Wednesday, November 12, 2014

the next step

Madison with Nigel

High school is coming to a close for our youngest granddaughter, Madison, in fact she is not even at the local high school anymore, spending her days at the Ellijay campus of Dalton State College taking her last few high school classes and getting college credit for them. 

Madison has been thinking about and planning for college for a long time. She has taken all the college entrance exams and made application to colleges, and has been accepted to at least three. Now it is time for the next step, making the final choice of a full-time college to attend after high school graduation. She has been on many college campus visits, open house days, campus tours. Which one to choose? Why is it so hard?

So many things to think about, important choices like school colors, mascot, whether or not they have a good football team, distance from parents, is it a good party school?

But seriously, Madison does not use any of those criteria for choosing a school (well maybe the distance from parents). First of all, does it have the courses she needs for her dual degree in Physics and Engineering - she is looking for a college to begin study, then transfer to GA Tech. Second (and maybe most important), is how much will it cost? 

Berry College

She really likes Berry College, the beautiful campus. the small class sizes, the castle-like architecture, the deer, the 27,000 acres, the small town, the values, history, and tradition. Berry does partner with Georgia Tech for dual degree programs. But Berry is a private school and costs more than the state universities. There are scholarships and a few hoops to jump through before finding out exactly how much the cost will be. There has even been a hint that they would match offers from other colleges, which might involve more applications and personal visits and begging.

University of North Georgia

The University of North Georgia in Dahlonega is the closest state school to home. The campus is small, the town is small, it is close to home, the people are nice... but it's not Berry. Madison knows that UNG is cost-effective and the dual degree program is the same, so it is definitely in the backup plan. Dahlonega, Georgia is the site of the first major gold rush in the United States (see locally mined gold on steeple above!). 

UNG offers a lot of tradition and history also, and it is a military college. During the tour of campus, the student tour guide took us to the parade field and pointed out the cannon - the one that fires every day at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. when the flag is raised and lowered and when reveille and taps are played. He said at those times if you are a cadet you stop and stand at attention, if you are a civilian you stand in place, if you are driving by, you stop and get out of your car and stand in place - out of respect and tradition. I overheard a remark behind us in the group, "Or you plan to not be outside at 7 a.m. or 5 p.m., so you won't have to do that...". I guess some people don't understand respect and tradition and maybe shouldn't go to this college (but I held my tongue).

And THEN there is the University of Alabama... 

Big Al

Alabama... was not on Madison's radar at all until it popped up in an internet search for schools who offer FULL RIDE for students with ACT scores like Madi has. Whoa! Alabama? And they offer an additional $2500/semester if you go into the engineering program. But the question is - is an engineering degree from Alabama as good as one from say... Georgia Tech? just sayin'


Oh, and there was a visit to University of Georgia, but seriously, who would want to go there? It was just an excuse to get out of high school for a day. 

I hesitate to mention that she is following in the footsteps of some family members, some of whom went to UGA (sorry). And we grandparents who went to some of the other above-mentioned schools, but both ended up being college dropouts - and not (successful and prosperous) college dropouts like Bill Gates, so we won't even go there :)

So, she has a lot to think about, more paperwork to complete, maybe a list of pros and cons, and there is probably a spread sheet being planned in the near future to compare fees and scholarships, etc. The final offers come in February, we'll see who wants her the most, it will be interesting!


Madison, I think you'll make a helluva engineer!


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