What If Your Child’s First Choice College Can’t Work Out

This was originally posted in our Paying For College 101 Facebook group, but is being republished here with permission of the author……


Long and off-topic but I thought I would try to give some encouragement to others in the group with a story about my dear daughter.


She has played soccer since she was three and loves soccer. But, she has a rare medical condition that sometimes gets in the way of participating in athletics.


Despite her medical issues, she continued to play soccer, basketball and run track through middle school. But, when she got to high school, the coaches really wanted her to concentrate on one sport so she picked soccer. Because…she loved soccer!


The first day of her Freshman year, she started tryouts for the soccer team and her medical condition flared up. She continued the two-week tryout and at the end, the coach called her in and told her that they would not be able to use her on the team.


She was heartbroken because she loved soccer and had been preparing to play in high school for soooo long. I was concerned because it was what she had her heart set on doing, she had worked so hard to achieve her goals, I knew that kids really need a small group in a large high school and her schedule would have to be changed as well. It was a sad weekend at our house.


The following Monday when she went back to school, another coach called her in to her office and said, “I have been watching you at soccer tryouts and you are really fast. But, the other thing I noticed was that even when faced with a tough situation, you never gave up. I would really like for you to consider running track for me. I think you would be great on the relay teams.”


And, so, my dear daughter joined the track team where she was mentored by the most amazing coach, made great friends, lettered in a varsity sport and became a leader. Track was the best place for her!


And, when it was time to look at colleges and apply for scholarships, the track coach is the one that mock interviewed her, wrote letters of recommendation and came along side my dear daughter with abundant encouragement.


My dear daughter had her heart set on a particular college, but the money was just not there. However, her third choice seemed to see something in her that the other school did not and she received a really nice offer.


There were some things missing at #3 that she really had her heart set on like a football team and a beautiful campus. And, the dorms looked like bunkers from WW2 (or worse). Eeewww. But, there were things that she was looking for like a great nursing program, a small school, and it was within a 3 hour window from home.


The coach reminded her that track hadn’t been her first choice either. So, she selected #3. And, she has flourished there! She has great friends, social clubs and amazing academics with small class sizes and caring professors. And, she plays intramural soccer and only sprints when she is late to class! It is the best place for her!


I’m telling you all this to say…There’s never one path and there are always other opportunities than the one you may have planned for or have your heart set on. And, we may never know why one door closes and another one opens. We just have to have the flexibility and faith to make the best of second and third choices. Or, as we say at my house,


“Bloom and grow where you are planted!”


And, in the end, if we approach these new opportunities with enthusiasm and gratitude, chances are that we will look back and say, “It was the best place for me!”










By Stacey Lawson Stanislav 


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