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vent/advice wanted (long)

My SIL is graduating in the spring and has been applying to college. She goes to a private college prep high school. Almost all of the colleges that come visit the school are private catholic schools that cost a ton and are picky about who they let in. Most of the kids in her school have outstanding grades and end up getting scholarships because they are at or below poverty line.

DH has been helping her, going to college meetings at school, looking for schorlarships, advising her about her college essay, etc. Last week I asked her if she decided which schoold to apply for (her school will pay for up to 7 application fees.) She started acting odd and finally said a list under her breath. Turns out she hasn't talked to MIL at all about her college plans. All of the schools she applied to are private catholic schools and out of state. She told me her "back-up plan is Regis." MIL overheard us talking and got very upset saying she needs to apply to places here, school costs too much and she should just stay here where it is cheaper. We as in DH, both SIL's and myself think she just doesn't want her to leave state.

Anyway the problem is she doesn't have the grades or test scores to get into any of these schools. She has a C-B average and didn't do too hot on her ACTs. At this point we are all worried that when she gets all 7 of those denial letters she is going to feel defeated, upset, not worthy of going to a "good" school,  and start making excuses.  My other SIL thinks she is applying to schools she can't get into on purpose to stay here with her loser boyfriend who probably will not graduate. She tried to talk to her little sister but came off more as attacking and never got to the point because it turned into a fight.

MIL has tried to talk to her but she will not mention a single thing about college. She shuts her out and walks away. The only people she seems to be talking to is DH and myself. He wants to talk to her but doesn't want to come off as he doesn't believe in her and crush her dreams sort of attitude. My MIL thinks we should force her to apply to other schools but I don't think that is going to go over well. She has pretty much checked out of the situation and told DH it is his responsibility to make sure she gets into a school she will like. Hos other sister agrees with his mom and says since he is the "man" of the family he needs to force her to do what the family wants.

DH called her college adviser and she told DH that it is sad that we don't believe in SIL and give her more credit. She gave him zero advise and told him she has reached the limit the school will allow her to apply to. I think this is crap and the adviser is not being realistic with SIL.

She has only considered schools with smaller classroom size, are out of state, and are in a medium-large city. She has less than 2 months to apply to some schools and we have no idea how to get through to her. I am really frustrated with everyone in this situation and DH feels guilty if he doesn't try because of his mom and sister. At this point I am trying to help him come up with a successful way of aproaching SIL because I am concerend about her getting into a school.

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Re: vent/advice wanted (long)

  • This sounds a little bit like a lesson that college-bound SIL needs to learn herself. Maybe she will get into one of those schools and it will be exactly what she wants. If she doesn't get into any of them, then she can start looking local. She's nearly (if not already) 18, and once in college will be making choices by herself without all of this family input anyway. While the family input is good, ultimately the student needs to be the one who likes where they are going and feels comfortable there.

    It might be worth touring a few of the local colleges to give her an idea of what they are like, and if able, tour one of the out of state ones too. The "feel" does mean a lot.

    DH needs to remind the rest of the family that ultimately it's her decision, and while he can guide and help her get applications in, look at her options, etc, his hands are kind of tied when it comes to making the final decision for her. the more the family pushes one way, my guess is the more she's going to push back the other way.

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  • It sounds like maybe she isn't even ready for college. Do you think she can go and be successful?

    Maybe she should take a year at a community college to get her feet wet.

    If you think she's ready, then I'd sit down and have a clear cut conversation with her. You applied for these schools and these scholarships. What if your plan if you do not get in and get the financial aid you need?

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  • It really sounds like everyone needs to back up a ton and ultimately let her make her choices and let the chips fall where they may.

    You've done all you can short of applying for her, signing her name to applications and driving her butt to drop her off on the school doorstep.  Done and done.  

    And absolutely ditto what others have said - college is not a must-do.  Sorry, it just isn't.  Look at the rate of return on investment with people graduating with degrees, facing decades of school loan debt, and the only place they can get hired is a local Starbucks.

    Ugh, I feel pressured after that post.  Might be time to empty the pressure cooker.

    ChallengeAcceptedMeme_TwoParty
  • Ugh - HS senior girls = giant raw nerve.

    I think the only hope your DH has if he wants to try and help is to sit down with a copy of her grades and ACT score and the stats for those accepted at the colleges where she has applied and try to show her the difference in a matter-of-fact kind of way. Is she looking in a certain area of the country?  Maybe he could find some smaller schools in those areas with stats that match hers a bit better and show her those?

    College application time at our house was horrifying and emotional -with Dr Sissy and I both behaving like total nut jobs about applications, denial letters, what was happening with our friends in their process, etc...

    My dad spent like 6 months hanging in the garage doing random projects just to stay away from the angst.

    In the end, it is her life to live however she chooses, and the family will have to see that or risk really driving her away.

     

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  • Here's the thing...she's the one who has to live with the decision, so she's the one who should be making the decision.  As hard as it is to watch the possibility of a train wreck, there is NOTHING anyone can tell her that is going to make her do something she doesn't truly want to do - whether that's actually school, or staying with the boyfriend, or working. 

    The best thing I think your DH and you can do is make sure she knows you're there to help her no matter what she decides or what she needs help to do.  If she wants to apply to all those schools, then let her.  If/when she gets rejected, she'll do something else. 

    Trying to force her into something is only going to make her shut down. 

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  • I don't think there's anything you can, or should do.   This is a decision she needs to make for herself.  If she isn't motivated to apply herself she isn't ready to college.  I agree with Druid.   It sounds like there is too much pressure coming at her from all sides already. If people back off, she'll have more space to take a deep breath and decide what's right for her right now.   And if she chooses to not go for now, so be it.  That doesn't mean her life is over.   She can go back later. Heck it took me almost six years to get out of undergrad.  Then I changed careers and went to law school.  Now 10 years of practice later, I want to do something else.   It doesn't all have to be set in stone at 18.
  • image RoxBride:

    It sounds like maybe she isn't even ready for college. Do you think she can go and be successful? Yes and no she is very young for 18. I think if she goes away she will be more successful because she will get away from everyone here.

    Maybe she should take a year at a community college to get her feet wet.

    If you think she's ready, then I'd sit down and have a clear cut conversation with her. You applied for these schools and these scholarships. What if your plan if you do not get in and get the financial aid you need? See this is the problem. She "knows" she will get into one of them. She is either in denial or she isn't realistic. Actually I think this is really the main problem other than MIL/SIL.

    Just to going to respond to everyone else here: 

    Right now I think if she chose not to go to college or didn't get into one it would be a big strain and fight in DH's family. MIL has paid a lot of money for her to go to this private high school in order for her to go onto college. My other SIL would become very bitter with younger SIL because of the money spent and it would really get nasty.

    Right now DH is thinking of taking her up to UNC and CSU to show her around. He might also take her to schools in wyoming and utah. She has no real area she want to be in, just far from here. Like I said she is really young, She doesn't know how to drive, hasn't had a job, she has never had to deal with life because her mother and sister make sure she does the right thing. This whole thing is a mess and I would like for us to just wash our hands but I know DH will not let it go.

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  • image LBaker19:

    Right now I think if she chose not to go to college or didn't get into one it would be a big strain and fight in DH's family. MIL has paid a lot of money for her to go to this private high school in order for her to go onto college. My other SIL would become very bitter with younger SIL because of the money spent and it would really get nasty.

    Right now DH is thinking of taking her up to UNC and CSU to show her around. He might also take her to schools in wyoming and utah. She has no real area she want to be in, just far from here. Like I said she is really young, She doesn't know how to drive, hasn't had a job, she has never had to deal with life because her mother and sister make sure she does the right thing. This whole thing is a mess and I would like for us to just wash our hands but I know DH will not let it go.


    And therein lies the problem.  He (or mom or whoever) will be doing this for her forever.  She has to learn.  If it causes strain, well, that's for HER to worry about.  I understand your DH's desire to make sure it's all smooth and easy, but this is the kind of thing that ends up with you and your DH buying her books or moving all her stuff every semester or her ending up on your couch.  She's an adult and it's time she started acting like one - including living with the consequences of her decisions or lack thereof.

    Also, if she's in denial about that kind of stuff, the only thing that's going to bring her out of it is getting rejected and having no other plan.  Let her do her thing.  If she asks your DH to take her on campus visits to CSU and UNC, then do it, but there's no reason (and it would be a waste of time) for him to do it now.

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  • image todds_wife:

    I think the only hope your DH has if he wants to try and help is to sit down with a copy of her grades and ACT score and the stats for those accepted at the colleges where she has applied and try to show her the difference in a matter-of-fact kind of way. Is she looking in a certain area of the country?  Maybe he could find some smaller schools in those areas with stats that match hers a bit better and show her those?

    I think if your DH won't stay out of it, this would be the best approach.

    Maybe under the guise of applying for scholarships?

    I'm thinking the conversation could like this:

    DH: So, since you've applied to these schools, we should probably look at stats on the scholarships they give out.

    SIL: Why not?

    DH: Oh, it looks like St. Mary's gives out $1k to anybody in the top 10% of their admissions class, and $500 for 20%. Have you checked admissions rankings?

    SIL: No, I just know the minimums.

    DH: Well, their median ACT and GPA is a 26/3.5. Oh, guess that rules that scholarship out. Let's look at College of Not Colorado... oh, same thing. Darn.

     DH: Hmm.. maybe we could check CSU/CU/UNC/Metro. Hey, they have the same deal but you'd be in their top 20%! Cool. That is basically free money to go there! *add more excitement here*

    Maybe you guys could also offer to cover one in state and one out of state public school app of her choice?  My parents did this for my sister- it back fired because she still wanted to go to really expensive theater school in NYC, but at least she knew she had a back up of getting into two other schools in case NYC fell through.

     

     

  • Also consider this:  your DH and the ILs can hem and haw and make her get into a college until the cows come home. 

    But she's the one electing to go to class.  Or sleep in.  Or not study.  Or not do homework because, darn it all, she's not even at the school she wanted to go to.  

    What comes next?  "It's all YOUR fault - all of you - for making me go somewhere I didn't want to go!!!"  

    Goodbye, tuition.  Goodbye semester(s).  Goodbye manufactured peace at home.  

    And we're back to why she has to decide on her college.  Here's two more cents (and hopefully my last):  help her visit campuses and even complete applications.  But the second those acceptance/rejection letters come back, hands off.

    ChallengeAcceptedMeme_TwoParty
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