Geeky Boy is entering his senior year, which means that he’ll be applying to college in fall/winter. He has not been particularly proactive about it. Last year, he was struggling with depression so clearly had more pressing issues. Still, he managed to take SATs and visit two schools. Only one of those schools was one he proactively said anything about. I find it frustrating, but I’m trying to be patient. We visited a state school this week and he wants to visit some schools in the Boston area. So, I think he will have a nice list of schools to apply to. Still, the whole process is anxiety producing. For me, I worry about his not so good grades and where those will hurt him. They’re offset by good SAT scores. But will that be enough? Will some school see his potential? Is there a place that will be better for his success? It’s hard to know.
I’ve watched and am watching friends go through this too. They have the same anxieties even when their kids have a much “cleaner” record than mine. They see 18% percent acceptance rates and know that their kid doesn’t have any better shot than any other kid, necessarily, with a similar record.
And then there’s the money. Many of my friends, mostly academics, have little to no money saved up. So the school their kids ultimately will go to might depend on an aid package. We talk about loans, against our houses, for our kids. And we worry, about paying the loan off or paying our kids’ loans off. We worry about whether it’s worth it. We worry about whether they know what they want to major in or whether they don’t and whether that will net them a job. Geeky Boy isn’t thinking about any of this, really, some of it, maybe. Certainly more than I did. I just thought about having “the college experience”.
To some extent, it’s all a crap shoot, which is exactly what many of my colleagues said of the academic job market years ago. Look how that’s worked out. While I try to remain practical and know that there’s always community college as a truly viable and affordable option, I can’t help but feel like the deck is stacked against us, and by us, I mean most of us.