Well, Ms 18 yo has made her college decision and the deposit has been sent in so I guess that makes it official. I detailed in this post about the options we were considering and the fact that it mainly depended on how it was all to be paid for. I have to say that we all tried very hard to approach every step of the decision making process with an open mind to what God was trying to show us.
The first step was the four year college or junior college decision. The ACT test score came back very high so we went the four year college route.
Next was the in-state or out-of-state college decision with a focus on Catholic colleges and universities. Well, based on our criteria that the Catholic college needed to actually behave like a Catholic college (and using the Newman Guide as our guide) we determined that we weren't really excited about any Catholic colleges in our area and the ones we were excited about were too far away.
On top of that, the couple of Catholic colleges she liked didn't really have much of a scholarship base and one doesn't accept any form of federal financing, so that meant that both of those choices would require extensive personal financing, something we were against burdening her with.
That left us in state with a private Christian college as our top choice. It is close enough to commute, however we were open to the possibility of her staying on campus. We debated about the Christian vs Catholic thing but have decided that it would be better to go to a Christian college that is open to Catholicism than to a Catholic college that isn't. Within the confines of this Christian college is a wonderful Catholic church with perpetual adoration and many Mass (even a daily Latin Mass) and confession options. The college is open to having a priest come onto campus to hold adoration, confessions and talks in the college chapel, too.
The next step was to decide about whether or not to live on campus or commute. Of course there are pros and cons to both. We remained open to the possibility of either and decided that we would see how the financial aid package came out. Well, when all was said and done, the entire tuition amount was covered with only very minimal federal loans; all that would be left would be to take out a personal loan for - you guessed it - room and board. Didn't make a whole lot of sense to us, so for her first year at least, Ms 18 yo will be commuting.
All-in-all I'd say it has been a very painless process. I've heard horror stories from people about this whole thing so I didn't really know what to expect. I think trying hard to remain detached from any one particular option made it a lot less stressful when things went one way instead of another. We did what we could, through prayer and discernment, to make the best decisions possible. We are all very excited about next year and glad, too, that Ms 18 yo will not be too far away. I know there will be adjustments for all of us, but hopefully we are ready to meet the challenges head on!
It is really amazing what God can do when you let Him. He has proven time and time again that His way is best and that when we let go and let Him lead, things will work out.
So as a celebration of this momentous decision (at least in our lives :), we're off to buy some new college sweatshirts!