Decisions, Decisions

It’s that time of year. Seniors need to decide on their college. Erin too. For her applications, she thought she wanted to go away to school. But now she’s having second thoughts, and has decided to go to a local community college for a year while she figures things out. Perhaps she’ll be a CSUN alum like her mom.




OK, the part about community college was just April foolin’. But it is college decision time. We’ve heard from all of the school we’re gonna hear from. She’s accepted at UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, UC Berkeley, American University (DC), Bard (NY), George Washington (DC), and Occidental. She’s waitlisted at Wash University St. Louis and Reed. She was rejected by Georgetown. Tulane, it turns out, never got her transcript :-(, and there’s nothing we can do about that now.

The leading candidates (depending, of course, on the financial packages offered) are: George Washington, UC Berkeley, and Bard. All are very different than each other. Remember: Erin’s current inclination is History and Political Science, perhaps with some anthropology thrown in. Bard is a small liberal arts campus in the middle of nowhere (90 min NW of New York), much like Reed. UC Berkely is a state-school, a commuter campus with a great reputation and excellent academics… but large classes. George Washington is in the heart of DC, next to the White House and the State Department, in an urban setting with non-urban facility about 30 minutes away on 26 wooded acres. GWU is the current favorite, but it all depends if we can swing the finances (as an aside, I’ve heard a rumor that you get more financial aid the 2nd year on, as you are more likely to finish with that college’s degree and give them a better return on investment… that might make it reasonable to spend more year 1).

As a dad, independent of the financial issues, I’d prefer GWU or Berkeley. For GWU, I have numerous friends and colleagues in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland areas that I know with strong confidence would be my local parental (or grandparental) representatives if she needed something. Berkeley is similar: we have so many friends in the Bay Area that would watch out for her. In terms of a future career with a history degree, GWU wins out here because of the internships she could get and the connections she could make. Berkeley is a close second. Bard is unknown.

The financial packages come out in the next two weeks, so here is hoping we get something that makes this all work, demonstrating the universe is behind a particular choice. It is interesting how this all worked: she has been accepted into none of the schools we visited on our college trips this summer, and other schools she thought would be right have turned out not to be ideal, on second thought. The whole college selection and application process seems to different than how I remember it to be in the 1970s. Back then, I think I just applied to the UC System (UCLA, Berkeley, and San Diego) and to USC, and didn’t think about the rest. Perhaps I applied to Wash U as well to make my mother happy… I don’t remember. Nowadays, there are just so many choices to investigate and so many financial considerations. It’s just a hard decision.

As always, thoughts are welcome.

Music: Color Me Barbra (Barbra Streisand): One Kiss