College Finder Wizard

Dear Gabby,

I have been good friends with a group of girls since we were freshmen in high school. During our junior year we all decided we wanted to go to college together at our state university. Now that I’m a senior this fall, my parents don’t care where I want to go.  They have a list of schools they want me to consider aside from State. They don’t get that I want to be with my friends. We’ve been arguing about this a lot lately. Am I wrong to want this?

Angry in Asheville

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline.

2 Timothy 1:7

Well “Angry,” bet you’re wondering what that passage has to do with you, your parents and your anger. At first glance you might think it just has to do with not being timid – and you would be kinda right. But more precisely, it has to do with being bold and strong. This passage came to mind after thinking about your situation and recalling Gabby’s own senior year parent drama. Unfortunately for Gabby’s parents, our conflict centered around how much nicer the dining hall was at her first choice school. Yeah. But what Gabby didn’t tell her parents was that she actually preferred that school because the male student guides were so cute and dressed really preppy and wore these totally adorable sun visors. They looked so clubby! That was the winning factor. So when Gabby’s parents pressed her to consider other choices, Gabby was not pleased. In fact, Gabby was silly. And this silliness was totally separate from Gabby’s GPA or SAT scores. That silliness came out of immaturity and fear. This Must-Have school seemed like an overgrown kid’s camp. It looked pretty, really laid back and was undoubtedly fun – but it wasn’t very academic. It wasn’t as competitive as the other schools on my list. Life there looked easy. But my parents knew better and they expected more from me. And I suspect your parents are doing the same thing for you.

It’s a wonderful idea when you’re all in school to dream of going off to college and staying a group. But that’s taking the easy road. The idea of college can be scary. Now if you want to go to State because of its drama program or because its business program is first rate, then that is a reasonable argument. But if you are following your friends because it feels safer to stick with what you know, then you need to release your fears and embrace your spirit of power and love and self-discipline. Pray for an open mind. Pray for strength. Pray the Lord’s Prayer. Praying to the Lord that His will be done is hard but it is worth it! Because God has a plan for you!  Then have a mature conversation with your parents about what you want from your school. Your parents don’t just have a huge financial interest vested in your school, they have YOU! You are their greatest investment and turning out a bold, self-disciplined, loving, mature adult is surely as much their goal as any bachelor’s degree.

[As a sidebar]

Where to go to college: This might just be the biggest decision of your life thus far. You want to get it right, for sure. So what process are you using to arrive at a decision? Going where Mom or Dad went? Going to the closest school so you can save money and live at home? Going to the State school that you can attend tuition-free? Or are you aspiring to the Ivy Leagues? Whatever your inclination, it wouldn’t hurt to put your preference to a test to see if it is indeed right for you. You can find such a test (don’t worry, it’s not that kind of test) at Student Aid on the Web, a government-sponsored site that primarily addresses financial aid, but also has this neat little College Finder Wizard.

And if you think that’s nifty, head over to GoingtoCollege.org for more activities to help you narrow down your choices (after all, the world is your oyster!), and keep on schedule with the many college-related tasks, from submitting applications to standardized testing and more.

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