August 30, 2010

How Far Base Am I?

A discussion happened at work... making me wonder how off base I may be.

The discussion was MIT.

I said, "I'd work 3 jobs to put my kid through MIT if he got accepted."

One of my coworkers, a female, said, "No way in hell. If my kid wants to go to a school like that, they can take out loans and do it themselves. In state schools are good enough."

To which I said, "Yeah... but we're talking M.I.T. What a chance. You have to really have your act together and be so smart!" and she replied, "NOPE. No way."

There was silence in the room and quietly my Tech Lead chimed in, "I'd sleep in my car for my son to go to MIT."

She seemed surprised and said, "You're KIDDING?" to which he said, "No. I'm really not..."

Now my Tech Lead went to a very good engineering school in the North East. And we both think that not all engineering schools are created equal... neither in education nor opportunity, but mostly in... connections.

MIT has great connections.

So. Would you make serious sacrifices for your kid to go to MIT if they were accepted and motivated?

Just wondering.

Posted by Boudicca at August 30, 2010 09:14 PM

I already put my daughter through Purdue (while it's a state school - it was out of state for us). My son did one semester of college then joined the Army - so now the GI bill is putting him through college. I did offer to cover anything over the bill if he wanted to go to a private college.

I was always willing to give my kids the best start I could give them even if I had to work my ass off to do it. It has paid off in 2 terrific adults who are self sufficient and happy. I can't ask for more than that - so yes the investment was worth it and if either had been MIT material I would have danced for joy and sent them in heartbeat. (Harvard or Yale - not so much - MIT... absolutely LOL)

Posted by: Teresa at August 30, 2010 10:06 PM

I have a friend whose son went to MIT. He is not rich, so there must have been scholarships involved which brought the cost in line with a state school.

Sign up on Fastweb ( and start searching those scholarships now.

You aren't going to get full ride "needs" based scholarships as you and/or hub have a job and "own" your home. There should be MIT financial aid to bring their annual cost in line with your annual family contribution (as FAFSA sees it).

I assume this is for Mr T, so you would already have Ringo in college by the time you apply for financial aid at MIT. Each child currently in college reduces the amount of family contribution expected for each of the children.

Have fun.

Posted by: The Thomas at August 30, 2010 10:24 PM

Yes, I would. They will choose my retirement home...I consider it an investment ;-)

Posted by: Sissy at August 30, 2010 10:56 PM
Nice article. I'm so glad to find it on your page. THX a lot.

Posted by: monicaugg at August 31, 2010 03:40 AM

I would send them to private now if I could afford it. Absolutely I would sleep in cars, work 3 jobs if my kid truly had the motivation and was selected to go. Luckily for me, the public school is working. Otherwise, I might be working 3 jobs right now. Sigh.

Posted by: vwbug at August 31, 2010 04:39 AM

VW- No way should you put your kids in private schools. You're zoned for the best schools in PB County! If you were zoned for the schools I *was* zoned for... you'd be working 3 jobs. Howell Watkins was just never... an option.

T won't have the SAT scores to get into MIT. He doesn't test that well. But... the thing is, if by some fluke he did, dang, I'd be insane working to help send him through. I know there is a lot of scholarship money, however. I know engineers who sent their kids through and engineers don't make MIT money.

Posted by: Bou at August 31, 2010 05:55 AM

Yes, if one of our kids got into MIT, we'd do what we needed to do to get it done. I see it the way Sissy does.

Posted by: PeggyU at August 31, 2010 11:47 AM

Hell yeah..... I'd work 3 jobs, apply for every scholarship and do anything to pay for the school of their choice.... if they worked hard and got the grades. My kids didn't have a choice about being brought into this world. Its my responsibilty then to make sure they are educated, contributing members of society.

Posted by: jd at August 31, 2010 11:56 AM

Friends have five grown children and they are not rich.(as you know Bou:) Father's was a chemist, mother did 'some' substitude teaching. Their children graduated from: One from MIT, one Duke, one Notre Dame, and two from Georgetown. All smart and motivated but they must have received loads of scholarships.

Posted by: mom at August 31, 2010 12:10 PM

Mine is going to R.I.T. His father is paying some of the way. The rest is student loans.

Posted by: Linda at August 31, 2010 01:24 PM

from the other side- I am so incredibly grateful that my parents chose to (with the help of loans and scholarships, and me working) put me through private school. (college). like you said, sometimes it's the connections as much or more than the content, and I can pretty much guarantee that I got my current job (best job in the whole world, just saying!) primarily if not solely because of the sort of people I had willing to vouch for me, and the connections I made.

now, those connections would not have done me one lick of good had I not worked hard to be the sort of person they would feel confident vouching for like that, but I think you took it as given in the example that with that sacrifice comes the expectation that the child will be motivated to work hard, and earn the confidence people clearly already have in them.

Posted by: S at August 31, 2010 06:31 PM

If they were motivated and serious AND had an inkling of what they were getting into? (MIT is not for the faint of heart, the lazy, the hard to motivate, or those who aren't quite sure what they want to do with their post-high school life.) Yes, I would do what it takes to see that they get in. However I would encourage them to have a Plan B, in case they absolutely couldn't get in or afford it.

Posted by: diamond dave at August 31, 2010 09:29 PM

MIT doesn't have a football team. QED

Posted by: Angus of Iona at August 31, 2010 10:08 PM

Angus, you say that like its a bad thing.

The same FAFSA/Scholarship rules apply if T decides to become a Rambling Wreck and go to Georgia Tech.

Posted by: The Thomas at September 1, 2010 08:16 AM

MIT is an excellent school. I was accepted there and turned them down, but only because I didn't want to be completely surrounded by engineers 24-7. Yes, I was planning to study engineering... but when I took (say) an English course, I wanted to take it with English majors.

Having said that, though, anyone who contemplates a career in an engineering-related field has got to take seriously any opportunity to attend MIT.

Posted by: Elisson at September 1, 2010 11:38 AM

Going to stick with the same line I always stick with.

5 years after college graduation nobody gives a damn what school you went to or what your grades were.

A school does not make a person or there career, the person does that all themselves.

And I don't really believe that "impressive" schools are going to give you any better connections then other schools.

But just my 2 cents, I went to a state university that is considered 2nd tier to Michigan (who btw is a premier Engineering school)and Michigan State and I can guarantee I am better at my job then a lot of the UM/MSU graduates that I meet/work with.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at September 1, 2010 11:46 AM

QW - My father and his associates/partners (who all graduated from either MSU or TheUofM) consistantly hired graduates of MTU (Michigan Tech, the mining school) over those of other schools because of their practical backgrounds (not their drinking ability).

I did not go to MTU for the same reason Ellison stayed away from MIT (too many engineers). That plus I wasn't into skiing 8 months out of the year. I like skiing, but...

Posted by: The Thomas at September 1, 2010 02:58 PM

What's a diorama?

Posted by: Toluca Nole at September 1, 2010 04:23 PM

If T goes to Ga Tech, he can get me tickets for the football games. The ACC's not a bad conference. But Auburn has a good engineering school, too, and it's in the SEC.

Posted by: Angus of Iona at September 1, 2010 08:38 PM

I would if I had to. Right now, I have two in college- one in a private college (with four scholarships & student loans) and one at a state community college on the free-ride.
Plus there is me...I am back in school. I decided to go back to college and finish my degree...except, I changed what I wanted to be when I grow up! LOL

By next year, if my MIA daughter goes to college, all four of us will be in different colleges and universities at the same time...nothing like confusing the DOE, huh?

Posted by: Rave at September 2, 2010 04:52 PM

All three of my kids did college on their own, with us supporting them with extra money as needed.

That said, I know three MIT grads. One is retired career Navy, was captain of a destroyer, commander of Norfolk Naval Base, president of the National Association of Rocketry and a member of the US team for international contest rocketry.

The second guy owns an aerospace company that does things like makes parts that go on the Predator and other UAV's. They also won the contract to design and build the robot/remote-control foldable glider that will go to Mars and radar-map the surface.

The third guy is *just* a PHD. He can't really talk about what he does.

I fly rockets with these guys every month. They're good people. Does it have something to do with MIT? No, but MIT has something to do with who they are.

Posted by: Ted at September 3, 2010 07:58 AM

Bou: Worcester Poly Tech has Air Force & Army ROTC.

Posted by: Flasher at September 4, 2010 04:16 PM