Like many parents, I found myself worrying about college as my oldest prepared to begin high school. I was worried about the impact playing the US admissions game would have on him (as well as our family). Teens are sleep-deprived, anxious, and burned out by the resume building and pressure to achieve more, all in the name of getting into a “good” college. And most of us are aware of kids who checked all the boxes, and still didn’t get into the schools they applied to. In fact the acceptance rate drop between 2017-22 is remarkable at many schools. For instance, Boston College went from 32% to 16%, Oberlin College went from 33.72% to 9.23%, New York University went from 27.66% to 12.20%, and Tulane University went from 21.5% to 8.5%. In just FIVE years!
Of course, our other major concern had to do with the cost. We wanted our kids to have options beyond those in our home state of North Carolina. Though we put money away for college throughout their lives, our savings would not begin to scratch the surface of private or out of state tuition. In recent years, $50,000 per year is what the more expensive private universities were charging. Now, $75-80,000 is not unheard of!
These problems, along with concerns around the educational experience, employability and other issues on college campuses were on my mind, back in 2015, when I saw an article about an American who was studying for free in Germany-and his studies were conducted in English! This article prompted me to research the possibilities in Europe for my own kids. I learned enough about the possibilities and the benefits to realize that more families would also be interested in these options. I also discovered how difficult it was to find this information as there was no single source of objective information about the options throughout EU countries.
I spent a year visiting universities in Europe, learning about the education systems and admissions requirements of the various European countries, and meeting with students and administrators to learn what I knew other parents would want to know when considering these options. We have since helped thousands of families and students navigate the exciting options in Europe (including my own son).
It’s hard to think of a major decision in life in which we don’t thoroughly explore our options. Many of us do extensive research around which car to buy, where to go on vacation, where to buy the best produce, summer camp options, dog breeds, and so much more! Yet, when it comes to college many people confine their research to US schools. I encourage you to spend time digging into the possibilities. Like many of our members, you might find that the options far surpass your expectations and hold incredible possibilities for you or your teen. Or, like my own daughter, you might look thoroughly into the options and find that a US school better fits your needs. Either way, by doing this research you are making an informed decision, as opposed to one that you'll be pushed into.