For many high school upperclassmen, fall is a time to get serious about college. There are scholarships to apply for, essays to write, and schools to visit. One high school student thinking a lot about college is Rebecca, a 16-year-old junior from Cleveland, Miss. In August, we spoke with Rebecca and her mother, Catherine, about how they planned to pay for college. It was a conversation they hadn’t had before. They spent Labor Day weekend having barbecue ribs and talking financial aid.
“We talked about why we chose to take on the debt for Sarah’s education at Tulane,” says Catherine, referring to her older daughter. “It was a choice we made that we knew that we were going to have to do this for her to go to this school that she wanted to go to and that was so good for her.”
“I’m not sure that that is something that I would want to do, to stay so close to home when there are so many places that I could go,” says Rebecca.
Catherine says in hindsight she wishes Sarah had gone to a local school first, instead of spending four years at Tulane. Both Catherine and Rebecca say that they don’t want to carry a lot of debt after graduating from college.
“It’s almost overwhelming to think of how many options that we all have,” says Rebecca.
But starting the college conversation has created a new perspective.
“Rebecca was all excited about her school ring and we had to send in the deposit, which we did. We sent it in and she went and they met with the representative and he filled out all the papers about what she had ordered online. And then we get this text from Rebecca that says: OMG, the amount of the ring is going to be this much and that’s way too much! And so she all of a sudden became very conscious and she told them to call them and tell them that she didn’t need that big of a ring,” says Catherine. “She’s starting to be aware that maybe a little bit of excessiveness is not necessary.”
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