ricky got: University of Oregon (yes); UCLA (no); UC Davis (no); UC Santa Barbara (waitlist). All those honors classes, AP tests, all-nighters and exams started to become meaningless when he was turned down by his favorite schools. This seems to be the month of shock and awe, followed by some decisions by the end of the month, when deposits have to be put down.

In the meantime, I’ll be staring at Nathan’s army men set up across my dining table, still feeling a little shell-shocked. …

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6 thoughts on “Shell Shocked

  1. Congrats Rick, at least you applied and gave it a try.

    You are a very bright, smart young man I know you’ll do great no matter what school you end up going to.

    <3
    Geri

  2. Bummer on UCLA. You know, it’s much easier and cheaper to go to a 2 year college and transfer in. My brother did that and it worked great. I’m sure he doesn’t want to hear that though 🙂

    Good luck!

  3. I am sorry to hear that he didn’t get into the Calif. schools – I know how it is to see your child not get their first pick. Luckily for us, my son got into where he applied back when he did applications in 2006. When my daughter did it in 2009, we were shocked when she didn’t get into the UW, after all she had all the AP classes and had a 4.0 as well. Of course she did get into University of Hawaii, but I shot that down because of the “commute” and cost of living on the island! So both ways, she was upset! We went the community college way with her because after Hawaii, there just wasn’t anywhere else she “wanted” to go! She is planning on going into a radiology program after she is done with her pre-recs. It is different than what she had in her head and what she had planned all together, but she is happy. Any job in the medical field is a good one and she had wanted to go into something similar anyways….so for her, it worked out. I recently found out (on the news) that a lot of Washington state kids aren’t getting into the Univ. of Wash. because they want all the outside state students for the higher tuition! I think that is terrible and I hope that Calif. isn’t doing that to their kids too! I am sure that wherever Ricky and his friends go, they will be happy. And hey, if he goes to Oregon, you are one state closer to me!

  4. You know I have felt that angst about paying for college. We did it for two young people. We got it done and it felt good not only for them, but for us, that they did not graduate with college debt. When Jeff went to law school, he felt good about taking out a loan for his living expenses (got a full ride for the education). He could take on debt for the next stage in his educational career. Congrats to Ricky … he will be successful wherever he goes to college and he is lucky to have parents that are willing and able to make it a reality for him!

  5. Thanks to all of you for such thoughtful comments! It really helped to hear all your stories. I’m sure, too, he’ll do fine wherever he goes, but it’s so hard to watch them all deal with their first life-altering disappointment, you know? But all your stories showed that things just work out, don’t they? I love the 2-years of JC and transfer into a university idea! I keep working that angle. … We haven’t yet decided. But, as is his nature, he’s researching and all over the internet, finding all kinds of options now! He’s definitely a problem-solver. I’m proud of him.

  6. You should be proud of him, Laurie! He is smart, hard-working and a fine individual. No matter where he goes, he will be successful afterward because he has all the tools and the foundation you have provided. All those decisions must be so nerve-wracking; I’m not looking forward to it. I will say, you couldn’t have PAID me to stay home after high school, though. I needed to jet outta there ASAP for sanity’s sake, and never return. But Ricky doesn’t have an unpleasant home life, so that’s not relevant. My husband went to Saddleback, so he dealt with everyone going away, but didn’t live at home the first year, so he still moved out and did the “living with roommates” thing.

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