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 enthusiastically 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, and more.