Iiiiii do not know quite how to cope with this. I mean, I did not actually even graduate high school, due to an adolescence spent in junior loony bins and wilderness survival camps that promised my parents they were accredited and oops, no. (I found this out a month before I thought I'd be graduating. Just imagine.) I fucked off from high school straight to an ill-advised starter marriage, then Vegas, then I got pregnant, then I returned to Florida, gave birth, got my GED, and went to night school at a community college until the State of Florida cut off Elayna's health insurance and I had to go to work and no longer had the luxury of time for school. Note regarding welfare: If the state had not cut off our Medicaid when Elayna was 1, things would be immeasurably better. Fuck anyone who sniggers about welfare moms, some of us were working our asses off being single parents and trying to get a degree, and your shit is both racist and classist and fuck you. (I guess I am still angry about that.)
So that's the brief story of why I know nothing about the college application process.
grntserendipity helped us immensely on Saturday; neither Elayna nor I really knew where to start! But she helped Elayna narrow down the most important things to her: she wants to go to a small or mid-size regional school in New England. She doesn't want to be in the heart of a city. She wants it to be public-transit-accessible, with smaller residence halls (preferably living/learning communities). She does not want to go to a drinking-and-partying school. She wants a school with performing arts stuff to do. She wants small class sizes. grntserendipity also advised that we check out freshman to sophomore retention rates, four- to six-year graduation rates, and tutoring and academic advisement. EDIT: Forgot to mention, but it is, of course, very important to us that her college be very LGBT-friendly! We are looking for queer-friendly, geeky, quirky.
We also got some school recommendations from grntserendipity, sorted the letters of interest she'd already received, poked around some lists, and here's what we have.
Brandeis (will schedule visit)
Champlain (may visit in April)
Green Mountain (may visit in April)
Hampshire (visit scheduled)
Hofstra (information requested)
Lasell (visit scheduled)
Lesley (will schedule visit)
Mount Holyoke (information requested)
Salem State (visit scheduled)
Sarah Lawrence (may visit in April)
Simmons (visit scheduled)
Smith (will schedule visit)
UVM (may visit in April)
Wellesley (will schedule visit)
Wheaton (visit scheduled)
Wheelock (visit scheduled)
College visits will tell us some things, but also, y'all are a huge source of information. Can I use you? If you went to any of these schools, or any school in New England, please tell us your thoughts!
Highly relevant info: She intends to become a 6th grade English teacher. Yes, that may change once she actually hits college, but. That does mean that if your otherwise-amazing school doesn't have an education major (or at least a minor that includes state certification), it isn't a good fit for Elayna. Otherwise please see the things important to Elayna listed above! And thank you!