This will be boring for many, forgive me, first time with a teenager with my own bloodlines.
First of all, she has already been accepted to Missouri U. and with solid offers to St.louis U. and Washington U. in St.louis.
She wants to be a medical doctor and has stated this since she was 15. Who am I to crush her dreams?
Her grades are nearly 4.0 the calculus score brought it down… she has little interest in higher math.
She is a mommas girl and wants to stay close to home, she loves me but it is obvious who the favorite is.
Her Mother and I are ex’s but participate in all of her activities.
Finances are also in play, I can afford MU but not Washington U at this time, my ex feels the same. Should we just admit that we can’t afford the high end college at this time?
Any medical doctors advice would be welcome of course.
I should add that she is really shy although she does not lack in friends and I for once like her choice in a boyfriend.
Are you being really aggressive with scholarship options and other financial aid? The really good schools like Washington U are often the most affordable to good students that don’t come from wealthy families. I wouldn’t hesitate to let her apply to any of the best schools she has a reasonable chance of getting into and waiting to see what the financial aid package looks like.
She doesn’t need to go to the best schools to achieve her dreams, and if she’s good, she’ll get scholarships. She’s smart, who cares, let live her life, even if she has social problems. I was the same and I eventually evolved.
I respect your opinion shagnasty, but we have been informed or strongly hinted via form letters that we make too much money for conventional student loans. I wasn’t aware that 80k combined was considered rich, sigh.
What is your opinion going to a 4 year state college first and then maybe go to a highly regarded University afterwards.
Stating she is 17 and confused is a contradiction, I just don’t want her to get in over her head. She probably is a little immature for her age so that worries me as well.
Between financial aid and loans (no scholarships for either of us), my single mother was able to put me through Wash U. while my sister was at Bryn Mawr. Granted, it’s quite a bit more expensive now, but if you’re creative enough, I imagine you can swing it.
(Obviously I’m biased.)
ETA: Missed your last post. If need based financial aid isn’t available, I would go after the scholarships hard.
And as for going to private school after state school, my second stint at Wash U. (as a Master’s student) was free, with a stipend. I think they offer that in most programs, but don’t quote me on that.
My usual (granted, cynical) advice is to go to the most prestigious school you can get into, for two reasons. First, some grad schools care, and if you want to be a doctor, you want a fancy school listed on your degree when you’re applying. Second, high-class schools draw a high-class crowd (YMMV), and these are the peers with whom you’ll be transitioning into adulthood and independence.
However, the most important thing you learn as an undergrad is how to live away from mom and dad. I think this consideration outweighs the two factors mentioned above. Columbia is what - two hours from StL? That’s far enough that she won’t be coming home three times a week and close enough that she can still spend weekends in her old room when she gets homesick.
I grew up in Kansas City, where the KU/MU rivalry is huge, so I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I would recommend MU even if money weren’t an issue. If you really shine as an undergrad in a good school (and MU, admittedly, is a good school), grad programs won’t care if it’s not Stanford.
Did she look at Truman State? It’s a little further than MU, but the academics are comparable to Wash U, and it’s cheaper than MU. The only problem is that it’s in Kirksville: the armpit of the universe.
This is nonsense. My parents made significantly more than that and paid for my undergraduate education with cheap loans. There may have been some tax fudging involved, but really, nobody cares.
And after I graduated, I declared myself financially independent, and am now paying for law school partly with scholarships, but partly with ridiculously, criminally, ludicrously cheap federally subsidized loans.
Has your daughter filled out a FAFSA yet? (Not you. Her.)
She can do it that way. I went to a well-known private school for undergrad and an Ivy League school (Dartmouth) for grad. Both of those just fell in my lap and I adored all of it just because of the peripheral things that go along with being at a great university with lots of money and prestige.
However, you can get a good education at just about any reasonable 4-year college in the U.S. There are plenty if not most doctors who came from such schools. I just met my cousin’s husband two weeks ago at my brother’s wedding. He is an obviously well put-together primary care physician who went to a 2nd tier school in the Louisiana public university system. My schools were better but he probably got a more favorable outcome.
I think the main advantages of the prestigious universities are that you have other outstanding students as role models and there are more resources to be had so it reinforces the idea that the sky is the limit. You can do great almost academically almost anywhere but it may be harder to judge expectations if you are the only one around that aspires to be a doctor.
I think the 80K limit is ludicrous BTW. Are you sure that is right? You could hardly keep two kids in clothes while living in a 1000 square foot ranch in a raunchy town on that here in the Boston area. Some people do it but I have never figured out how. Even spending 5K a year on college tuition would be a big hardship to many under such circumstances. I would think that other families like yours would have the same problem as you and the financial aid department at the schools would know how to address that.
Don’t base your decision on broad hints from any institution. Play it all the way through with all the possible colleges, seeing all the numbers. Don’t even hesitate to contest (civilly) the first round of financial awards. I guarantee that you will be surprised at the results. Probably pleasantly.
I am wondering how you perceive your daughter’s social ineptness to play into this decision.
I’ve heard (mostly from neuro-scientists on the Wash. U. faculty) that there are a lot of benefits to doing pre-med at a university that has a med. school.
I agree with this. You should fill out the FAFSA and wait to see what financial aid packages you get from each school before concluding that any particular school is too expensive. The state school may appear cheaper, but college tuition is often discounted, especially at the rich private schools. (And apparently Washington University is really rich; a website I found says that the school has a five billion dollar endowment.)
And I wouldn’t worry if your daughter was shy in high school; college can be a liberating experience.
I may be wrong, but when you fill out the Financial Aid Forms, don’t they in most cases get the financial info only from the person that the student lived with or provided most of their support? Financial Aid and Divorce
People love Wash U or hate it–I’ve known about 50/50 on that. It’s a very popular “safety” school: it was someone on these boards who said it was full of people who worked really, really hard in high school but weren’t smart enough for the Ivys and people that were smart enough for the Ivys but didn’t work very hard. If they have a weekend residence program I would STRONGLY suggest she do that before she decides.
I agree with applying and seeing how the financial aid shakes out. My experience was very similar to Shagnasty’s–generous financial aid from a private school and waiting list for financial aid from state schools.
I applied to Reed and was accepted, but ultimately chose a different school. Depending on the type of social ineptness that may or may not be a good call. It seemed very good for someone who needed freedom to find themselves and explore, not so much for someone who needed structure.
Also, IIRC the FAFSA has sections for the student and the parent. She should fill out her part, she will need the custodial (and perhaps other) parent’s help to fill out the other part, unless she’s been doing your taxes for the past couple of years.
If she is really interested in medicine, Columbia (MO) has one of the highest number of hospital beds per capita around. I think it’s slipped some since I went there (decades ago), but it still has a lot of medical facilities. The UMC hospital and the VA facilities are on campus, and there are lot of opportunities for students to work there. All of the pre-med students I knew ended up working at the hospitals before they were even applying for med school – and that experience helped in their applications.
Wash U also has a good pre-med program, but from my friend who went pre-med there I gather that there were more opportunities for students in med research, and not as many in practical or hospital environments. If she’s interested in med research rather than some kind of medical practice, Wash U would be the place to go.
I have friends doing research at SLU, and there’s apparently a lot of affiliation with Barnes, so I would imagine there are good opportunities for experience there, too. But UMC and Wash U are definitely both higher on the prestige ladder than SLU, and both more cosmopolitan. SLU is really dominated by the stay-at-homes – and if she’s planning on med school, she’ll be going away from home eventually, so may as well make the first steps now.
This sounds crappy, but have you considered making her carry some of the loans if she’s dead set on SLU or Wash U? I went to MU for three years, and it is a good school. But if I could have gone to SLU or Wash U (didn’t even apply because I was so set on the journalism thing in HS) I would have. Maybe you and your daughter should start scoping out all those random scholarships that are out there. There are tons, just gotta look for them, and some are really random. I could have gotten one because my dad is a union member, or because I’m a female of above-average height. Or maybe she can try out MU, then maybe transfer to Wash U or SLU (provided you check to see if enough credits will transfer over to be worth it) for the last two years or so. Or just stay at MU - but hopefully she’ll end up in a good dorm and meet the right friends. I didn’t, which is why I am at another school now. MU’s a huge school with all the stereotypes - the fratters and sorority girls, stoners, geeks, etc and it felt exactly like a huge high school to me. But I liked the academics. And there are a million freakin’ hospitals in Columbia, one on campus, so that’s a plus.
But let us know if she decides MU, I know I went there and another board member currently does, and we could give some good tips about professors and classes and campus life and stuff. And good chance I’ll end up back there after graduation to take some more classes and eventually try to do grad school there.
By all means wait until you get the financial aid letter before writing off any college. And if the aid isn’t enough, try calling the financial aid office and saying, “We really want to come here, but we’re having a hard time with the aid package. Is there any way you could help?” Often, if asked nicely, financial aid is available.