Today me and my daughter Sahar went to her New Student Orientation!!!! It was exciting for her and for me. Part of the excitement I felt, stemmed from the fact that she was as wholeheartedly excited as she was.
When we first began the big ole excitingly stressful and a bit scary conversation about next plans we talked about many options: take a gap year ad work, or go straight to college, and if straight to college, which time of program? At the time we began this discussion, she thought she wanted to be a nurse and when we talked schooling options, we attempted to cover the bases: A certificate program, 4 year program, 2 year program?
Eventually, and in part due to working at a nursing home in the Alzheimer and Dementia unit where she was witness to a number of experiences including the death of a handful of residents, she determined that being responsible for the life of another person was too much for her. After that, she decided on the other field that she had been considering… Dental Hygiene:
Once her decision was solid and she knew she wanted to go straight to school, the where to convo picked up again. One thing that was big on her list (as is on the lit of many teenagers) was that she really really wanted to have the “college” experience. Got it! Swirling around in my head became the funnel of dollar signs that just didn’t look like a picture that does not fit in the reality of our situation Knowing what I know about student aid debt and the way that it can impression borrowers, I knew that I needed to educate her on the options that would make the most sense for her Dental Hygiene plan, and the ones that would have the greatest return on investment.
So….. very carefully and treading a lightly as I could, I began to focus on the community college option. See we live in an area where four year academic institutions are the lay of the land, and because of that my girly felt a level of insecurity about what people would think if they she decided (on her own due to her mother’s strong arming) to choose a community college over a 4-year college or university.
That said, just know, that my suggestion did not go well, as the vision she had about what would be net for her, was quite different than mine! I talked to her about the pro’s and she came back with con’s. I mentioned the ridiculous cost involved with the dorm living meal plan eating component to having the “college experience,” and she challenged with the fact that no matter the cost, those two things contributed greatly to, the “College experience!”
The conversation continued over the next couple months, we visited colleges that offered a 4-year program, I kept reminding her that she could get the same Dental Hygiene education and experience at a community college, have many “college experience” opportunities. After all, some of her friends will be college and university campuses near us in the fall….. GO VISIT!!!!!
My biggest selling point, is that she can do all of those things without acquiring much (or any if we play our cards right) debt.
Sahar spoke with her guidance counselor, to friends, to adults she knows and trusts, her favorite dental hygienist who works at the office she goes to, and she heard amazing things about the community college at the top of her list and then…. at some point in clicked for her, that she could experience all of the thing that she had been hoping for, while also having the peace of mind in knowing that she would have a quality education, be ready to work in a field that is good.
Once she was able to acknowledge the benefits, and made up her mind, her entire level of comfort and confidence in telling people what her college plans would be, became easy talk between her and her friends. She even shared that she herself spoke of the benefits to one particular friends during a conversion.
All of that brings us to the New Student Orientation today! The campus is nice,
and has many of the fun offerings that 4-year institutions have: sports teams, student clubs, campus events, and more. As we walked around, I could feel an even greater positive shift in her energy, and my heart soared when she told me that she really likes the campus and is happy with what was ultimately… her decision!
When my first born child entered high school, I knew that I wanted to create a reality for her and eventually her bro, where they could go through a much school a possible with little to no debt if possible. Although the tuition portion of the overall bill is very minimal, my job of over a year, at a local university allowed at least that amount to be knowledge off! And my persistent and education filled conversations about the best choice for her… will pay off!!!!!
Community Colleges are great choice educational opportunities that can make great financial sense for many people. Consider it an option when speaking to your child children about what’s next.
I look forward to sharing more of this girl’s college journey!!!!!
Do you have a college journey to tell? If so, I’d like to hear it….