“Baby, I broke them all for you…”

Tonight, I’m going to bed with a huge, happy, but bittersweet smile on my face.┬áMY daughter is going to Mount Holyoke in the fall. MHC is a school full of raging liberal feminists, a school whose slogan is “Uncommon Women.” Indeed, Aubrey is most definitely an uncommon woman, and a raging liberal.

Of course, this is all thanks to the common application, and a liberal misuse of my knowledge of her passwords. The common app makes it way too easy for parents to apply to schools for their child. All the essays, recommendations, and transcripts are all there. It really can be as simple as just a few clicks, and a child can be tossed into the mix for a school they said they didn’t even want.

It all started with Rockhurst. They were her first acceptance, and got her motivated to apply to more schools. We even visited Rockhurst, and she loved it there. She loved Kansas City, the Irish dance school nearby, the professors, and the university president. It seemed like the perfect place for her.

Meanwhile, she applied to several huge universities, including Hofstra, Emory, and Lawrence. After some exploration, an excellent media campaign on their part, and some prodding from me, she also applied to Agnes Scott College, an all girls’ school in Decatur, Georgia.

In spite of her saying she wasn’t interested, two days before the deadline, I applied to MHC for her. She was so pissed, she changed all of her passwords. She didn’t want to go to MHC. It didn’t make any sense, since she wanted to apply to Wellesley, but couldn’t because she found out way too late that they require at least two SAT subject tests. I knew if she liked Wellesley, she would love MHC. Once all the marketing material came rolling in (way past the application deadline), she said it didn’t sound too bad, but it wasn’t at the top of her list yet.

Then she visited Agnes Scott College. They had her seriously hooked, with talk of the Black Ring Mafia, the option of taking classes at Emory and Georgia Tech, but most of all, she was dying to go there because of their affiliation with the Center for Disease Control. As a biology major, they were all she could ask for…except their financial aid sucked. They only based the cost of attendance off tuition/room/board/books. It would end up costing us a fortune, on top of having to pay for Irish dance classes in Atlanta. When we said there was no way we could swing it, she bawled like a baby. Even worse, after seeing ASC, she no longer wanted to go to Rockhurst.

Finally, she started to take MHC seriously, and we waited anxiously to see if they would accept our non-custodial parent waiver request. Duane only pays his child support because the state takes it out of his check, and he’s made no effort to see her in seven years. It was highly unlikely he was going to fill out any forms on Aubrey’s behalf, especially not for college, and besides, we have no idea what his address is.

Meanwhile, I started looking at the MHC website, and told Aubrey about all the cool advantages to going there. They offer Irish dance class on campus, so there would be no additional cost for us. She could take classes at Amherst, Smith, Hampshire, and UMass. She could minor in cognitive neuroscience. They offer TWELVE different languages, not just French and Spanish. Their online dining menu has a filter for gluten-free options, including bagels, which she could easily eat by the pound. They don’t have sororities, because they ARE a sorority.

Once ASC was no longer on the table, we began stalking the MHC website to see what their financial aid would be. I almost threw up when I saw that their actual cost of attendance is as much as Ron’s gross pay. Almost to the penny. How could we ever afford it?

I was shocked at how incredibly generous their financial aid is. Unlike other schools, they base their CoA on actual costs, including personal/books/transportation. So even Ron, who was convinced there was no way we could ever afford to send her to such an exclusive private school, was amazed. Unlike everywhere else, our out of pocket costs really would be our total out of pocket cost, and it was cheaper than sending her anywhere else, including several in-state public schools.

When Aub and I looked at the award page, we both started screaming and crying. She is ecstatic; she’ll essentially be in Boston, and just a train ride away from her favorite city, New York. The networking opportunities are tremendous. She will be getting the highest quality education that will open doors for her to anywhere she wants to go.

So in a little over four months, I will put my baby on a plane, and send her to a city to which neither of us have ever been, where she will be for the next four to five years. I’ve said it before, but I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do without her. I will miss her, but there is no way I would ever take this away from her. I am so proud of her…how did I ever manage to raise such an amazing woman??

“I climbed across the mountain top, I swam all across the ocean blue, I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules, but baby, I broke them all for you.”

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