• Just figured out why nobody could send items to wishlists last Christmas unless they were specifically on said wishlist (ex. someone buying an “idea” like “new soapdish” couldn’t ship it with other stuff from my wishlist).  I think you can fix this problem by going to “manage lists” in the upper right and then clicking the box saying people can ship stuff not on your wishlist to your wishlist address.
  • I don’t seem to be able to add an idea though, which sucks.  At least they’re allowing the old ideas to stay…
  • I’m already mentally planning my first texts to DC1 at college.  “Are you getting enough to eat?”  “Is there anything specific I can get you from nuts.com?”  I am so predictable.  Also this is ridiculous for me to be planning this many months in advance, but I guess we all have our coping mechanisms.
  • We have been spending a *lot* of time as a family looking at pom pom hats.  Southern DC1 is completely taken with their whimsy.  The Carleton parent forums recommend waiting until you get there to get winter clothing and recommend mall of America.  Both Carleton and Macalester also have hand-me-down and donated winter clothing where people can just go in and pick stuff out.
  • I watched a video of people dropping their kids off at Carleton last year.  My college experience was so different– I flew cross-country by myself.  I wonder if we’ll fly or drive and how many of us will go.
  • My parents did drop my sister off, but she went to school in the midwest so it was an easy trip.
  • I got yet another rejection.  (Grant proposal.)
  • Wesleyan waitlisted DC1.
  • DC1 declined the econ major at the state flagship.
  • I’m not the only mom annoyed that Carleton didn’t send stickers.  If I’m paying 120k more than the next most expensive school the least they could do is throw in a sticker for my laptop.
  • But Carleton was really smart about having a discord channel for admitted students (and an online forum for parents).  DC1 is participating (!). Zie also says there’s a big range of kids from Taylor Swifties to Twilight Imperium players.  (This is how I know I’m not the only mom disappointed in the lack of stickers.)
  • Nobody has posted on the Union forums other than current students, though lots of kids have signed up.
  • Oberlin has a seminar series called the body politic that looks unfun even if DC1 had time during the semester for it.
  • Macalester had professors from each major choice email DC1 but DC1 didn’t respond.
  • DC1 asked DH for help on Calc-based E&M (something DH should know, but has forgotten– I have also forgotten, but my excuse is I haven’t seen it since high school) and DH’s first answer was exactly wrong, but talking it through DC1 figured it out and why DH was wrong.  DH says DC1 is smart.  Which, yeah, zie is.
  • DC2 says zie is not looking forward to having 100% of parental attention next year.  Zie is enjoying doing hir own thing in the background while we focus intensely on DC1.  But two of hir classes next year (Spanish II and Algebra) will be appearing with grades on hir high school transcript.  It starts now!
  • Macalester’s socks are really cute!
  • My alma mater is sending out individualized gifts to people.  I think we might have gotten a sticker to go on the back of a car, but that might have been at graduation.
  • DC1 waitlisted at Vanderbilt.
Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: . 42 Comments »

42 Responses to “RBOC”

  1. Michael N Nitabach Says:


    This company has the best giant pom pom hats! I have the “white UCI world champion” hat & as soon as I got it, it became my absolute favorite pom pom hat, which I have dozens of. (I guess in Ye Olde Englande they call them “bobbles”, not “pom poms”???)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Those are big pompoms!

    • Socal Dendrite Says:

      If the round part is by itself, it’s definitely called a “pom pom” in the UK, but a hat with a pom pom on the top is called a “bobble hat” (apparently, it’s to do with the translation of the French word “pompon”). I also learned that bobble hats used to be functional – they stopped sailors banging their heads so much.

    • loribeth61 Says:

      It took me a while to clue in that “Carleton” is not Carleton University in Ottawa, lol. (Different frames of reference…!) I looked it up and I see it is in Minnesota (my mom’s home state), as is Macalester. Either way, Ottawa or Minnesota, warm winter wear is definitely required!

      Personally, I loathe pompoms on winter hats… but to each their own!

      In Canada, woollen winter hats are known as “tuques” (or “toques/touques” — pronounced “tukes” — long oo sound). I think you call them “beanies” in the States, but to me, a beanie is one of those little caps with a propeller on top that I saw in the comics when I was growing up, lol.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Yep! Carleton university comes up first if you google Carleton computer science.

        Pompom hats are really in with the college boys this year— we had a day that hit 50 degrees and I saw 4 of them while waiting for DC1 to finish Calc 3 class.

        I don’t know when they started being called beanies— I also think of beanies as the small circular hats with the propellers, so refuse to use that term.

  2. First Gen American Says:

    I worry about that with our DC2. He is very independent and self directed. He earned the right to manage his own time with good grades and excellent work habits. Not from me but from our recent retiree.

    2 more rejections and 1 waitlist. One more to go.

    My son’s GF did get rejected from one school (Colby) of the 18 she applied to. She committed at Clark as they gave her the most $$$. She did have to do an in person interview there. Skidmore only committed to one year of merit aid and the rest was tbd so it was kind of a bait and switch package and not a great one at that. They did pay for one of those people who helped you through the college selection process, essay tutoring, timeline mgmt etc and it did seem to work for her as this person matched up the schools pretty well. It was a wildly different college search experience if you are not declaring a stem major, however.

    Sadly, our biggest merit aid package, Clarkson, moved way down the list. The campus was Very outdated but not in a quaint ivy way. They had an amazing new rec center with a climbing wall but the ME building had a leaking roof and most of the equipment looked like it was from the 1960s-1980s (with the exception of a handful of 3D printers). We even have several friends that went there, loved it and are very successful (vp level and above) so we were really disappointed with the final reveal. I’m still amazed you’re going to make a decision without seeing the campuses because our perception of several places wildly changed after we visited. ME is their largest major. It’s an expensive school. Still scratching my head at it all. Some kids may make decisions based on rec centers and cafeterias but when my kid’s public high school has a nicer, newer maker space with more stuff in it than a place with $55/yr tuition, that’s a red flag.

  3. Wally Waffles Says:

    What about setting DC1 up for something like dailyharvest (https://www.daily-harvest.com/home) or some other service like it? I love their smoothies and their food items are super easy to prepare. I guess storage could be an issue though …

  4. Maya Says:

    It’s so interesting to see small college admissions from the other side and note all the non curricular details (stickers, roof repair, cafeteria) that go into decisions!!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      DC1 is leaning Carleton even without stickers. If Carleton weren’t in the choice set it’s hard to say if Oberlin or Macalester would come ahead. If Carleton weren’t in the choice set it’s likely DC1 would have accepted waitlist offers and this would be dragging out.

      I suspect I may be overemphasizing food because of permanent damage from boarding school. That said, grinnell’s cafeteria ran out of water!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      And to be fair DH went through all the CS majors and deemed them acceptable except for Union

    • First Gen American Says:

      I was giving my friend who is on the board of my alma crap about how much money they were spending on non-educational stuff (because tuition there is super expensive and 7.5x more than when we went). She got very defensive saying that she has all kinds of data showing that kids make their decisions based on amenities and it became a keeping up with the jones’s contest between schools. At least there, they also spent $$ keeping their labs current. its probably a little different for majors that don’t require labs and equipment to get educated.

  5. Steph Says:

    All this gift stuff is wild to me. I actually got brand new admission gifts from my alma mater because I found them at a yard sale next to my current school – her child had gotten in there, but decided to go elsewhere. The mom who was selling the scarf & stickers then gave them to me for free when I said that’s where I’d gone! So from an environmental perspective I don’t feel like the gifts are a great plan (I also feel this way about most conference-branded swag), because I imagine most of them get thrown away. I used to buy stickers etc for my parents as stocking stuffers instead.

  6. delagar Says:

    My kid would send me pictures of what he was eating every day, which * really* helped with my anxiety about him being on his own. He still does this occasionally. TBF on me, when he was an adolescent with depression, he frequently forgot to eat.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Eating is so important!

      • Maya Says:

        Some eating issues may resolve naturally… I practically gave myself an ED when I lived at home and still regress when I visit my parents because of all their overwhelming attention to what’s on my plate. Being on my own seemed to let me experience and enjoy food in a different way. (Caveat: This may be a pipe dream. My oldest, also a picky eater, says they’re so busy they eat “twice a day” 😳.)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        DC1 doesn’t have eating issues. Zie just doesn’t eat if zie dislikes the food. Zie isn’t really a picky eater, but zie has kind of high standards (so a lot of fast food that I also won’t eat unless under duress is out) and also sometimes doesn’t eat a changeable list of random foods (or fresh tomatoes ever). Zie also stops eating when full (even ice cream!), so there’s not an ounce of fat anywhere.

        Probably the healthiest relationship with food of anyone I know… but healthy food that isn’t all tomato has to be made available.

  7. Omdg Says:

    Congrats to DC1 on having such good choices. I would choose Carleton bc 1) great school, and 2) one of the loveliest physicians I worked with during my PhD went there. She’s now an intensivist at the Univ of Rochester. Oberlin and Macalester are also great choices. Unfortunately Oberlin has suffered from the Lena Dunham effect (as much as I enjoyed Girls, I can’t think of Oberlin without thinking of her) which could be a problem long run. Good luck! There really isn’t a wrong choice here. :-)

  8. Sneakers Says:

    Congrats to DC1 (and their parents) for the great options. It sounds like these are good fits and places to grow. Nephew graduated from Macalester 8 years ago – we visited twice and were there for graduation – and he loved the school, midwestern kindness (we’re on the east coast) and the community.

  9. accm Says:

    There are awesome radio astronomers at both Carleton and Oberlin, which should of course be a deciding factor. :-)

  10. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    I went to college in the north from VA and mail ordered a coat and boots back from LL bean back in the dark ages! I later gave the coat to someone moving from VA to ME because it never gets that cold here.

    We had a student who moved to WI and we sent him to the St Vinnys dig & save, where he outfitted himself with coat, scarves, hats, and gloves for $25.

  11. Colleen Says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for years but was out of town last week when you got the news! I’m a fairly recent Carleton alum (2012). It was great! Happy to answer questions if you have any.

  12. anandar Says:

    Carleton was the second-choice college for both me and my now-DH! I now know many great Macalester and Carleton grads, and my parents were both Oberlin grads– interesting that these midwestern SLACs create a “small world” effect for me, even though I haven’t lived in the midwest since high school!

  13. First Gen American Says:

    Just an FYI. We just sat in on a financial aid seminar at one of our accepted schools and they offered to relook at a kid’s merit package if they got a better offer from a comparable school. It may just be a clever way to collect data and will come to nothing but we submitted the data anyway. Can’t hurt to take a swing at it before a hard commit.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Carleton doesn’t give merit aid to anyone except national merit. People on the internet have tried, including those in our exact same circumstances. Also they’re very generous to kids who actually need money so I don’t mind subsidizing.

      All the other schools are all costing the same— around 50k/year.

  14. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    We love pompom hats! Smol Acrobat’s just discovered JB’s stash and has been borrowing them for a silly rakish look in combination with their hoodies.

    I am bemused by the gifts of stickers and socks. I didn’t know that was a thing. I do hope that wherever DC1 lands, the food is good enough that they’re not skipping meals. I ate once or twice a day at most during college mostly to pinch pennies but also because there weren’t great food choices so that memory of being hungry while trying to get a degree (and working all the time) sticks.

    Thanks for sharing the ins and outs of this journey. I’ve got a low level of anxiety about what we’re going to do, come the time, with our kiddos.

  15. Lisa Says:

    r.e. picky eaters – I don’t consider any of my kids picky eaters, but realized the other day that our childhood food experiences were completely different. We have been making our own hot fudge for sundaes and my oldest asked if I had ever tried the kind of ice cream topping that forms a candy shell around the ice cream. My first thought was “gross” b/c my childhood experiences with this topping are DQ based (basically colored wax on the ice cream). But then I realized that they were probably talking about the fancy topping we get at the local gourmet ice cream truck (which is delicious!). I’m sure we could make this type of topping and enjoy it. Bottom line: the things I thought were acceptable when I was a kid (we were discussing Carls Jr while roadtripping for spring break earlier in the week) are not things my kids would find acceptable, which could lead some to think they’re picky. Also, don’t most college dining halls have basics that this kind of picky kid could eat? (cereal, salad bars, pasta?)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      So if the food quality is bad, the lettuce is brown (if they have a salad bar), there are only unhealthy (sometimes stale) cereal options, and the pasta is mushy. Burgers and hot dogs swim in vats of greasy water. If you’re lucky enough to get fruit, it comes out of a can in a syrup. The best options are when they have chicken patties which are essentially large chicken nuggets on a bun. Bad cafeteria food is really dismal. *shudder*

      When my DH went to [Southern near-Ivy], the milk was often spoiled, among other things. (Milk is not supposed to be chunky!) So he went off the meal plan year 2 and mostly lived on free day-old bagels one year.

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