Monday, November 22, 2010

College Concerns

I'm getting nervous.

B19, in his first semester of college, is struggling.  (I wasn't sure about going public with this, but he has, on Facebook, so I guess I can comment.)

The first semester of college is a big adjustment for most kids, and that's even more true for one who has required a fair amount of assistance throughout high school.  But I'm worried that this may be more than just an adjustment issue.  We are questioning whether full-time college is the right fit for B19, and whether we should keep on paying for it.

I know that other parents find themselves faced with the same decision, when their student is suffering from lack of motivation or priorities.  But they usually know that their child is capable of doing the work, if he or she were making good choices.  We're just not sure about B19's ability to make it through four years of college. He's having difficulty following through on some of the basics, like turning in difficult assignments, or signing up for tutoring help, and in one class, he never told us that he didn't have the book and software that he needed to do the assignments.  (He ended up having to drop it, taking him from 12 hours down to 9 hours, making those 9 credits very expensive ones.)   He has to take more than 12 hours a semester, or the overall cost becomes ridiculous, but we're unsure if he'll be able to handle much more.  And he's gained a lot of weight from eating in the dining hall.

He's now signed up for a weekly check-in with a mentor at the tutoring center, and I have asked his adviser for some assessment and her input on whether he should continue.  We're just in a wait-and-see position.

College has been a positive experience for him, and I don't regret sending him.  But we do need wisdom about whether to let him continue as a full-time, on-campus student.  It might be a better use of resources to have him live at home and take a class or two at a time, and there's a higher probability that he could be successful at that pace.  But that decision would raise many other issues, such as how he'll get to classes or to work, and how we help him become more independent in the long term. It puts responsibility for him back on our shoulders, in many ways...not that sending him to college removed it, but we had hoped that it would begin to transfer to him.

So pray with us and for us. And I'd love to hear any advice, wisdom, or experience anyone has to offer!

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