Two years ago, we had no idea that college in Europe was a possibility for our kids. This knowledge has absolutely changed our lives (outside from the creation of Beyond the States). I no longer worry about how we will pay for college; Sam, age 15, is able to limit the number of AP courses he takes and focus on areas of interest for him; and I’m really excited about the prospects. One of the reasons we started Beyond the States was to let other parents and students know about these options. Even if you don’t end up going the European route, it’s nice to know that you have looked at your alternatives and are making a choice based on the needs, strengths, preferences of your family and your student.
As a parent, I would hope that my kids would get exposure to the various alternatives through high school. I know that counselors are often over- worked and would not expect them to seek all this information out on their own, but I would hope that if they had the opportunity to present kids with options in a way that is free and within a structure they already use, that they would. Sadly, this is not always the case.
We are spending some time this fall visiting high schools and doing free information nights. High schools have different ways to accommodate visits about colleges and we have been enthusiatically welcomed by about 60% of the schools we have contacted. What blows me away is the response from the other 40%! Some have legitimate district-wide policies that prevent a visit, because we are not a non-profit. Ironically, private US universities do have non profit status-interesting perspective on that here. What I find even more crazy are the schools that have told us some variation of “We don’t think our students would be interested in that…” Really? None of your 1,500 students will struggle with tuition in the US? None are interested in limiting their number of AP courses? None would love the opportunity to explore Europe? I find the acceptance of the status quo baffling. Few would say that there aren’t issues with US higher education (cost, admissions processes, quality of undergraduate experience). Most would agree that at least one of them is a legitimate issue. So why aren’t they letting their students know that there are options that provide solutions?
Ok, I’m done with my rant now and will get off my soapbox. The reason I’m telling you this is so that you can help us spread the word. We have a lot of opportunities for parents and students to receive free information. We have blogs, Facebook posts, webinars, school visits, and parent information nights. More information about all of these is below. If you live in an area we are visiting and your school isn’t listed, let your counselor know. They can contact me directly and I’ll be happy to schedule it. If you or your teen attends one of the schools listed, check Naviance or shoot me an email and I’ll let you know when I’ll be there. I’d love to meet you! If you know students or parents who might be interested in one of our local events, please share this information. (If you’re not in one of these areas, don’t despair! Just sign up for one of our webinars.)
Chicago is my hometown and I miss it tremendously! Though visiting in the fall always makes me want to move back, I have two upcoming visits. This week I am in town for just a few days making visits to Oak Park-River Forest High School, St. Ignatius College Prep, and participating in the college fair at the British International School. I’ll be back mid October (to see Hamilton!) and visit more schools. We’re already on the schedule for Lincoln Park High School and Trinity School and have more availability this week. I’ll be scheduling an information night for this week as well. Details should be on our website next week.
This is where we live, so we have two parent nights schedule in this area. We will be in Chapel Hill the evening of October 5th and Raleigh on October 6th. One of the students we helped (Jared, Part 1) is a Chapel Hill High School graduate and is now studying in Europe with a tuition of under $1,000 a year!
I have two trips planned here (one the end of September and the other the 1st week of November) so that I can visit Montgomery County schools as well as those in Northern Virginia. School visits are already scheduled at Walt Whitman High School, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Walter Johnson High School, Winston Churchill High School, and George Mason High School. We have evening information sessions scheduled in Bethesda, MD on 9/28, Germantown, MD on 9/29 and Falls Church, VA on 10/30. You can sign up for one of these sessions here.
I’ll be at Maggie Walker Governor’s School on October 14th.
Our next webinar is on Sunday the 18th at 1:30 pm. I’ll be covering the program choices in Europe as well as the academic differences. On October 9th our webinar will go over the various admissions processes and requirements and on November 13th I will present on student life and housing.
All of the information sessions and webinars are free, but do require registration. We are still scheduling visits, so be sure to let us know if you live in one of the above areas and would like us to visit your school.