The bad news is that we're still figuring out which college J will be attending in the fall.
Here are the options (even if they're not REALLY all options) in alphabetical order:
Bard College :: Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Bennington College :: North Bennington, VT
Goucher College :: Towson (suburb of Baltimore), MD
Hampshire College :: Amherst, MA
Macaulay Honors College at Hunter (CUNY) :: New York, NY
New College of Florida :: Sarasota, FL
New Paltz (SUNY) :: New Paltz, NY
Skidmore College :: Saratoga Springs, NY
University of Vermont :: Burlington, VT
Bennington, Hampshire, and UVM are pretty much out due to net cost. Goucher is pretty much out because the net cost, even with a $20,000/year merit scholarship, doesn't seem worth it over the others left on the table. (Sorry, Goucher - we still love you anyway.) It's hard to believe that even with that big of a merit scholarship, the price still doesn't compare favorably with some of the other "better" schools. For sure, this is a wild ride!
We have one piece of the puzzle left, and that's the financial aid package for Bard. Ugh! They're not sending the packages out until the week of April 8th (that's SO late!). He got accepted way back in December, and this long wait for the financial info is frustrating. Bard has always been at the very top of J's list, so the long wait is especially frustrating. <sigh>
So who does that leave? Macaulay, New College of Florida, New Paltz, and Skidmore.
Macaulay would offer tremendous opportunities that not a lot of kids get and it's a terrific deal financially, but one has to admit it's also a little intimidating - moving down to Manhattan at 18 years old and meeting the requirements of the program (honors courses, minimum GPA requirement, community service hours). We're going down for a few days in a couple of weeks to spend some time meeting students, touring the campus, looking at the dorm, taking the subway between the dorm and main campus, etc., so that should either make him feel much more comfortable or freak him out. LOL
New College of Florida is totally awesome and is quite a deal for what it offers. Unfortunately, it's farther away than J would like to be, so it's having trouble competing against the viable options closer to home.
New Paltz is one of the better and "hotter" SUNY schools, but it's always been far down on J's list. Unfortunately, that Open House last fall just didn't leave the best impression. In hindsight, sometimes I wonder if we should have picked another one or two SUNY schools for him to apply to, but I still can't really envision another one being a better fit for him than New Paltz.
And Skidmore. Skidmore has a great academic program and a fabulous location (who DOESN'T love Saratoga?!), but we have a bit of concern about the student mix - <ahem> that he'd be thrown in with a whole lot of really rich kids. I don't know how big of a deal that is, but I don't think I'd love being thrown into a round-the-clock environment where the vast majority of folks around me had significantly more wealth. It just seems like it might not be the best fit. I don't know though. Maybe that doesn't matter so much???
Realistically, it seems to me that we're for the most part looking at either Macaulay or Bard, contingent on the financial aid Bard offers, and that Skidmore and New College of Florida are still in the picture but for the time being off on the sideline.
One thing I DO know for sure? I will be so relieved when the final decision has been made! Hopefully soon, hopefully soon, hopefully soon. . .