Sneak Off To Another College?

by Judge Josh on January 25, 2011

Aly is a daring lass with a plan that might actually make a great screenplay, as long as there were a lot of screwball antics and coming-of-age challenges to overcome triumphantly.

Dear Josh,

My parents have decided that instead of allowing me to go off to college next year, they want me to attend a local, community college instead.

Gotcha. Well, you probably know that’s an idea I tend to endorse a lot around here for some people, depending on what their plans are.

I know that this isn’t the right path for me, and I am determined to go off to the college I’ve chosen.

Gotcha. I don’t really have any details of what you want to do or what you’re looking for in an education, so I can’t add much perspective there. I’ll take your word for it, though.

College or bust

College or bust.

I already have a way of getting to said college, and my friends have said that they would help me, but I’m afraid of getting caught.

Hmm, I’m filling in a lot of blanks on my own here, so bare with me. I assume you mean that someone can physically transport you to the school, so I assume it’s far away?

When you talk about getting caught, you mean by your parents. If they think you’re close by at a local community college, and then you go far away, aren’t they going to find out anyway?

Another thing is trying to finance the school. If my parents let me go, then tuition will be covered, but if they don’t I’m practically broke, seeing as I haven’t been allowed to get a job, and I still don’t have one lined up.

OK. And we’re assuming that they’re not going to “let” you go (i.e., they’re not going to pay your tuition if you go).

Do you have any advice for this?

Sure — from what you’ve told me so far, it seems very unlikely that this plan will lead to anything good. Sounds like you’ve got the part about getting a ride out of town (or the area, or whatever), but after that, it’s kinda wide open.

If your folks aren’t going to pay at the school you want to escape, then that’s definitely a problem. Even if you get a lovely financial aid package, anything short of a full-ride is going to cost your family something. Your EFC (estimated family contribution) from your FAFSA has to come out of your pocket, and if you can’t pay, and Mom & Dad *won’t* pay…well, either you’re going to have to find somebody who will or you can’t go.

Is there any chance at all that you can can negotiate further with your parents and get them on board? Do they understand fully why the community college route is not for you? Can they afford to pay for the school you want to attend?

In a spot like this, it seems negotiation is your last, best hope. You can’t really show up on the doorstep of your first-choice school (you’ve at least been admitted, right?) with no money or plan to pay.

And if you take off by surprise and end up at the other school, your parents are probably going to feel pretty betrayed, and that might damage any further chances you have for them to *eventually* get on board with your plans.

Thanks in advance,
Aly

Sure. Sorry if I seem like a downer, but the current situation does seem ill-fated. I do wish you the best of luck, though, and I hope you’ll maybe fill us in on some of the details down in the comments section.

— Speaking of comments, what do you guys think? Stay the community college course or elope to …wherever? Let us know in the comments below.

{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie January 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Josh is right. If your parents won’t pay for the distant (and presumably fancy) school and if you can’t afford it, then you simply can’t go. It sucks, but what else is there?

If you really truly believe that going to this distant school is the right path for you, I really only see two options: (1) try to negotiate with your parents and get them on board or (2) take some time off school to work and save up a good chunk of money so you can pay for it yourself.

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David January 25, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Deception is never a good idea, especially to parents. It is likely that if you continue on this course, it will lead to bad news. Have an open and honest conversation with your parents and see where it leads. Make clear why you do not want to attend a Community College, and why another place would be more suitable. If it is about finances, there are many resources from which you may be eligible for, so do some research, have the talk with your parents, and see where it leads. A Community college can be a starting point to another college, more to your liking, so it should not be discounted entirely.

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Erin January 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm

I can never understand why some people think that they’re above going to community college. It saves you thousands of dollars, and you get the same quality education that you would at a four-year school. In fact, I could even go so far as to argue that you can get a BETTER education at community college. The smaller class sizes allow for teachers to give more personal attention to their students. Often, tutoring services are free, which is not the case in many four-year schools. I graduated from a community college and transferred to a four-year school. None of the credits I took failed to be accepted. I saved a boatload of money, and even though I had to deal with living with my parents for a few more years, it was worth it.

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Unknown January 27, 2011 at 6:34 pm

She may not think she’s above community college. Not everyone is a snot. She just may have had other plans. It’s not fair for her to be forced to go. It is a good opportunity, and a nice place to get a good start.

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Anonymous January 25, 2011 at 4:54 pm

you are… a spoiled brat…many people would be greatful to have loving parents like you do and … you are throwing it all away

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Unknown January 27, 2011 at 6:33 pm

I doubt I’d say spoiled. Seems more like she’s sheltered to me. I can understand her feeling trapped. Pwarents shouldn’t force their children to do anything. Let tham dream big & do what they want. However, it is a very sloppy and immature plan. Therefore she should learn to be mature and talk to her parents

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wesley January 25, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Sneak off to the army national guard, get a gi bill, FTA, gi bill kicker, and independent student status, tell your parents to keep their money, and then go where ever you want.

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Shahail January 25, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Make a grown up deal with them, tell them that you will attend the first semester of community college and if you can prove you are mature enough to handle all the responsibilities of going to classes and getting your work done and maturely handling yourself more like an adult. Don’t be staying out late all hours when you have morning classes. Make sure your school work is started on the first day given not rushing to start it up on last day and doing the library time. Make a deal that if you can prove to them that you will act responsibly towards your work they give in and let you attend spring semester or the following fall. Being an adult that is not capable of handling all your own finances you still need your parents and you have to learn to give in a little to, That shows a true responsible adult.

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Unknown January 27, 2011 at 6:31 pm

I agree with you that this is probably the best course of action

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Laura January 25, 2011 at 5:29 pm

What about starting at community college to appease them, save money, gain valuable skills (it really can be a great experience, as above people have stated – I went there for my first two years and don’t regret a thing!), and then, once you’ve earned your Associate’s (because I assume this CC is a two-year school?), transfer to your dream school for your Bachelor’s degree? Getting the first two years out of the way, and doing it well, will show your parents you’ve complied with what they’re willing to pay for, and taken it seriously, and basically proved yourself worthy. This might make them more likely to help with the last two years finishing off at your dream school. That’s exactly what I did! Besides, it’s easier to get in to a four-year university when you’ve already proved you did well at your first institution. Just make sure your credits are transferrable (nearly 100% of mine transferred seamlessly – all but one class!). While I admire your ambition and daringness, if you think about it, there’s hardly any way it will end up working the way you want. What happens at graduation? What happens when you get mail coming to your home address from a different school? Start it off small, then go big :) best of luck!

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Allie January 25, 2011 at 6:52 pm

I think this is one of the worst plans I’ve ever seen on here (and it’s up there elsewhere).

I don’t know why this didn’t get mentioned, but she can’t even GET financial aid via federally funded loans and grants w/o her parents tax forms. So if they’re not on board to such a significant degree, they’re certainly not going to fork over the paperwork needed for any financing (short of a full-ride scholarship) to pan out.

What exactly is the problem for doing community college? I get the sense that there’s a lot of missing information here that could clear this up.

The practical solution? Do your two years at community, then transfer to the college you want.

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Janet January 25, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Well, I think the first thing to focus on is why are your parents refusing to let you go to the college you want to in the first place. Is it because they don’t want you to go away and leave them? Is it because they can’t afford the college you want to go to (though, from what you mentioned about not being allowed to get a job, this doesn’t entirely seem like it’s the case)? Is it because they don’t trust you and are worried about what you might do when you’re on your own? If it’s because they don’t think you’re a serious enough student, then you need to prove to them that you are. Obviously you’re serious enough to want to go through with this whole crazy plan, and you’re determined to go to the college you want to. Either way, I think you need to sit down and have a serious conversation with your parents about all of this, first letting them know you’re not happy with their choice, then telling them what you want to do, showing them and reassuring them that you are mature enough and serious enough about this, and making a case for why you should be allowed to do it, and coming to some sort of negotiated solution with them. Either way, running away shouldn’t be your only option (also, on the subject of running away, your parents would be SO worried about you, and it’s not really fair to put them through that). Good luck, and I hope you find a way to work things out!

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Max January 25, 2011 at 7:52 pm

I wish you provided details. What do you mean “if they let me go I’m covered financially? Does that mean they pay or is this about FAFSA co-sign or what? You make it seem like your parents won’t let you get a job. No one can give advice with so little info that is going to be very helpful. How good of a student are you? If you are an A student whose parents won’t co-sign FAFSA b/c they want to keep you close, but are sacrificing your future success in terms of going to a better rated (it is not necessarily quality here) college and also they won’t let you work- that is an entirely different situation.

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Michele January 25, 2011 at 8:00 pm

I would assume that your parents know first hand your lack of maturity and because of that, they want you closer to home to keep an eye on you and they money they are spending. The fact that you have no idea how you would pay for college and you just think you can hitch a ride to a college and everything will work out shows a huge lack of maturity on your part. Save your parents some money.Go to a community college close to home. I do not see you being successful on your own too far away from them until you grow up some.

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Cranberrie January 25, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Here’s a thought: do some serious research. Make a thorough assessment of what it is you want out of your college experience and what each university/college has to offer. Make it as thorough as you possibly can. If, at that point, you are still set on attending said dream school, talk to your parents about it.
The financial and emotional repercussions that could come of sneaking off are probably not worth it. Sneaking off might work with a sleepover, a trip to the amusement park, etc., but college? That sounds like more trouble than it is worth.
If, after your ‘well-thought out’/well-reasoned presentation, your parents are still in favor of the community college…I think that you really should consider whatever is more financially viable. Don’t rant or decide on impulse. Think of your future. Think of your parents. Take your time and choose wisely.

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Anonymous January 25, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Honestly all I can see are negatives to going to the university.

Community college isn’t so bad you can meet people, take classes, explore your options and then when you are ready you can transfer to a university or decide you want to pursue a different path without feeling as much guilt if you change your mind.

I would only advise going into a university right away if you have everything already planned out degree-wise, are sure about the demand for the skills you want to learn or you got a really good financial aid package to that school that makes the payments more reasonable.

If this is about moving away from your parents then find a way to work and pay for your own place near the college it will certainly be easier to get by if your parents are on your side. If this is about being close to your friends, having different experiences to talk about may make your friendship stronger or your paths may diverge anyway.

I wish someone had told me that going to a community college is just as good and a lot cheaper when I was in high school. My family spent a great deal of money to send me to college and I left after a few years because I didn’t have an educational goal.

If you still want to go to a university just do it after you give the community college a try. Then at least it may be easier to convince the parents to let you try out the university with their blessing.

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Stephanie January 25, 2011 at 10:19 pm

I was in a similar situation when I went to school and I don’t think anybody is helping the situation by berating this young lady. My parents would not let me go to the school of my choice because they didn’t like the school. The end. They had the money to pay, I had the smarts to get in (though it will remain nameless it is a division one school), and I knew it was right for me. They just din’t want me to go. They told me that it was the local community college or they weren’t paying. Now the local community college was a great school. There was nothing wrong with it and the education was top notch, but it wasn’t the right school for me. I think rather than sneaking off you should tell your parents your ideas and plans. Explain to them in detail exactly what you have in mind and why. Give them detail. They only want to know that you are going to be safe doing whatever it is you are doing because obviously they love you. Sometimes that won’t work though, but their are still ways to get there. If this is case (which is what happened to me) scholarships, grants, take the first semester off and work to make the money for tuition, find a job immediately, appeal to your school board, take every other semester off to make money for the next, talk to people in your community…there are plenty of options. I strongly suggest that you don’t hide anything from your parents though. If you do it behind their backs it ruins any chances you have of possibly getting their support in the future and ruins your relationship possibly forever. I am sure you are a bright girl so use your brain and skills to speak to your parents like an adult. If you can’t do that you probably are not ready to go to a 4-year university anyway! Good Luck and let us know what happens. Also people who are commenting be nice this girl is a person to and she has feelings instead of berating her try stepping in her shoes, thanks.

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Ryan January 25, 2011 at 10:22 pm

National guard is a great idea or finding a rich sugar daddy. Seriously, the other school is very likely to be around in two years, go to community college first and save a boat load of cash.

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Annie January 25, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Well… the fact that you are even thinking along these lines doesn’t show a lot of maturity on your part. I could understand why your parents might want you to stick around for a couple of years.

Sorry to be so blunt – but, seriously, are you expecting your future job, future spouse/partner or even future dream school to be okay with these types of deceptive practices and ungratefulness of character?

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Max (not the same as above) January 25, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Honestly, we have no idea what you’re actually wanting. There are almost no details.

Now, what would make you so determined to run away and sneak off to the university? Either a dream major, or a major crush are my guesses. In either case, if both are meant to be, they’ll still be there in two years.

In any case, life is not quite like an exciting for-teenagers movie, and life still continues after you finish highschool. While time shouldn’t be wasted, you should learn that sometimes we have to move more slowly than we thought we would, and be more patient than movies show us. Good things often take time to grow, and you have a whole long life ahead of you. You can easily take up to 10 years to finish your dream education, whatever it may be, and still be a smart educated 20-something year old girl who has the brain and education to take on the world.

I hope this might give a little perspective, even if it’s not always the most pleasant thing to be told “slow down and think”.

Best of luck sister. Use your clever brain, be creative, but don’t throw away your parents and their thoughts so easily. The fact that they’re not demanding that you go to a prestigious school makes me think they’re not just being selfish with you, and that they genuinely care for both your future and your education.

关心你,

Max

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Shari January 25, 2011 at 11:05 pm

If you are willing to support yourself financially by all means go to your dream college. Lots of people have worked full time while attending school. That said, working your way through college requires a level of maturity that your post just doesn’t show. You expect them to support you financially after you’re legally an adult – don’t you think they have a right to expect obedience in return?

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Nikki January 25, 2011 at 11:09 pm

You used the wrong form of “bare” in your article. Just so you know!

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Ariel January 27, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Thank you. You saved me the trouble of pointing it out. :)

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Ape January 25, 2011 at 11:23 pm

What concerns me about your situation is the fact that your parents wont allow you to get a job. Why in the…really? What better way for their child to go out in to the world and actually LEARN something than to get a job and learn to make a living for themselves. It sounds like your parents are a little over protective, maybe even a little controlling… I’m guessing that they want you to go to the Community College so they can keep you at home? If so, its not a bad plan to stick to, to get your Generals taken care of, but honestly, I think you need to have a talk with your parents and let them know that you’re an adult now and should have more of a say in what you want to do. If you are 100% positive that this school is the one you plan to stick through all 4 years… I’d look into getting a job at least in case you need to save up to go to your college of choice should they refuse to let you leave the nest ever.

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Teresa January 25, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Is there any way that you would be able to first learn at the community college, then transfer over to your more desired school later on? In the situation as I understand it, not only would your parents be able to help you financially at the community college,, but that would also give you some time to find a job and save up some of your own money for your other school when you transfer.
That is one option.
Another option is just sticking it out at the community college. You may be surprised at the quality of teaching there.
A third option is to wait to go to school until you have enough money to go to your choice school, or wherever.
No matter your decision, you will have to work hard.
This is not worth destroying your relationship with your folks. Take time to listen to them and have them listen to you. Sometimes it takes a while for people to understand one another, but remember, getting along with people requires negotiation and submission from both parties.

Blessings,
Teresa

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Eldred January 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Maybe the parents will only pay for the Community College is that they don’t feel that the school SHE wants to go to is worth the extra money. The degree is important, but not the *pedigree*. Therefore, they won’t pay. Maybe they’re trying to get her through school without her(or them) being saddled with crushing student loan debt. And I’ll guess that they didn’t want her to work while in school so that she could concentrate on SCHOOLWORK. Old-fashioned, but still valid…

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Birdie January 26, 2011 at 1:41 am

Well, it’s sounds like a terrible plan. It also doesn’t sound like anything to do with college but getting away from your town and your parents. Frankly, if that’s the case, Wesley has the right idea. Join the National Guard or the Coast Guard or the armed forces. You’ll gain independence, skills, money, and partial to full payment of the college of your choice. It might give you the career you want (even though you don’t know it now) and it’s always a benefit to your employment history as long as you’re honorably discharged. It also gives you lifetime benefits such as health care for yourself and your spouse and child/children.

‘Running’ away to a college far away won’t give you anything. If you’re really adverse to attending the college of your parent’s choice, turn 18, get a job, move out and save up for the college you want. In other words, Sweetie, grow up and take responsibility for going after your dreams. Don’t wait for someone to ‘give’ them to you. It never works. You’re not going to win the lottery, you’re not going to ‘marry’ into money (even if you do) and your parents are not going to ‘let’ you go where you want to go. Frankly, with your plan, I’m not surprised that they want you close. You’re young and clueless. It’s ok, everyone was at some point. However, you’re becoming an adult. Adults take full responsibility for their dreams. Waiting for someone else to make a decision is a child’s attitude and mindset. Don’t wait for a parent/husband/boss/circumstance to ‘give’ you what you want. It doesn’t work that way. Go after it. You have the tools, now you just need the understanding and the belief in yourself. Good luck.

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Chloe January 26, 2011 at 2:08 am

To those saying the author of this question is a spoiled brat, lighten up! There’s nothing wrong with attending a community college if you want to, but there’s also nothing wrong with wanting to start where you’ll end. The majority of new student programs are designed for first-time freshmen, and the adjustment to a new institution is not always easy when you come in later on. I took community college courses as a home-schooler, then started more officially at one four year before transferring to another. Ultimately, I still feel the most connected to the first four year I attended. That was where I had freshman orientation, lived in a freshman-only residence, and participated in a year-long program intended to help first-years adjust to college life. The CC I went to before that was more than acceptable academically, but college choices are sometimes about more than just the classwork.

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Monaco January 26, 2011 at 8:34 am

More than likely, your parents are going to find out when you apply for financial aid at your school. You need their and your tax records in order to get financial aid unless you are 23 years old, married or have a child. Its going to be obvious that you didn’t attend the community college when they see the other school’s application form on your FAFSA.

Like someone else mentioned earlier, bargaining is your only option and if that doesn’t work then you have to suck it up and attend the community college. If all else fails, you can always attend your dream graduate school.

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Grey_GirlPTK January 26, 2011 at 11:50 am

Sneaking off will only hurt you in the long run. Why is going to your dream college right off the bat so important? Boy/girl-friend going there? That is not a solid reason to rush off.

You didn’t have the maturity to have funds in place, or manage your money so you could do it on your own–means you are not ready to be on your own. You don’t mention your aid package, if you have been accepted, or scholarships/grants, etc… So basically you are totally dependent on your parents footing the bill. You are not ready to go it alone beyond having a ride out of town? Bad idea.

Go to the community college for two years and be an excellent student. Get into Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society–they give large grants/scholarships to tons of universities/colleges if you are a member. I know I have some of that money to go to Seattle U–private university. You will also transfer into your dream college with your prereqs and general ed stuff taken care of and can dive into the meaty stuff right away.

Also get a part-time job, even a couple days a week, and start managing that money. If need be keep a journal of what money comes in and goes out, log every reciept (no matter how small), and most importantly save as much as possible. This will demonstrate to your parents that you are ready to go off to your dream college and can be responsible enough to manage on your own.

Doing anything short of that just shows your are a careless kid. You will also most likely fall back on your parents, if they take you back after you run off, and end up at the community college anyway. College is expensive, time consuming, and difficult enough without cutting out the only support system you have going for you. Be smart about it and take the community college route for now. If you do well in your courses and build a track record you will have college recuiters chasing you.

Good luck:)

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Brenna January 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Hey, yeah. Deceptindon is a bad idea, talking to your parents might be a good idea. I actually went to seattle to attend UW, had some promising job applications but when I found out my father actually wanted to help me out financially and my mother was the one who got mad, I freaked out. Sneaking off to college, it is not something I would do. But do what you do.

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Brenda January 26, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Definitely, definitely do not betray/deceive your parents. In the long run, it is so much better to be patient, explain yourself and give them (or you!) time to come around! Good luck!

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Anonymous January 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm

This whole thing of ‘my parents won’t let me’ makes me believe there are reasons why they’re not ‘letting’ you do what you think you want to do.

You seem a bit spoiled, and if your parents are willing to fund you going to a community college, then do it. Stop bitching.

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Anon January 26, 2011 at 10:51 pm

I know what you mean about your parents not letting you get a job. My dad grew up always having at least two jobs, which meant his studies suffered. My parents assumed that i am honor roll student that I have always been because I did not have a job. When I wanted one, they told me no– I should focus on my studies. Now I am in college, and I got a job (better than my 2 hour a week job at a music shop my final year of high school), and I am working on proving to my parents (slowly) that I can balance (or learn to balance) real-life factors while at school. By the way, both of my parents had moved out before they were my age and were starting their life together. So I can only say that you must slowly take on new responsibilities. Maybe stay a year or two at the CC, and take on a job. Do some laundry, learn to cook, and all that other grown up stuff that one must learn eventually. (Please don’t critique me–this is a really difficult situation in my day-to-day life.)

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Corri January 28, 2011 at 8:25 am

With this one I have to agree with a lot of the other comments and say go to the community college first. Sometimes it’s just worth it. I was signed up with my first college of choice and when I got there it turned out to be the worst thing in the world to me. It was a real shocker. I ended up coming back home and switching asap. My parents weren’t mad, we didn’t lose any money and the loans switched over to the new college. The second choice I ended up with was nothing I wanted, but the teachers I met there and got taught by were amazing. I learned a lot, not just classes wise, but information about the real world too.

Eventually I did make it to a college that was on my list, but I don’t regret going to the other college either. They were so helpful and informative. I get to even talk to some of them still through e-mail and we have very interesting conversations. It’s not fair to just give up on the community college without giving it a try first. Go there, get what you can done. As Josh always points out, it’ll be cheaper. Get your b.s. classes out of the way and then once you’ve proven you can handle everything like someone else mentioned, sit down with your parents and talk to them about this other college.

No matter where you go, you will have to take your basic English, Math, Science, etc. You might as well take them at the community college and save yourself a lot of money and hassel, really. If you’re worried, call the school you want to go too, ask them if your community college’s credits will transfer over. They probably will. Get a taste of college there before throwing yourself head first into a black hole.

I think everyone on the site pretty much agrees with Judge Josh about you not running off to this collge without speaking to your parents first. It may seem like a great idea, but chances are you’ll get no where. It’s not the answer you want, but if you want to prove you’re mature and able to handle life, take the time to do some courses at the community college. Life isn’t about always getting what you want, it’s about dealing with what you have to in order to get to your goals. The community college is just a stepping stone, use it to your advantage.

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wesley January 30, 2011 at 10:59 am

I have to agree that it is a bad idea to deceive your parents but I have to say that I am sorely disappointed in the beliefs that many seem to have on here. You are not dependent on your parents for anything. Many people; including myself, have gone to school without one dime from their parents. Yes you are a dependent student until you are 25 but there are ways around that. Military service is one of them. You can pay for this yourself, at worst case you can wait it out and get student loans. However, my question is this. Wouldn’t it be easier to wait two years in a community college instead of 8 in a $hit job somewhere? Or spend 6 in the army? Sun-Tzu said “In the end the victory goes not to the one who can inflict the most but the one who can endure the most.”You obviously have some choices to make and only you know what you are willing to endure.

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V February 2, 2011 at 1:13 am

Here the thing… PLEASE PLEASE go for community college first. I know it sound like it’s NOT your option. But go through the LOWER COST of college for two years, then TRANSFER to the college of YOUR choice. You don’t EVER want to deceive your parents who are doing their BEST out of their pocket to support you now, don’t you? Beside, you’ll never know what might happen as you go through the four-years. So stick with the LOWER COST first!!!

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Sarah February 3, 2011 at 11:37 am

Hey girl,

First of all, don’t listen to people that are calling you a spoiled brat, you’re not. You know what you want and you’re not willing to accept anything less. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
I was in the same situation my senior year in high school. My school had an agreement with the local CC that the first two years of comm. college would be covered by the city. Obviously my parents wanted me to take that route, but I knew that wasn’t what I wanted and that I wouldn’t be happy there. I went ahead and applied to the school I wanted to attend, got accepted, and got invited into the honors academy. I can’t say that I ever thought of sneaking off to school, but I was determined to go to the university even if it meant paying for the first two years myself so it would still be cost free for my parents. I did a lot of research on the school and talked to my parents a lot about why I wanted to be there so badly rather than CC. I basically explained that I was going to go to the school that was right for me even if I had to take out loans and pay for it myself, but that their support was really important to me. Once they saw how important it was for me to be at that school, they let me go. I’m now in my second year with a high GPA, great friends, a great network for after I graduate, and I love school. I don’t regret my decision at all even though I chose the more expensive option. I disagree with people who say that the college you attend isn’t important as long as you get a degree, because for some people it is. I don’t think I would have done as well academically in CC because I wouldn’t be as determined, and I definitely wouldn’t be as happy. CC is a great option for some people, but it’s not for everyone. Do your best to explain to your parents why you’re so passionate about this school that you would sneak off to go there. Also be willing to take responsibility for yourself and negotiate. Look into getting a work study or some other kind of job on campus to pay your own personal expenses and maybe suggest that if your GPA drops below a certain point you’ll come back and try community college. You parents care about you and they want the best for you, but I think in this case you know what’s best for yourself.
Good luck with everything (: I hope you’ll let us know how things turn out!

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Rebecca February 4, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Tee hee hee…

This is the BEST article ever!

“I wanna run away from home to go to COLLEGE!!!”

Uh no. It is clear the writer has no idea what is going on other than attending class. I agree with whomever said go to community college for a year (or even two) and SHOW her parents she’s a responsible student, and then approach the subject of transferring after she’s had some success close to home. There’s a reason why they want her to be close by. Could be they’ve groomed her to be dependent on them, who knows? But…she needs another little bit to mature.

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Jennalee February 19, 2011 at 5:49 pm

I agree 100% with Sarah’s advice.

I had no choice but to start out at a community college because I didn’t take the SAT’s. I’m learning disabled and went to special education private schools my whole life, and I never learned high school level math until I was 18 because I was behind in math ever since I was a child. When I was at the community college, I went as a part-time student solely because of my learning disabilities, and I had to take 6 remedial courses before I could take any college level courses. I only did my freshman year at the community college I attended, and didn’t get the associate’s degree because I like the four-year college curricula a lot better and I was annoyed that some of the college courses I would have taken for the associate’s only transfer to certain colleges as elective credit and not as anything within the universities, and especially hate taking courses over again when I’ve legitimately passed them. Thankfully, I earned 30 credits at the community college and all of them transferred except for 3, the only reason they did not transfer was because I had a D in statistics and never repeated it while I was at the community college. Literally one year after I first started at the community college, I became a full-time student and passed all 4 classes I was taking that semester, then after becoming a full-time student I decided to start taking summer classes, and also started thinking deeply about what four-year colleges I wanted to attend. I knew my parents would support me regardless of whether I was a part-time or full-time student, but my mom and I had a mutual agreement that getting the full associate’s wasn’t the right path for me anymore and that it was time for me to move on to a four-year college and living on campus. I’m now 22 years old and a sophomore at my first-choice four-year college with a 3.0 GPA, and no I didn’t get any scholarships but I did get a tremendous amount of money from FAFSA (more grant money than loan money) and my family didn’t have to pay a whole lot of anything out of pocket. When I was at the community college, I worked part-time, but right now I don’t have a job, yet I am looking to get a summer job. When I switched colleges, I also changed my major after learning what my new major was all about, since back when I went to the community college, I didn’t know what most majors were really all about and as soon as I learned about the four-year college curricula, I started looking into other majors and figured out which one I liked best based on job opportunities. I’ll admit, at first when I started at my new university, I did hang out with some of the wrong people, in this case, people who were manipulative of me in so many ways and not understanding if I didn’t have time to go to an event they invited me to because I had homework or sporting events that I was involved in. I moved out of my original dorm because my former roommate’s friends who she invited over most regularly were giving me a hard time. I have friends/acquaintances who go to my present college that I knew from high school, and did not know them well at all until we began attending the same university, but no I don’t have crushes on anybody at my present college.

Allie, I don’t think you’re a spoiled brat or overly dependent on your parents. I say go with your instincts, but please don’t ever make a major decision like that regarding college without letting your parents know first. You might be surprised about what they may have to offer for you. Offer to sit and talk with your parents and calmly and rationally discuss why you prefer universities over community colleges. Let me know what goes on!

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Jennalee February 19, 2011 at 9:16 pm

sorry……I just realized I spelled your name wrong :(

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Anon March 12, 2011 at 8:22 pm

After looking at all the comments, I also agree that deception is probably a bad idea. Handling college (+ work if I am assuming that you are paying your own way), is a huge responsibility and when things get tough, it’ll be harder for you to talk to your parents for any sort of advice or communicate with them about your goals.

That being said, I am getting the vibe that your parents are being a little overprotective. I’m not sure what is exactly going on, but I am surprised to hear of parents who do not want their child to have a job. Chosen college, that I get. But even part time work?I’ve heard of studious families who are concerned that their children will not do well if they work (I come from that background), so it sounds to me like maybe that’s one way to start showing them that you can handle it: community college and work.

All in all, probably not a good idea to deceive them, unless there’s some sort of drama that you’re not mentioning (ie, they’re venomous soap opera characters? I know of some parents like that!), in which case, just standing up and telling them you’ve got this figured out is the best way to go, instead of compromising.

To those who think you’re a spoiled brat, I say to them LIGHTEN UP. People and circumstances are always very different, and for all we know maybe your parents are the soap-operatic types? I think, however, you’ve got a solid head on your shoulders, you might just need to do a little more research and try talking to them first before going down this more deceptive route.

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CLeeP July 22, 2011 at 12:59 pm

First of all, ask yourself if your parents are the type that would disown you upon finding our your scheme. If there is a good chance they are, then forget it. You need to keep your family dynamics in good health for as long as possible.

If they would not disown you, and you absolutely must attend this college, hide it for as long as possible. When they find out, own up to what you did and apologize.

Or… you could stick around and enjoy the paid-for tuition that they are providing. Get a degree and bank some money from a part-time job, then go to the college you were looking at. You will have a better chance at succeeding at a more rigorous curriculum with a couple years of preparation.

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Zach August 30, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Hi everyone – would love to hear some advice. Josh hasn’t gotten me an answer for a long time despite his promise to answer within a couple of days if we publicize this site via social media sites. I guess he’s busy.

I’ll keep it as short as I can. Thanks for your advice in advance…

I will be a senior this fall at Alfred University, on track to graduate with a BS in Marketing. Unfortunately, after classes and a couple of internships, I realize that I detest the concept and practice of marketing. My passions, I believe, lie in writing and thinking about “softer” fields including sociology/psychology, theology, and ethics.* I have 35k in debt so far.

But at this point, I wonder if I should just make the smartest decision financially and pursue a field that I won’t kill myself doing like marketing/selling.

Should I switch majors to Accounting, costing me another 10k in debt and year of school plus whatever else for a CPA? Or–my brother is a mechanical engineer at Cornell, I come from a long line of engineers, and I’m pretty bright–should I go for a second bachelor’s in engineering after graduating with my Marketing degree? That option might run me another 40k in debt and 4 years’ time, but pay out better than accounting in the long run.

Other options I’ve played out in my head include joining the peace corps to forgive some loans, starting my own PR business after graduating, studying for a Master’s in philosophy in the UK on a full-ride (fingers crossed for that scholarship)…feeling overwhelmed. What’s the smartest call here, you think?

*One last note on “following your passion,” which I hope you’ll include as I think applies broadly to a lot of the questions you receive on here. While it’s true that an English major can–to the relief of many English majors–be employable after all (in advertising, technical writing, etc.), I don’t believe that any fiction writer is thinking “press release” when asked about her true passion.

I just question the logic in many of the comments saying “less money is worth following your dreams”…I mean, yeah, hypothetically, I’d consider writing essays on my theological musings for a 30k salary the rest of my life instead of doing some ******** for 60k. An exciting/interesting gig is probably worth that 30k difference per year in overall happiness points…

…but I doubt I can get paid anything to be an essayist. More likely, well-meaning students write essays for 4 years in college (“following their passion”), then for the next 40 years write sparingly trying to impress consumers, publications, etc. or write soulless freelance how-to articles, kissing ass, teaching, and/or some other b.s. for that lower salary that they had assumed would be worth the tradeoff in extra fulfillment of “following their bliss.” Point is, when you realistically appraise what you can get paid to do, I’m wondering if anybody besides rock stars actually get paid to do what they love…I don’t know if writing for the sake of writing is worth the 30k difference I could be making as an engineer/accountant.

That is a bare-bones assumption that all your theater/art/English Lit/philosophy/anthropology student advisees should think about quantitatively: What’s the value on the fulfillment I’ll get from a career loosely related to my passion (like writing advertisements), as opposed to a better-paying gig that is unrelated to my passion (like accounting)? Will your job’s loose connection to your true passion for 40 hours per week REALLY offer you more happiness overall than an extra 30k in salary in an unrelated field?

After all, happiness is the end-game here.

Is a job just a job, and might we all be better off doing something tolerable and challenging for the most money per hour possible?

Thanks for your thoughts on my situation! Your site is a godsend for indecisive students like me and many others.

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