Decisions, Decisions!

School has been in session for a few months and most children are getting back into their daily routines. Parents, teachers and most kids are happy that schools are open. Kids are getting a much-needed sense of normalcy (whatever that looks like in their schools).

With fall upon us, many kids are deciding what they want to be for Halloween or what they should ask Santa. Others are deciding what the next step is in their education. Of course, this is a big decision for high schoolers, but I am not talking about high school kids (not yet anyway). I am talking about 8th graders trying to decide where they want to attend high school. This may seem like no big deal to some people, but for others, the decision is daunting. Not everyone has access to quality education.

Now because I am a wee bit OCD, when our school hosted a virtual high school question and answer session last spring for 7th graders, I took part. I immediately begin researching our options. Throughout Saint Louis, there are many great high schools, as well as some not-so-great ones. The school gave the kids a packet with the schools broken down by type. There are many religious, private, magnet, charter and public high schools in our area. The options seemed endless. They also gave detailed descriptions of each school with application information and potential costs. My kids’ school went above and beyond to make sure that these kids had the information they needed to narrow down their search.

After going through the information with my daughter, she narrowed it down to a handful of high schools she was interested in. So the next step was for her to shadow at her top choices. I reached out to the schools to find out about visiting. Most wanted her to visit in the fall of 8th grade, but a few extended invitations to visit. She spent days shadowing students and getting a glimpse of high school life. Each visit ended with a t-shirt and other branded goodies. I know it has been a long time since I went to high school, but I do not remember shadowing various schools. However, I am positive I did not get any swag from anyone while I made my choice (I’m not sure I remember having a choice).

As she visited schools and narrowed down her top choices, my worry set in. Are her test scores high enough? Will her essays impress the admissions people? Does her IEP affect their decisions? My biggest concern is how will she handle it if she does not get accepted to her top choice? I never want her to feel that she is not good enough.

I also never want to be the reason she is disappointed. Her top choices all ended up being private schools. My anxiety went into overdrive. Can we afford this additional expense? Where can we make cuts to make this happen? How do we make this simple wish come true? Fortunately, one of my OCD tendencies is to research. I scoured the websites of her top choice and spoke with friends who had recently been through this entire process. I might have even cried a little. In the end, I learned that they all had financial aid. Based on my research, we will qualify for something; just not sure how much yet. Knowing that help is available and that my husband always “makes things happen” has eased my anxiety a wee bit. I have learned a lot over the past few months. If you remember anything from these ramblings, please remember that there is money out there. Do not let your fear that you can’t afford a school keep you from applying.

The applications are in; the essays are complete, and financial aid forms are submitted, so now we wait! We wait to see where the next chapter in my daughter’s educational journey will take her. We will know in Mid-December if she gets accepted to her first choice school and if we can make her wish come true. Until then we are going to enjoy the holidays and all the special 8th grade moments!


  1. I wish her all the luck and hopes she gets accepted in her school of choice. She is an intelligent, beautiful and strong lady.

  2. I wish your daughter good luck. Couldn't make who the mum is in the first photo - all looking so young!

    1. No mum. Just the girl who showed her around the school

  3. Wish your daughter all the best! Yes, autumn is a season full of decisions, but also time we get back into routine after summer...

  4. Holy moly that is a lot to think about! Best of luck to your daughter for her future schooling!

  5. Wishing her all the best! I know that high school and college journeys have gotten harder and even more so with the rise of COVID right now. We have notice a turn in traditional college trajectories here, since so many jobs need help right away and are willing to train in technical fields. Many high school kids are finishing up early and going right to work now.


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