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Ask Angela: I don't want to go to BYU

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  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    July 7, 2014 5:05 a.m.

    Not wanting to go to BYU is an excellent choice. I can go on for pages why but follow your personal inspiration and go where you want. You'll be happier and more successful.

  • TimD ASHBURN, VA
    July 7, 2014 6:21 a.m.

    Look into Southern Virginia University. It's like a mini-BYU in Virginia and the price is reasonable.

  • ? SLC, UT
    July 7, 2014 6:36 a.m.

    Most colleges have an institute building nearby, so if you can get a scholarship to the school of your choice and figure out living expenses you should be fine. Another option if you want to go east and yet go to a school with LDS influence, there is Southern Virginia University. The website says it is a "private liberal arts college dedicated to educating Latter-day Saints and those with similar standards and ideals." Good luck.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    July 7, 2014 6:38 a.m.

    Ya got to be logical. The Barby dream world isn't for every one. I'm not a Senators son so I've had to face the reality of money situation. Is it real or is it fantasy.

  • sally Kearns, UT
    July 7, 2014 6:53 a.m.

    She also needs to figure in the costs and time involved in travel for holidays and other family activities.

    BYU is an excellent choice for a college education. I have my degree partly from BYU and from a school in the East. I completed my college after I was married and had children. I don't see any advantage to attending in the East unless her major is highly specialized at a particular school. If I were to go back to college as a single student, I would choose to live on campus with meals provided. I noticed BYU even rents cars now. Non of our children had cars at BYU. It was easier to use public transportation. If she attended school in the East she would probably use public transportation too.

    If she really wants to travel, then she could do that during breaks and in the summer. If she wants to surround herself with those from other countries, BYU has plenty to choose from. It is not all pasty white. She can also sign up for travel abroad studies at BYU.

  • McMurphy St George, Utah
    July 7, 2014 7:05 a.m.

    How about the GI Bill or whatever it is called these days?

  • Sore loser tampa, fl
    July 7, 2014 7:32 a.m.

    I am of the opinion that the Ask Angela columns would be better classified as part of the Family, Sports, Opinion, MoneyWise, or start a new section called Culture/Style. I am not sure if its really a Faith subject.

  • alleycatrn Lilburn, GA
    July 7, 2014 7:38 a.m.

    There are a lot of great schools here in the East. Many are reasonably priced (once you get residency for state universities). I would say stick to the universities in bigger cities, they have the biggest institutes. Do what you feel is right for yourself. If you always do what others want you to do, and not what you feel is right for yourself, you won't ever be completely happy. Good Luck and God Bless in this decision.

  • Random Redlands, CA
    July 7, 2014 7:39 a.m.

    My criteria for college was small, out of state, and not BYU-Idaho. I wound up going to Idaho State just three hours from Salt Lake. It got me out of the house, out of the state, but not too far away. BYU isn't the end all, be all of colleges for LDS people; there are a lot of good choices out there, including back East. Good luck!

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    July 7, 2014 7:42 a.m.

    Don't ask anyone where the nearest temple is. There's an Internet. Look it up on Google Maps, ldschurchtemples, or the LDS temples website. But you're a teenager; I'm sure you already knew that.

    I'm not so sure, however, that you know what "Hola" means. You seem to think it means "Hooray!" Either that, or you decided to start talking and then randomly interrupt your train of thought to go back and say hi.

  • Denverite Centennial, CO
    July 7, 2014 7:44 a.m.

    As someone with 3 college-age kids who all went/are going to different schools:

    Parents need to see a plan, in detail: what you're majoring in, what it will cost, how much you will pay and what you will do to earn the money, how long it will take to graduate, if you can earn college credit before you go, where you will live, where the local Institute is, name of the bishop of the local singles ward (from mormon.org), etc. The more detail, the better. Include why exactly you want to go, minimizing the whiny kid stuff ("I'm TIRED of Utah!")

    If your parents are reasonable people and you have clearly put in a lot of thought, you have a much better chance of success. Putting together a plan like that is an indication to your parents that you really are as mature as you think you are. Good luck!

  • Casey See FLOWER MOUND, TX
    July 7, 2014 7:46 a.m.

    For LDS students who hope to marry another LDS person, your options become very limited if you choose to attend school outside of Utah, Arizona, Idaho, and California. However there are pockets of large single LDS populations in various parts of the country such as Atlanta, Washington, DC, and I believe the Boston and Tobacco Road (Duke, NC, NC State, Wake Forest) NC area. Having lived outside of the Inter-mountain west their is a huge percentage of LDS students who choose to stay close to home for college who eventually find a spouse outside the LDS church and become less active.

    As a parent and church leaders, we are extremely concerned about this statistic. Be sure to check out the size of the LDS institute in your area you wish to study. Many have less than 20 or 30 students. This limits the dating pool.

    Having said all of this, I also found my wife while at Grad-School. I told my friends that all it takes is one diamond in a coal mine. But be careful. You will have to sift through a lot of coal should you go to a school with a very small LDS population.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    July 7, 2014 7:50 a.m.

    This is a common feeling for Utah Mormon kids, that they'd like to experience more of the world than just more of the same from what they've grown up with. I think it's healthy. I also think the parent's concerns are valid. A relative of mine had the philosophy for their kids that for undergraduate studies (or the first 2 years) their kids would attend BYU. Ater that they could go anywhere. It has worked well for them.

    Another point is often the adjustment from teenager at home to young adult at school is more difficult than a high school senior might suppose. Suddenly things the parents have taken care of are the young adults responsibility and it can be overwhelming. Wise parents keep this in mind as they "launch" their children. Some college environments are easier than others in facilitating this transition. This may be part of this high school senior's parent's motivation in their opinion and not just tradition - as might easily be supposed by a teenager.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    July 7, 2014 8:07 a.m.

    I attended another university but graduated from BYU. I consider having attended BYU to one of the greatest blessings of my life. Most people who say negative things about going to BYU are saying them because they couldn't get in. If you can get in and don't go, that's your right, but there are many thousands of other kids who will be thrilled to take your place. You might want to think about it a while longer.

  • jordansorensen buena vista, VA
    July 7, 2014 8:18 a.m.

    Sounds like Southern Virginia University might be the right fit for you. It is East Coast and something like 91% LDS. It is the least expensive Private Liberal Arts school on the East coast. I went there and loved every minute of it and by working hard and getting scholarships i came out with little student loan debt. I highly recommend looking at it. www.svu.edu

  • Chachi Charlottesville, VA
    July 7, 2014 8:23 a.m.

    @TimD: SVU tuition is $14,600 per year. BYU is $4,850. SVU may have a lot to offer, but if the goal is to escape the "Mormon bubble" and have the experience of being LDS in a predominantly non-LDS environment, going to SVU won't do that--nor does it have BYU's academic reputation.

    @McMurphy: Going into the military instead of college may be the right choice for many people, but young Mormons who want to serve missions and get married and who can afford college now might do better to consider ROTC if they want to serve their country. Otherwise, you end up being 26 or so before you get out and start school. The military is selective nowadays in enlistments--they have enough recruits. No one should enlist simply for the sake of some notion of duty.

    @Casey Sue: Comparing non-Mormons to coal and Mormons to diamonds may not be very helpful to missionary efforts. I appreciate your wisdom, but please think about your word choice.

    I'm saying this one who enjoyed BYU, my East Coast grad school, and serving in the military, but recognizes none of these choices are for everyone.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    July 7, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    There are so many great universities in this and other countries. What is it you're looking for exactly in an education experience? What do you want to be doing in the future? What do you want to be able to say your university experience did for you? What kinds of people do you want to meet?

    You've stated a clear reason why not BYU, but what do you want? If you can answer those questions, it will help those advising you.

    As for finding other LDS students, there are institutes in practically every university in the country and many overseas.

    Do you want to live permanently outside of Utah? If you do, going to a university far from home will likely take you on a path where you will find employment, friends and likely someone you marry...far from your current home. If that's what you want and it's your dream...go for it!!

    I love my family in Utah but have never had any desire to live there. btw, I met lots of non Utah students and friends at BYU (75% of students are from outside the state). I even married one!

  • Kinderly Riverdale, MD
    July 7, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    The only real issue here is financial.

    You can keep your testimony anywhere if that is what you want to do. If you choose a school with a good institute program you can find good lds friends, maybe even some lds roommates, as well as the benefit of religion classes. If you're having trouble convincing your parents about this, just find someone who did it and listen to their experience. I grew up in Seattle and I know that the University of Washington institute is really strong.

    Solving the financial problem is more difficult. I don't think you're justified in taking a student loan so that you can attend school on the East Coast. Investigate the possibility of scholarships. I think you'll find that public schools have mostly need based scholarships. But maybe you can find a scholarship based on your major? I know there are special scholarships for certain fields--teachers, or women in engineering or math, maybe. You also could consider doing a church school for undergrad (BYU-Hawaii?) and doing grad school in the East when you're more likely to find a fellowship that will pay all of your tuition.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    July 7, 2014 8:31 a.m.

    @Dennis,

    My fellow New Englander. How does where you go to school have anything to do with one's happiness and success? You may hate BYU so I'll grant you wouldn't be happy there. But happiness and success have more to do with one's perspective in life and finding positives in what you do and who you are with.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 7, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    Gosh byu is the best choice by far. Gosh I hope she goes there.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    July 7, 2014 9:12 a.m.

    One interesting thing I just noticed: Neither Angela nor the commenters on this board even answered the question the writer asked. She didn't ask if she should go to BYU or what other schools she should consider. She asked (quoting directly from the letter) "how can I convince them [the parents] that I’ll be OK?"

    Since no one else bothered to carefully read your letter and answer the question you asked, I will.

    The answer is, you don't need to convince them. Presumably you're not one of these child geniuses who's graduating high school at age 12 or something (if you were, I doubt you would be considering BYU anyway). So assuming you're graduating at the "normal" age, you're either 18 already or turning 18 next summer. You can legally do what you want...no convincing necessary. Parents tend to assume our capabilities are less than what we think they are. All of us at one point stood up to our parents and said "I know you don't think I can do this, but I know I can." It sounds like your moment is here - time to do it!

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    July 7, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    I have to add another vote for Southern Virginia University as an east coast alternative to BYU. The university president is my old mission president and he's done some really great things while there.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    July 7, 2014 10:04 a.m.

    @Cats
    "Most people who say negative things about going to BYU are saying them because they couldn't get in. "

    Most people who say negative things about going to BYU never applied.

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    July 7, 2014 10:16 a.m.

    @BraveSirRobin - Attempts are made by the commenters to help the OP see the benefit of actually attending BYU. I grew up in Lehi, my mother is from NYC. 25 years ago the only place we ever went for high school academic activities (those away from the high school) was to BYU. I desperately wanted to attend college away from Utah. I had been accepted to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburg and Washington in St. Louis and had received very generous scholarship offers. My Mom asked me to even just apply to BYU, for her. I did. In the end I couldn't justify the cost, even with scholarships, of attending the other schools. BYU became the place for me and it was one of the BEST things to happen to me. I earned my degree but work in a field not even related to my degree. I left school with zero debt. My career experiences have led me from Utah to Atlanta to Georgia and back to Utah, but this time I wanted to come back. Don't put all your eggs in this first basket, there's so much more!

  • Mom of 8 Hyrum, UT
    July 7, 2014 10:39 a.m.

    Why doesn't she try it for just one year? That should make her parents happy, thinking this may be only a "temporary" thing, and it will give her the opportunity to get away for a bit.

    Then, after that year, they will all have better perspectives on the education, the costs, and if the grass really is greener on the other side of the country. There is such a thing as a "transfer student."

  • rodney k. smith BUENA VISTA, VA
    July 7, 2014 10:49 a.m.

    With scholarships most SVU students pay less than $14,600. The net cost is similar to BYU, because those who stay to graduate from SVU,often graduate in fewer years. Academically, SVU competes well with BYU and large universities. They outperform large universities on the nationally recognized National Survey of Student Engagement. When compared to other colleges taking a national assessment evaluating critical thinking, Southern Virginia did very well. Students came to SVU at the 68th percentile but were at the 93rd percentile when they graduated. Small classes are taught by highly qualified faculty. SVU Graduates attended fine professional schools -- Harvard, Stanford,etc. I am a huge fan of BYU and SVU, with their strong LDS values. Students going to non-LDS schools should ask the Institute Director, "What percentage of the LDS students graduate from Institute?" You should be able to get this information from the Institute Director. Graduation from Institute is directly tied to graduating Temple faithful. If you go to a large school, think about the Honors Program to avoid large lecture classes. BYU has an excellent Honors Program. Dr. Madison Sowell,former director of BYU Honors College, is SVU's Provost.

  • Reflectere Utah, UT
    July 7, 2014 10:51 a.m.

    College is about investing in a degree to enhance your ability to get a high paying job later in life. That's what you're paying for and future employers are going to look at your GPA and degree, not at your travel experiences and social life. For your undergrad, which school you go to isn't really an issue anymore - it matters more on your masters level. What does matter is which degree you pursue, how well you score, and how much debt you get into.

    Most universities (unless you go to community colleges or small universities) are going to be really expensive. Even with grants and some scholarships, debt can still stack up FAST. College is a very mature decision to make. Your college experience leaks into every aspect of your life thereafter (career, marriage, etc.) Do you want to bring $40K+ in debt into your marriage when it can be avoided? Are you going to get a real degree that provides employment opportunities if needed, or is it just about the social life and travel experience? Sounds like it. Maybe you need a summer job until you mature a little more.

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    July 7, 2014 11:34 a.m.

    Why not just go live out east for a time and see if you even like THAT first or get your associates and then transfer to a larger university?

    College is expensive. The good thing about church schools is a huge chunk of the expense is subsidized by the church.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    July 7, 2014 11:36 a.m.

    There are already plenty who want to go to BYU who don't require extensive coaxing from parents, without worrying about those who would only do so kicking and screaming. If she really doesn't want be there in the first place, then don't burden the rest of the student body with a whiner.

    As for me, BYU was the only school I wanted to go to. I got in, and never ever regretted it. I'm not against the parents advising their children to go to BYU, but never send a kid with a chip on his shoulder about BYU to BYU. Let these kids flatter themselves about their open-mindedness and let them find out how real the "real world" really is (not very) somewhere else.

    Look, I don't have anything against other universities, and I certainly don't have a problem with students making a selection of a school other than BYU. Heck, I attended graduate school at some real party schools and remain a fan of them. There are some great schools out there. It is just that I think the reason why teenagers want to attend a school really does matter.

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 7, 2014 11:39 a.m.

    To "Graduating" (Pay attention Angela, this letter is missing large and important details) can you tell us where you were planning on going to school?

    As others have pointed out, so far the only plans you have are to not go to BYU, and to go East to continue your education.

    If you were my child, I would first ask for the name of the institution you plan on going to. How do you plan to pay for college (the bank of Mom and Dad only helps in small amounts)? How do you plan on getting there? Do you plan on living there year round?

    What you first need to do is make a plan, then present that plan to your parents. If they are decent people, they will be impressed with your ability to figure this out.

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    July 7, 2014 11:41 a.m.

    @ Cachi

    Your not completely accurate in regards to the military. Many young people can serve in the military and still go on missions especially in Utah.

    The Utah National Guard is very favorable towards young people who want to go on a mission and not have to worry about getting deployed while they are serving their missions. It is called IRR status.

    It is a very good option that doesn't tie you down in any direction.

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    July 7, 2014 11:45 a.m.

    @ ronald k. smith

    I am sure there is no bias as all in this information that you provided. Could you tell me again when in Virginia is SVU? I think it starts with a B and ends with vista.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    July 7, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    @Schnee...
    My ACT scores were over 30, I was an RM and was easily admitted into BYU. You comment about not being able to "get in" is not valid.

    BYU is what it is. If you don't feel like you would like to go there obviously a life lesson has taught you that. Why go under duress? Had I to do it all over again I would have gone to an school on the East Coast rather than the U of U. There are a number of small amazing schools back here.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    July 7, 2014 12:22 p.m.

    For myself, I enjoyed BYU very much. The bookstore candy counter and Outdoors Unlimited all by themselves, let alone Cougar football and the honors program, and the general absence of a PC police which, elsewhere, can out-Inquisition the most flinty-eyed religious types on their fiercest day, made it overwhelmingly more than worthwhile.

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    July 7, 2014 1:05 p.m.

    Going to BYU is no guarantee a person will remain in the LDS Church (as the correspondent's parents seem to think). For a person with a certain mindset -- for instance, one of the "cultural Mormons" which certain self-anointed Defensores Fidei classify as a separate religion from normal Mormons -- discovering that there really are Church members who look darkly at you and say "be careful" when you express skepticism about a literal Genesis flood may go a long way toward pushing you over the edge.

  • Well.... Phoenix, AZ
    July 7, 2014 1:14 p.m.

    As a BYU grad who loves the school, the Cougs, and all blue, I'd add to Angela's advice: Why go to BYU if you don't really want to be there? Seriously.

    While BYU is very good academically, it isn't the best in every field. While BYU provides a positive, supportive spiritual environment, the same environment can be found at LDS Institute programs across America. While BYU students go forth to "be a light unto the world," LDS students at other universities *are* that same light--right now.

    Is it the testimony that's the worry? I know many people who've gone to non-LDS schools, including ASU right near by me, and come away with strong testimonies; I also know a few who actually lost their testimonies at BYU. (Sure, it happens.) It's not the experience that makes the person; it's the person that makes the experience.

    In short: This student should go exactly where he/she feels best about going. Talk to the parents about this. The Gospel is about free agency. Feel free to live it.

  • SoCal Roger Costa Mesa, CA
    July 7, 2014 1:31 p.m.

    Dear Graduating,

    Do you happen to know how many students who apply to BYU - Provo and are not accepted? Many.

    Having had all 3 of my kids go to BYU was a blessing considering how hard it is to get in.

    Please carefully consider the choice to go to BYU.

    It's not as bad as you think. You should apply to BYU even though it may not be your first choice.

  • rodney k. smith BUENA VISTA, VA
    July 7, 2014 3:34 p.m.

    AerilusMaximus: Yes, I lived in Buena Vista and served as President of Southern Virginia and I had a picture of every student on the wall across from my desk. I have a law degree from BYU and two graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania (Ivy League), including a doctorate. I now live in Mesa, Arizona and am a full-time faculty member at the college of law at Arizona State University, another fine university with a large LDS population. I was simply trying to provide some accurate information. Southern Virginia is a great academic option, with a strong LDS community (very much like BYU), and it is in the east. It is a liberal arts college with small classes. I have children who have graduated from BYU and SVU (and Utah State and Utah). I can honestly say that I was trying to be unbiased. I am, however, guilty of wishing that more people knew SVU better.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    July 7, 2014 4:10 p.m.

    @Redshirt1701
    "can you tell us where you were planning on going to school?"

    The student might feel like being more specific might lead to the parents figuring out who submitted the letter (no location is given but assuming it's an in-state student, the odds of parents reading the DN are fairly high).

    @Dennis
    "My ACT scores were over 30, I was an RM and was easily admitted into BYU. You comment about not being able to "get in" is not valid."

    My comment was that people who complain about BYU probably don't apply to BYU (in response to someone saying that those who criticize BYU are just bitter that they didn't get in). I'm not sure how this comment of yours is a response to mine.

  • cval Hyde Park, UT
    July 7, 2014 4:57 p.m.

    @Cats: The idea that anyone who chose not to go to BYU is exactly the kind of arrogance that makes people hate BYU and it's fans so much.

    Many of us chose not to attend BYU, even though we could easily have gotten in.

  • Uncle Rico Provo, UT
    July 7, 2014 8:02 p.m.

    Southern Virginia is not accredited anywhere (and it is very expensive). I'd rather go to ITT Tech or University of Phoenix than SVU.

    BYU-I is now an online school for church members that could not graduate initially.
    LDS business college is a joke.

    If you don't go to BYU, then don't go to any other LDS (or LDS member owned) school. You will be better off going somewhere else.

  • abtrumpet Provo, UT
    July 7, 2014 10:21 p.m.

    I served a mission in New England. Let me tell you something: the East Coast is not what it's cracked up to be. We're talking humidity, hurricanes, massive noreasters, really bitter people, destitute inner-city poverty (people think South Provo is ghetto, go visit Worcester, MA), overpriced everything and crime rates much worse than the mountain west. So stick to Utah, Idaho, AZ or the region. You want to see "the world" and that's fine but trust me, you don't have to live somewhere to see it.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    July 7, 2014 10:24 p.m.

    Get a good education in the field you're interested in. Find a good institute program and match up with a school for the field. Get involved in it and the local church and institute, you'll be fine. I wouldn't worry too much about breaking the Y tradition, it won't matter much in the next life, but your having lived a faithful life will. Good luck to you in finding a place. The only one who can answer this for you, is you - and it is within you to do this. Read up, ask around and choose 5 good situations then whittle them down. Be a light wherever you land, people are always interested to know about quality people so don't give them a reason to think otherwise.

  • LovelyDeseret Gilbert, AZ
    July 7, 2014 10:27 p.m.

    this is a predicament that many college seniors have. Congratulations though on wanting to get an education. Smart decision.

  • lollyclk Bloomfield, NM
    July 8, 2014 12:20 a.m.

    BYU attendance does not gurantee activity in the church. You need to do WAY, WAY, WAY more research. Also, from your comment you don't sound truly ready to be so far away from your family (I actually like mine and 500 miles was too far sometimes). If your parents are paying for your education, you are kinda out of luck unless you can find a full ride with a stipend somewhere. Make a compromise; go to BYU for two years, get an Associate Degree and transfer somewhere else if you still don't like it. You really should make a more in depth plan, check out the community, how many single's wards, and how big the institute program is. Also, if you do not have a specific career and program you are dying to attend, you're wasting time and money. You would be better off at a community college exploring your options. And lastly, whining will never get you anywhere. People who want to be treated like grown-ups have to act like a grown-up. Make your own dream happen and stop sponging off your parents.

  • Cole Thomas Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2014 7:02 a.m.

    Nah, go to BYU. What better way to learn how to become an adult than to be treated like a child for 4-5 more years of your life! It's just great!

  • Paul in MD Montgomery Village, MD
    July 8, 2014 8:16 a.m.

    I grew up in the East and went to school at BYU. Living on-campus was like experiencing the entire country all at once. Sure, there were kids from predominately LDS areas, but there were lots of kids from everywhere else as well. After I married, we lived off-campus. That, I think, was much more like what "Graduating" experienced growing up in Utah. The two experiences were very different for me.

    If the parents won't budge, perhaps a compromise would work, say, first two years at BYU living on-campus, next two at a school in the East. It would provide two years to show parents Graduating can be self-sufficient, and give Graduating time to save and plan for the next two years. By then, Graduating will be a self-sufficient adult and be able to make up his/her own mind, over objections of parents. Those objections, by then, should have all been answered anyhow and they ought to be supportive.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    July 8, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    There are many well-stated opinions on this post. As a grad of BYU, I can't imagine having gone to any other university. I think of that every day of my life! I agree with others that she should compromise with her parents and attend BYU for two years and then decide if she wants to go somewhere else to finish. That is, unless she is bitter about the Church. Then I agree that it would be a detriment to herself and others there.

    Another option is to get out of Utah during the summer and see other parts of the country. To avoid debt, visit relatives in far-away places. Sounds like she has "cabin fever." I would never advise going into huge debt to go to a supposedly high-profile liberal university.

    Attending BYU Education Week in August is a good introduction to the campus, professors, and overall feel for the campus and the environment. It is also very inexpensive! I would highly recommend that!

  • Kjirstin Youngberg Mapleton, UT
    July 8, 2014 9:50 a.m.

    Of COURSE you'll be okay! Getting out of the "happy valley" syndrome is essential for you. I can tell from your letter you MUST go.

    My husband and I are both BYU alumni, but none of our children went there. Two sons even attended the (boo-hiss) U, as BYU didn't offer their majors.

    Our daughter knew what she wanted from age five, and charted her course for a conservatory back east. Even with scholarships and working, she had massive six-figure debt (who knew music cost more than Harvard Law?) but she would never have been herself anywhere else. She learned so much more about the world she must now function in, we are thankful she became acclimated to it by graduating early, at just 16, and diving into the work. She is committed to the Lord, kept her testimony just fine-thank you very much-and married in the temple. She serves and is much better prepared for her callings now with the diverse culture she embraced in NYC. She married a Yaley, and they are great examples to us all. (Check reallyrachel(dot)com to see.)

    BYU is NOT always the right choice.

  • dotGone Puyallup, WA
    July 8, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    I was sad when my daughter announced she would NOT be going to BYU. She explained it to me and I realized it was her choice and I'm here to support, encourage, guide.... not RULE. She may regret it, but those are her lessons to learn. She plans to go to local community college and then UW... here in WA state. There are a lot of paths for young people to take. It's easier for parents to cope with that idea when it's a later child rather than the first born. You learn that offspring do know more about their life path than you do.

    A few young women in our ward went off to BYU and came back engaged, married, pregnant at a stunning pace. My career minded daughter didn't want the pressure which is BYU's reputation out here in the world. True or not, it turned her off.
    And when young people meet at BYU, it is away from the context of their lives...... I wonder if they get the full picture of the person in those hasty marriages. We've seen some disasters. Haven't we all? :)

  • AerilusMaximus Berryville, VA
    July 8, 2014 10:47 a.m.

    @ rodney k. smith

    Maybe you should think about updating your current city under your profile. That is what really stuck out to me.

    I have been to SVU as a youth for Youth Conference. I have also been through Buena Vista recently because I was drilling with the military out of Lynchburg.

    One of the largest problems I see with SVU is geographic location. SVU like my Alma Mater BYU-Idaho are out in the middle of no-where!

    For some people this is good. Honestly it didn't bother me tremendously because of the large student population of BYU-I.

  • ckp goodyear, AZ
    July 8, 2014 11:03 a.m.

    My mom wanted me to go to Ricks college but I found an all girls school in Baltimore that I felt compelled to go to. I am really happy I made the decision. Yes, it was a lot more money but I made it happen. I think you give great examples on how to make it happen. I didn't move from the Mormon belt so it wasn't a complete shock to me. I came from Northern Nevada were we have slot machines in laundry mats so having a smaller Mormon community in Baltimore wasn't a complete shock. It was so different though. I remember the first couple months at church we were meeting in a Baptist church because the regular building was under renovations. I thought how Christian of these Baptists to let us use their chapel - while they had their services in the basement. Anyway, I am not familiar with you personally Angela, but I think your Dad was the Branch President at the time I was there, but soon thereafter they started the Baltimore University Ward... you were just a Primary girl then?

  • Go Utes Salt Lake City, UT
    July 8, 2014 11:18 a.m.

    Trust your instincts to have a non-BYU experience. Many in the Church do a great disservice to aspiring college students by unduly promoting BYU. It can be a fine experience for some but there are so many other, wonderful options for a Mormon student. For me personally, I was accepted to BYU, but chose to attend the University of Utah. Despite what U haters might say, this is not exactly escaping the Mormon bubble, if that is what you want. There are thousands of great LDS students there. I met my wife while there after my mission (we married in the SL temple), had wonderful teachers that changed my life, and made many life-long friends. The best part for me is that none of the great friends I had were living the gospel because of an Honor Code. They were living it because they loved it and comfortable enough with their testimony to live it no matter where they went to school.

    The U was a great choice for me. For you, it might be somewhere else. Regardless, know that there are many great, non-BYU options where you can thrive as an LDS student.

  • AkMama ANCHORAGE, AK
    July 8, 2014 5:04 p.m.

    Others have addressed the need to research and make a plan. That is important. But there are some other ideas this young person has not explored. First, perhaps a gap year, working full-time would be a good idea. Besides providing some time to grow up, you have the opportunity to save money. Next, I would suggest looking into volunteer service opportunities, around the US and around the world. Short-term service can be a great way to get away from home, test yourself, and see who you really are and what you want from life. Looking for internships outside of Utah each summer while in school is also a great way to get out and test your wings. Finally, a couple of people suggested Study Abroad programs. Lots of universities have them and you often don't have to be a student there. Find out what other schools offer in your area of interest. If BYU is what you can afford, use one of these other ways to test and challenge yourself. If you look (and pray for) for solutions, you will find them. Focus on what you Do want, not what you don't want.

  • Aunt Sue SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 8, 2014 9:30 p.m.

    I went to U of U, a four generation family tradition. Married a member in my stake attending BYU, but he graduated U of U. Our kids attended North Carolina State (2), Embry Riddle Aeronautical, Portland State, Western Oregon and several community colleges along the way. Our family was in North Carolina and Oregon for several years. Five out of six married LDS and are active LDS. My sister lived in Virginia and sent all three to BYU. Hers married younger and all are active LDS. Pray, listen to parents, maybe stay local for the first two years, and follow what you feel from the Lord.

  • Socal Coug San Diego, CA
    July 9, 2014 11:30 a.m.

    BYU's your best bet. Sometimes you're too close to the forest to see the trees.
    Stay in the dorms, then off-campus housing in walking distance. You'll forget you're in your own backyard because you'll have a different perspective LIVING there. You'll meet all new people and have a great time.
    Sorry, there's no other way to put it: The experience at BYU is like none other.

  • Scaffold Washington, DC
    July 9, 2014 3:09 p.m.

    BYU is a fine institution. But it isn't for everyone. I chose to go to the U of U. I was never interested in BYU. I didn't want to be in such an overt religious environment. However, my wife went to BYU and really enjoyed it. There is a pernicious myth that BYU is "hard to get into". A 65% acceptance rate is not very competitive. Regardless, after a couple years it doesn't matter where you get your undergraduate degree. Work performance and Graduate school are much more important. I went from the U to the Ivy League for multiple graduate degrees. Having lived, worked, and studied for years on the East coast I can say it is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. The DC area is nice if you want to enjoy all kinds of diversity while still having lots of other Mormons around (but not the whole neighborhood!).

    My advice: Think this through more deeply. Come up with a plan. Do your undergrad for as cheap as possible (BYU, U of U, USU are all good options. SVU is not). Save east coast for grad school, internships, or a job. Good luck!

  • gatsby Murray, utah
    July 9, 2014 3:54 p.m.

    I grew up out of state and was thrilled with my experience attending BYU, where I graduated with a BA and an MA. I also subsequently attended 2 other private universities back East--one in NY state and one in DC, and I can say that hands down, BYU offered me the best educational opportunities. BYU specializes in undergraduate training and thus the emphasis for faculty is on teaching. Most universities reward faculty for publishing--many classes at big name schools are taught by grad students and you never even see a professor. Also, BYU has a huge beautiful campus with people from all over the world and the price is fantastic!!! I understand wanting to branch out, but it can be very lonely being single at other universities. At one of the Eastern schools I attended, there was myself and one other single LDS guy on all of campus. The other LDS folks were married. Be sure of what it is that you're really looking for. Just living away from home is a huge change of pace and could be accomplished at BYU. Be prayerful and good luck

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    July 11, 2014 9:25 p.m.

    I didn't go to BYU. Would have had a great experience there, I'm sure, but I felt I should go elsewhere. Got involved heavily in institute and had great experiences. I married in the temple and am still very active.

    Students who go to BYU and get married have also gone inactive. Where you go to school is not so important to your future in the church as is your personal conversion to the gospel. If you immerse yourself in building your testimony -- that can happen just about anywhere - being surrounded by thousands of LDS students is not a guarantee -- Oh, it may 'make things easier', but a strong testimony isn't the result of an easy 'go of it'. A strong testimony and lifelong commitment to the gospel can happen in Provo as well as New York.

  • Gr8Dane Tremonton, UT
    July 11, 2014 10:50 p.m.

    My advice is to look at going to Southern Virginia University. A private liberal arts school in rural Virginia close to Lexington and VMI, but is predominately LDS students and faculty (but not all). They live the honor code similar to BYU. Something to consider. Have family members who have attended there and loved it.