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  1. #1
    Senior Member Lily flower's Avatar
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    Default Skipping the college experience

    I have been looking into ways for our children to complete college, and there are a lot of options out there. Online learning and things like CLEP tests, etc. can make college a lot cheaper. We have a lot of children and not a lot of money, so we are trying to make some good decisions.

    What concerns me is that if our children do an "alternative" route to getting a college degree, that they will be missing out on a great experience. College was one of the greatest experiences of my life. My husband points out that even great experiences are not really worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    So what do you think?

  2. #2
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    I'm in college right now. Yes it's fun...but if my kids weren't to go, i dont think theyd be missing much. College these days is more about the experience, like you said. It's an interesting experience, but unless you are here to use the lab facilities, then there really isn't that much you need to actually be here. I have a lot of friends that take online classes despite living 5 minutes from campus. Why? They are more flexible..

    That being said, education is paramount.

  3. #3
    *hmmms* theadoor's Avatar
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    I don't think you should tell your kids not to go to college. They should make their own choices. Give them a fixed amount of money, date when they're expected to move out the latest and a chance to make choices on their own, whether it be college, travel, new car or own business. I sometimes wish my parents wouldn't have secured it all for me and I had to figure out how&what I want to do with my life on my own. Maybe then I would've appreciated my current situation and wouldn't be so afraid of making less mainstream and perhaps also wiser and more economical choices.
    Save your and your children's money and leave that experience out, unless your children are so academically capable that they can earn very generous, close to full ride scholarships (and hence also show that academic work is relevant for their future plans) and pay for it on their own. I might not be the one to speak as I'm still a freshman and European (though I do attend a LAC), nevertheless after 3 months of studying I've already started to question the worth of my ''elite'' (yet in comparison relatively cheap) education both money and time wise, although yes- admittedly it's both challenging and FUN. But even though my parents are paying for everything (and it is certainly convenient) I am considering to drop out after the first year if nothing changes, because I don't see how this would lead me to discovering my own unique path and set of values.
    Furthermore, the fact is that nowadays unless you're going for something super-technical like engineering, architecture or life&earth sciences, your education might even harm your chances for employment, especially if your grades are average. Somebody with no degree but tons of experience and relevant accomplishments looks a lot more impressive than somebody with a degree and same accomplishments, because people simply like to blame the accomplishments on the education, which in reality is rarely the case. Therefore, yes, college is an experience, but it doesn't really employ you and there are experiences such as 4 years of traveling, working and volunteering that are far diverse, challenging and thought provoking than the 4 years of a homogenous campus bubble experience.
    Oh yeah?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Chloe's Avatar
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    didnt read the whole thread but a bit offtopic - if you cant finance your kids college maybe you can send them to Europe somewhere in university you trust, it is MUCH MUCH cheper + BS degree is 3 years...
    i know it depends would your kids like to, but some would probably..

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    Senior Member The Outsider's Avatar
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    Is it really that expensive?

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    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lily flower View Post
    I have been looking into ways for our children to complete college, and there are a lot of options out there. Online learning and things like CLEP tests, etc. can make college a lot cheaper. We have a lot of children and not a lot of money, so we are trying to make some good decisions.

    What concerns me is that if our children do an "alternative" route to getting a college degree, that they will be missing out on a great experience. College was one of the greatest experiences of my life. My husband points out that even great experiences are not really worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    So what do you think?
    I think you tell them what you can contribute. They then have a choice as to where they go, how expensive that option is, how much debt they want to take on etc. You can advise them on that but in the end, it should be their decision.

    I wanted to go to an Ivy league school. Then I figured out that I was going to have to take out massive loans to do it and so I ended up going to a much less expensive state school. I also then worked all the way through college. I had some loans but not too much. It was less expensive back then. In the US, community colleges are one option - for the first two years - though the standard/bar seems lower than a university (though teaching may be actually better).

    One thing where they can use guidance is on options and to thoroughly investigate them. I found out after I started that if I had applied for it that I would have had a full tuition paid scholarship for 4 years because of my class rank and ACT scores. It would have saved me and my parents a bundle of money. There are schools that do these kinds of things because they are trying to get the better students to go there. Sometimes they are the very best schools and sometimes they are ok/good. Many of them do it though.

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    Senior Member Tiger Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lily flower View Post
    I have been looking into ways for our children to complete college, and there are a lot of options out there. Online learning and things like CLEP tests, etc. can make college a lot cheaper. We have a lot of children and not a lot of money, so we are trying to make some good decisions.

    What concerns me is that if our children do an "alternative" route to getting a college degree, that they will be missing out on a great experience. College was one of the greatest experiences of my life. My husband points out that even great experiences are not really worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    So what do you think?
    College is great and opens a tremendous number of opportunities but you know that. If I were you I would advise them to CLEP as many courses as allowed by the school/major of choice, more than the max would waste time and money. Then consider doing 2 years at a community college to get all the pre-reqs and gen ed courses done on the cheap. Many community colleges have guaranteed admission agreements with nearby universities if grade requirements are met. Also, it is easier to work part or full time through community college to defer costs of the 2 years at state or private U. NEVER buy textbooks new, they lose value quickly and unless it is something that will still be good in 40 years (anatomy atlas) there is little point keeping them year to year. Buy the cheapest books you can find, use them and then sell or trade them for the next course book. Start looking for scholarships early and apply to many. That was my biggest mistake was not taking advantage of all the opportunities for getting school paid for.
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  8. #8
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lily flower View Post
    I have been looking into ways for our children to complete college, and there are a lot of options out there. Online learning and things like CLEP tests, etc. can make college a lot cheaper. We have a lot of children and not a lot of money, so we are trying to make some good decisions.

    What concerns me is that if our children do an "alternative" route to getting a college degree, that they will be missing out on a great experience. College was one of the greatest experiences of my life. My husband points out that even great experiences are not really worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    So what do you think?
    I'd keep in mind that a lot of what you're getting out of college is also a network of people who are more likely to be able to hook you up. Now, that network today is more diluted than it was in the past, but generally speaking, people with money send their kids to college, and they ensure that their acquaintance gets their kid an internship . . .

    It's not just the education but also the culture. Teach them that it's not the dumbest person who gets fired from their job, but the one who doesn't fit in at work.

    So maybe they can community college their way through the first 2 years (ensure they're going to one that's hooked up with state universities--some are really hooked up and others will experience major hurdles).

    Americans also all live on campus. This is financially outrageous to almost every other nation. If you can live in a city where they can live with you while getting an education, make them live at home if you're planning on helping them out.

    Also, see if they can knock off as many AP credits as they can beforehand.

    Also, if they can game the system in terms of workload (going to ratemyprof and by word of mouth), they might be able to keep up with a significant part time job while still getting okay grades.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member tkae.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lily flower View Post
    I have been looking into ways for our children to complete college, and there are a lot of options out there. Online learning and things like CLEP tests, etc. can make college a lot cheaper. We have a lot of children and not a lot of money, so we are trying to make some good decisions.

    What concerns me is that if our children do an "alternative" route to getting a college degree, that they will be missing out on a great experience. College was one of the greatest experiences of my life. My husband points out that even great experiences are not really worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    So what do you think?
    I don't think it's so much the "experience" as it is basic quality of education. Online courses and clepping out of things isn't always the best way for someone to learn. It's for people who mesh with it, right?

    I think the best bet for the kids is to go for scholarships. Also, picking a cost-efficient college is a good way to go. I go to a state college that has a good program in what I'm interested in, and the tuition is roughly 3-3.2k a semester, and my HOPE scholarship covers 2k of that. A music scholarship they offered me hacks into another 800 of that, so I pay 200 to 400, and other various scholarships I've picked up along the way give me a refund of about 200.

    So the best advice isn't cutting corners, but it's getting scholarships and going to state schools. Not necessarily community colleges, but state universities. So...

    Hopefully/preferably a school where relatives live. Living with my mom saves me a TON of money. And fraternities/sororities will be out of the question (the fees are ungodly...).

    But cutting corners on the quality of the education isn't where you want to cut. If they're the type to enjoy college and to be in it for more than the degree, then the other stuff won't matter. The partying and the fraternities and such. They'll be happy with just the classes and the learning.

    Otherwise, you're paying a shit ton of money for a partying experience, which they can get at a community college for 1/4 the cost.

    So... hope that helped a little
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  10. #10
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    Best places to find scholarships is through the college/uni and local places. Also most scholarships are needs based.
    Rent (sometimes the books are half off the list price), buy used textbooks, or the ebook version (sometimes it's the cheapest)
    Don't live in the dorms
    Buy your own groceries (the meal plans are expensive and the food mediocre)
    Community college + state school= best value money wise
    The child needs to make sure he knows what he wants to get into because changing majors can add additional costs of classes.
    AP classes/ also does your state have something like running start or PSEO (programs that allow HS students to take college courses in place of some of the hs courses for free)? @Lily flower? http://www.k12.wa.us/SecondaryEducat...ningStart.aspx

    I would say in person instruction is better than online

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