Years ago I was sitting at a table in the second floor cafeteria of the college I was attending. I was gazing down on a carpet of green grass. It encircled the building and lent a quiet beauty.
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As I was chomping on corn bread (a personal favorite), I heard the word Pasadena followed by the initials PCC. This probably wouldn’t mean a lot to you, but it meant the world to me. I had grown up in Pasadena, California and my Junior year of high school was spent on the campus of Pasadena City College (PCC).
I glanced down the table and spied two young brown haired men. Standing, up, I began moving between the tables and inching my feet down the floor. Plopping myself down in an empty chair I blurted out, “why are you speaking about Pasadena, California and PCC?”
We started a conversation. It turned out these students had grown up in Pasadena. They met at PCC and realized that both wanted to graduate from a good college music program. They each lacked the money it would take so they decided to spend the first two years of college at a very low cost Junior College in California.
They did some research and realized that there was a college in the Midwest that would accept Junior College credits. They could transfer into this well known school for the last three (yes three) years and pick up a graduate degree in Music.
I was mesmerized to think that two young California men would travel from Pasadena to a St. Olaf College, a liberal arts school in a rural area of Minnesota.
Both of these men eventually graduated, and picked up their diplomas. At least one quickly returned to Pasadena where he eventually found a position at a church.
How did we cope?
When our time came, my husband and I discussed available education for our children. We had worked hard to provide shelter, housing, food, clothing, and transportation. What we did not have was enough money to send our daughter away to school.
I started thinking of the two male students I had met in Minnesota and how they had spent the first two years of their education at a two year city college. I wondered whether this would work for us and for our daughter.
I coached her to spend adequate time with her advisor, to make absolutely certain that her courses would be transferable, and to work hard at her studies. Following the first two years she would plan for transition to the state university.
The plan worked once again. She graduated with her four year degree. Later she decided to become a librarian. She applied for and was granted a substantial scholarship. She graduated with a master’s degree in this field.
Why am I telling you this?
I have watched, with mounting concern, information on the potentially catastrophic cost of attending a college or university. The yearly price of tuition for some four year colleges has risen to forty thousand dollars or more.
Some students have given up before applying. Some parents are in shock trying to fathom how they can help their children attain higher education.
What are you looking for in a school?
The choice of a school is dependent on many factors. It is one of the most important decisions that a parent and student can make.
They may be miles away from each other in the choice of college or university. There are issues which shouldn’t really matter, but often do:
- a family where everyone has always attended one particular school
- a parent who has wanted the child to attend a famous Ivy League setting
- a family that wants the very best
- an potentially missed opportunity for the parent and child to separate in a safe setting
- a child who wants to go to the school chosen by his other friend(s)
What do we do when there is an impasse. For example, what if the child wants to stay at home and attend a local college or university where he or she feels comfortable and safe.
Flexibility and Common Sense
In my opinion, the purpose of going on to advanced education is to successfully complete a course of study. The student is prepared for a career in which he or she can succeed.
If a son or daughter can attend a college or university and graduate, that child will have a much better chance for success than if he or she had not tried at all.
Posts on the topic
I am enclosing several web addresses with this post. They discuss different strategies that students and their families can use to achieve a college or university education. Some of these are controversial and you may not decide to use them.
They will give you a springboard for thought, discussion, and hopefully agreement.
My suggestion is to think through the process. Instead of getting bogged down in debt which will last for years, consider strategies. Be creative, listen to each other. Choose what appears to be the very best compromise and run with it.
Here are a few posts to ponder:
Lori Blatzheim is a wife, mother, grandmother, writer, thrift advocate, and retired nurse. She knows that use of Thrift can help people because she has experienced the benefits.