The preschool admissions process can be very stressful. With so may deadlines to hit, essays to write, interviews to conduct, and fees to pay, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
This post will help you better navigate the preschool admissions process for your little one. The more you know, the greater your chance of getting into preschool.
The Preschool Admissions Process Starts Early
When my wife was pregnant in late 2016, a friend told me, “You need to apply to preschool within the first three months after he’s born.“
He had one kid in private elementary school and two kids in private middle school. He is also a centimillionaire.
“Absurd!” I responded.
“Hey, it’s up to you buddy. Getting into preschool in San Francisco is harder than getting into Princeton. Don’t let your lack of preparedness hurt your son’s chances for a bright future.“
Damn it. Guilt sets in.
“Well since you put it that way. I guess I’ll get on it. Want to give us a recommendation when he goes in 2019 or 2020?“
“Of course I will,” my friend replied as we resumed our tennis match.
This post is an introduction into how daunting it is for families living in big cities to get their kids into preschool. It should also give some sense as to why there’s so much anxiety among parents and children early on.
As someone who has questioned the necessity of paying for private grade school tuition, yet who also wants the best for his son, this post serves as a type of mental penance for going through this process. I’ve spent the last seven years trying to escape the grind, but somehow, I’m always getting pulled back in.
I also hope this post brings joy to families who live in lower cost areas of the country who don’t have to worry about hyper competition due to a lack of supply. Living in a big city has its perks, but helping your child get a quality education is not one of them.
It’s only until kindergarten where all families are eligible for a free public education.
Beginning Of The Preschool Admissions Grind
When it comes to getting your child into a top preschool in a big city, a lot of it is about who you know, rather than your child’s abilities. After all, your little one isn’t going to cure malaria at two or three years old.
The demand is so high simply because there aren’t enough schools. I heard through a board member at one preschool that 100 kids applied for the four spots available to non-sibling children. Siblings get automatic acceptance.
Since our boy is our first child, we have to blaze our own trail, Financial Samurai style, in order for him to get in anywhere. But we enjoy the challenge, partly because we like the excitement that uncertainty brings. The preschool admissions process would be our latest fun challenge to conquer.
Given the average acceptance rate for the top-rated preschools is around 10%–15%, the logical conclusion is to apply to 7-10 in order to get into one.
We ended up applying to seven preschools in San Francisco and one preschool in Honolulu. Three of the applications are for 2019 when he’s first eligible to attend at 2.5 years old. The remaining five applications are for 2020, when most preschools allow children to enroll.
Now that I’m reviewing this post in 2021, it’s interesting how our plans changed. Even if we got into a great preschool in Fall 2020, we wouldn’t have attended due to the global pandemic!
Preschool Application Fee Average Cost
An annoying part of the preschool admissions process is paying for the application fee. Even if you don’t get in, you won’t get your application fee back.
The average preschool application fee ranges from $50 – $150 each school. For us, we paid about $1,000 in application fees for eight schools.
Since all preschools cost more or less the same in tuition (~$1,200 – $2,800 a month depending on how many days a week), we figured we might as well apply to the top-rated ones.
If you’re looking to go out to dinner, surely you’d rather go to a 5-star restaurant if the price is the same as a 3-star restaurant.
If our son gets rejected by all nine, then we will home school him since we have maximum flexibility. That doesn’t sound like a bad idea at all actually. There are plenty of ways for kids to socialize with other kids nowadays thanks to the internet.
Why Our Chance Of Getting Into Preschool Is Slim
I don’t remember the last time I felt like an idiot. Actually, maybe it was last summer when I didn’t sell my House Sale Fund portfolio when it was up 13%. Yeah, that was dumb to not take profits when it surpassed my 10% blue sky target.
But with this preschool stuff, I feel lost because I realize the odds are extremely stacked against my family and there’s really not much I can do to improve these odds. And to spend $1,000 on preschool applications alone leaves me with a funny feeling – like I’m a sucker.
Here are some of the reasons why I believe we’ve got little chance of getting our boy into a top-rated preschool. These reasons should help you appreciate what you have and question the choice of living an unconventional lifestyle.
1) We have a small network.
As two stay at home parents who’ve been away from the traditional workforce for years, my wife and I don’t have a large network of parents who have kids at XYZ preschool who can vouch for us. As a result, we are at a large disadvantage simply because not enough of the community knows who we are.
One can easily imagine a colleague or a manager on the board of a preschool who provides a fellow colleague an in. Many large corporations have tie-ups with preschools as a benefit to their employees. That’s just the way the world works. We take care of people who we know and like. Being away from networking activities for seven years is likely going to hurt us.
2) We have low-level jobs.
On our application, I say I’m an assistant high school tennis coach (not even the head coach) and a stay at home dad. My wife says says she’s a freelance writer and a stay at home mom. We don’t ever say we run Financial Samurai due to our desire for privacy.
I think being a stay at home parent is an extremely important job, but we can’t compete with parents who are executives at a hot startup or partners in venture capital, private equity, or investment banking. I swear all the parents who attended the open houses we went to worked in these fields.
Society does not appreciate creatives as much as they appreciate high powered money making occupations. If society did, it wouldn’t push our artists, writers, poets, and teachers out of the city.
From the school’s perspective, they want parents who can be ambassadors of the school in their large networks and also be financial backers down the road. If you work in private equity, you will naturally have lots of rich friends who will have children and donate big bucks down the road.
If you’re an assistant high school tennis coach who makes $1,200 a month like I do, your circle of friends probably isn’t going to be as desirable to the school. And yes, I spent one month’s of coaching salary on preschool application fees.
But here’s the main reason why I put down I’m a writer and assistant tennis coach, instead of an entrepreneur or ex-banker a lifetime ago. We want to support a school that appreciates creatives and educators. A school is about child development first, not about money and prestige. If a school is willing to accept us with our lower-income occupations, that’s the family we want to join.
3) We lead unconventional lifestyles with no recognition.
It’s funny. I dislike fame. But you better believe that if I was famous in a good way, my son would have a huge leg up getting into schools. Do you really think any college would reject Malia Obama even if she had terrible grades and test scores? Of course not. Alas, we are nobodies.
The only thing we do is help people achieve financial freedom sooner in order to live their best lives possible. Helping people achieve financial security is nice, especially since we do so for free, but a school would rather have parents working conventional jobs at well-known companies. It’s part of the cachet, even if the employer is known to feature fake news and manipulate your private data.
The only reason I’d ever give up my privacy or lead a more conventional lifestyle is if I could help my son. And I’m not sure preschool is worth the price.
We really cherish being able to spend as much time as possible with our son as stay at home parents. But we recognize we will be viewed as misfits given less than 1% of households have two stay at home parents.
4) We do not come from a wealthy legacy family.
I know many people in San Francisco who live in multi-million dollar mansions, but who have occupations that cannot afford such luxurious lifestyles. What’s going on is that multi-generational family money has allowed them to live a life of leisure.
For example, one family founded a newspaper and sold it for $660 million in the mid-1990s. Surely the $660 million has grown to over $1 billion today. By setting up multi-million dollar endowments at several schools (preschool, middle school, high school, college), their heirs get guaranteed entrance to these schools forever. Are the heirs bad people? Of course not. They’re just like everybody else, except with tremendous advantages.
We know that kids of legacy donors have a 70%+ acceptance rate at Harvard versus <6% for the overall admissions rate. We also know that many schools of similar stature conduct similar practices for the wealthy and powerful. This is the way the world works, and the rest of us have no choice but to compete with what we have.
5) We are not part of the majority.
Schools without racial bias would generally reflect the overall racial makeup of the city e.g. a preschool should have a similar demographic makeup as San Francisco: 48% White, 33% Asian, 6% Black, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 0.5% Native American, 6.6% Other, and 4.7% Bi-racial or Multi-racial.
Unfortunately, based on the data we’ve read and what we’ve observed after visiting several preschools, about 75% of the student population is White versus 48% for the entire San Francisco population. A ~27% difference is statistically significant, which means something is up.
Perhaps the huge discrepancy is because of legacy and family connections, which has carried on for generations. After all, these preschools are private, and it’s natural to take care of their own.
Although I belong to a private tennis club where the racial demographic is quite skewed like at many private preschools, I’m not sure we want our son growing up in such a homogenous environment. As a kid growing up overseas attending international schools, I found it wonderful to be immersed in so many different cultures.
When I entered the real world, it was much easier to assimilate and grow.
See: How The Rich Get Richer: Competing In A Rigged Game
Preschool Admissions Process: Just Keep Trying
Whatever you do, know the odds are stacked against you. The preschool admissions process can make the grittiest person want to give up.
You can either give up, or you can keep on going. I’ve always chosen the latter. As a parent now, I’ve got no other choice but to stay on the ball.
Of course I will always have fear of rejection. I fear the continuous rejection I’ve experienced will continue on with my son. And unless we move to Asia or Honolulu, it stings knowing that my son will one day be discriminated against and rejected like his old man was growing up.
But on the bright side, the difficulties I went through growing up helped make me who I am today. And frankly, I feel pretty darn good about my situation. It’s healthy to sometimes get told you’re not good enough so you develop a chip on your shoulder to prove your detractors wrong.
A part of me hopes we get rejected by the early start preschools we applied to for 2019 so that we can go on a great adventure and travel the world again.
How amazing would it be to relocate to Honolulu this summer and enjoy the islands until the fall of 2020 when he’s eligible for a larger number of preschools at 3.5 years old? There’s always a bright side in everything.
If you’re a parent in a big city applying to a top preschool, let me leave you with some following thoughts.
Final Tips For The Preschool Admissions Process
* Get on the ball and apply early since you will eventually have to apply. Make sure you meet every deadline and send follow up letters to show your continued interest. Schools want to hear about the progress of your little one. The latest you can usually apply is the fall before your kid is planning on attending.
* It’s worth building relationships with parents who have kids attending your target preschools or board members of your target preschools. Worst case, you’ll make some friends or know you don’t want to be part of their community.
* Attend all recommended “get to know you and the school” events. These include lunches, dinners, fundraisers, etc.
* Create a picture collage and tell your story. Don’t just upload one picture in the application, make a collage of pictures that show progression over time. Preschools want to have a good community of parents they can rely on to be good ambassadors and available volunteers.
* Attending an “elite preschool” might worsen your chances of getting into a good grade school program. Therefore, look to diversify. It’s not the end all be all if you don’t get into the top-rated preschool.
* So long as the preschool has a good reputation, has a good teacher:student ratio, and has involved parents, it should be good enough. Don’t underestimate the value of proximity either.
* Consider parent co-op preschools, public preschool if you qualify, or for-profit education systems like Gymboree that accept everyone.
Related post: How To Get Into A Great Preschool Or Private Grade School – Now that we’ve gotten into three great schools, here are more thoughts
Your Child Will Get In Somewhere
Apologies if this post has raised your anxiety level. I just like to write out my thoughts because I’m thorough. Thinking is free after all.
At the end of the day, we’re only applying to preschool, so don’t sweat it! I just thought it’d be fun to chronicle this journey. Don’t let lack of effort close options for your child.
The most important things we can provide our children are love, time, and attention. Besides, the internet has democratized learning and opportunity.
What Happened With Us – 2021 Update
By 2019, we got into one out of seven preschools. Fortunately, the preschool he got into was our neighborhood preschool just five minutes away. We got in because we got to know a teacher who worked there. Every week for 1.5 years, we kept bumping into him at the science museum.
We sent our son to preschool for five months before deciding to homeschool him due to the pandemic. For now, we plan to homeschool until Fall 2021. At least he got to experience some time in preschool. We’re also glad to be able to spend so much time with him.
We’re doing a lot of the things he would have done in preschool. For example, we do arts and crafts every day and go on field trips three times a week. It’s also nice to save $2,000 a month!
We found out in March 2021 that our son got into one of the preschools we originally got waitlisted to for Fall 2020. It was just as well as we wouldn’t have sent him anyway due to the pandemic.
We’ve decided to accept this preschool’s offer and enroll him in Fall 2021. The school is a language immersion school that goes through the 8th grade. We are thrilled to have gotten in and we hope our son loves the school as well. If he does, our daughter will have an easier time getting in as well.
Finally, in July 2021, we found out we got into the “Harvard Of Preschools” for Fall 2021. We had originally applied to this school in 2017, three months after our son was born. Crazy right?
We will likely not forfeit our enrollment deposit at the language immersion school and accept the last-minute acceptance. It was a tough decision, especially since our daughter would automatically get into the Harvard Of Preschools too. But it’s only preschool and our son’s current language immersion school is excellent.
At the end of the day, I’m sure your child will get in somewhere. The preschool might not be your top choice, but so long as the teachers are caring, that’s what matters most.
Related posts about preschool:
Why Households Need To Earn $300,000 A Year To Live In A Middle Class Lifestyle Today – it’s expensive raising a family in a big city
Is Private Grade School K-12 Worth It?
What If You Go To Harvard And End Up A Nobody?
Readers, have any of you gone through a similarly rigorous preschool admissions process for your children because there was too much demand and not enough schools? Do you think schools should refund the application fee, or at least part of it, if your kid is not accepted? Why don’t preschools want more racial and socioeconomic diversity? Do you think highlighting Financial Samurai would be helpful since we don’t have full-time jobs?
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Which pre schools require one to apply when the little child is just a few months old for a 2 year old program? WOuld be very curious!
Also, do you know what the best preschools are in los angeles?
Great article as always, glad you are writing up about your parental experiences, it’s all tied in with financials too, especially relating to private school
Aasma Shopoff says
Did you find a school? We are at the Scandinavian School which is absolutely amazing in every way and flies under the radar. Many independent kindergartens love kids from the Scandinavian School because of their focus on social emotional learning.
Financial Samurai says
We did! But we’ve been homeschool since March 2020 due to the pandemic. Our son is having lots of fun at home and it seems like he is learning at a much faster pace.
But the social play with other kids his age is missing.
Derek McDoogle says
I found it interesting when you said that attending an “elite preschool” might worsen your chances of getting into a good grade school program. My wife and I are thinking about whether or not to take our child to preschool since she does not work. I will share this article with her so she can have a better idea of how good can be to take him to preschool.
Faylinn Byrne says
I really appreciate that you mentioned that you should apply early since you will eventually have to apply to preschools. My husband and I recently had our first baby and we are trying to stay ahead of things just so we don’t run into problems later on. These tips have been really useful and we will keep them in mind when we start looking for preschools for our little girl.
Thomas Jameson says
It’s good to know that making connections and networking can increase your odds of getting your kid into preschool. My daughter is almost preschool age, and my wife and I want her to have the highest chance of getting into a good preschool that she possibly can. We’ll be sure to start networking to increase her odds of acceptance.
Did you ultimately make a decision / get into the preschool you wanted? We were very late to the game (our child was born in late 2016 too and figured he would be ‘behind’ a year anyways) and didn’t start contacting preschools until a few weeks ago and surprisingly enough we got 5 acceptances (to the ‘expensive’ preschools you mentioned) and 1 waitlist with a strong possibility of admission which really struck us as odd because everyone said apply as soon as your child is born. Could it be there really aren’t as many families in San Francisco with young children?
Financial Samurai says
Wow! Congrats! Is it possible for you to share some of your demographic information? Such as your race, your profession, and an income range?
We got waitlisted/rejected from two schools and we got into our neighborhood preschool 5 minutes away whoo hoo!
I was actually hoping we would get rejected to all three so we could have no baggage or less regrets moving to Hawaii. What do you plan to do?
Jen P says
Do not despair!!! There are actually more than a couple really fantastic pre-schools in SF, my absolute favorite of which is Montessori Children’s House (www.mchsf.com). It’s a non-profit and offers lots of financial aid, so won’t break the bank, and is strongly committed to diversity, and, of course Montessori. Montessori is based on helping kids develop independently. Our kids are capable of so much more than we allow, and MCHSF has been instrumental in helping me back off as a mom and let my children do it themselves.
Yes, there is an application process. But no, you certainly don’t have to apply before your kid is 3. And if you miss the formal application process, just call the school. They are often willing to make room, or in the very least help you navigate to an alternative.
This process doesn’t need to be horrible. It certainly shouldn’t be. MCHSF “gets it” and attracts other parents who “get it” too. So come be with your people!
Mark T says
FS…Why are you even considering preschool? Studies show it’s not only not necessary and your child is actually better off being with the parents until Kindergarten, and not until AGE 6.
Be careful about your ego or trendy state-driven narratives about what’s best for your child overriding what instinctually you probably already know — you would prefer having more time to learn emotionally and intellectually from your parents if you were a toddler again.
Read more and save yourself money and harm to your child.
Just wondering. What was the final outcome with your son’s school?
Since you don’t need to be in San Francisco for a job, I don’t understand why you still live there. These types of preschools are networking opportunities for parents more than anything else. If you are truly out of the rat race, this is irrelevant for you. Your child will be better served through travel and living in a more family-friendly area such as Honolulu.
I have lived in Tucson, Orinda, and Truckee with kids (medium western city, affluent suburb, idyllic resort town), so I feel I have some ability to comment here. I think pre-school is largely useless and expensive competitive pre-school might actually be bad for kids. You can easily design your own at home pre school that is far superior. The idea of learning reading, writing, math before kindergarten is laughable and counter productive. Kids 5 and under need the following things: a loving home, lots of good hands on creative exploration, LOTS of books read out loud to them, lots of exposure to the outdoors and nature. Even in SF this is fairly readily at hand. Pre school is useful if you have to go to work. But don’t kid yourself into thinking its actually better for them. They are better off at home. There really is no point in learning to read before kindergarten. Don’t rob kids of their childhood!
Financial Samurai says
Sounds good. So skip preschool altogether?
Why do you think preschools exist then?
How did your kids turn out?
david krivan says
I really don’t see a benefit to pre school other than child care, IF you are providing a quality home environment. The idea that a four year old needs structured academics is insane. Why do they exist? Primarily child care. I just don’t think that above some basic minimum level, the quality of the preschool makes any difference at all. Both my kids learned how to read in public K and 1st grade, and both were basically off the chart at their first testing a year or two later. Why? Because they developed a love of books as non readers first. That is just one example that suggests academic pursuits at an earlier age are not beneficial. What people really should be doing is focusing on spending time with young children, reading to them a lot, and putting them in quality environments where they can explore their surroundings and engage in creative play.
Financial Samurai says
Where are you a stay at home dad? If so, how did you guys structure your day? Thanks
Preschool is certainly not a requirement. There are lots of other opportunities to socialize kids. Many libraries have drop off story hours starting at 3 years old. They sit and listen to a story then have activities. Children’s museums, nature centers, parks and rec all offer similar classes. We do a two mornings a week preschool that is through the local high school, it is a class high school students take and it costs $25 for us…for the whole year. Otherwise, I would not have our kids in preschool at all. The most important thing is reading to your kids.
Financial Samurai says
Wow, $25 for a year is so cheap!
I agree preschool isn’t a requirement, and I have my hesitation the closer I get to the time he is eligible.
He just got into one preschool. ONe of my fears is that he gets into many of the top rated ones, and then I’ll feel pressured to send him!
I think having him go at 3.5 years old is better. We want to spend more time with him.
At 21 months, he recited every day of the week on Feb 1, 2019. I was shocked. Had no idea………. I’m excited to be a father and raise him!
I completely understand your situation. I was also bullied as a child and it messed me up for quite some time.
However, you can turn your life around.
Age is just an artificial number.
There are so many alcoholics and drug addicts that hit rock bottom – no money, no family, no education, at 30+ year old, they have come back from that pit.
If they can do it, you can too!
It’s only when you’re at you’re at the bottom and about to break that you have the potential to bounce up again, and bounce up high.
I know you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but the light is there.
Don’t hold unnecessary “time limits” to yourself.
If you can survive that level of bullying, you can survive this – just keep going.
When you’re going through hell, just keep going.
I promise you will find that your life has improved in short periods of time.
If you decide to go the suicide route, I understand that too – but let me say this: you will be causing your family irrecoverable amount of pain and grief.
They will never know why you made that decision and they will never get to help. It will be completely unfair to them.
Think about how it will shatter your mother. Was it her fault that all those kids bullied you?
Why make her feel the punishment?
I will do this for you: I will provide you with free personal mentoring and help you get your life on track. I will work with you over emails and I will help you figure out the direction your life. Before you make any decision, PLEASE get in touch with me. It’s fully free and confidential – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
My email is admin [at] lifemathmoney.com
Please get in touch with me before you do anything rash.
– Harsh Strongman
I would try calling the preschools in June and July to see if any spots are open. That is when a lot of kids move up to kindergarten and spots open up :) I happened to call our preschool in July and they told me there was a spot open and if i wanted it. I was lower down the list, but I just happened to call and they offered it up to me. Good luck!
Mrs. Famnancial says
Steve, I didn’t see your comment earlier. My heart aches for you. I am hoping you reached out to some of the resources others suggested. You are worthy of love and happiness. Please give yourself a chance!!!
We are applying for preschool full time for our soon to be 3 year old as we speak. We are kind of experiencing what your going through right now with the sibling rule. The first one we applied to, we got accepted but only for part time since full time is filled up. The toddlers who have older siblings at school got higher priority than us and thus got the full time slots. It was ideal for us to go to that first preschool because it was close to my in-laws house and my son already knows a few kids in there, so it would have been great for him to get in.
About the application fees, it does feel we are getting kind of cheated of paying for these application and interview fees and at the end do not get the answer we wanted. That first one we applied for, we had to pay for $150 total for those pre-enrollment fees and all we have to show for it is getting accepted for part-time which wasn’t our preference.
My goodness, I really hope Steve is OK. Steve, I just wanted to share that I hope you read all these comments and decide against taking your life. Life is long and so much changes in ways you never can imagine or envision beforehand. Did you know that the majority of people who attempt suicide but fail end up not committing suicide in the long run? From a BBC article: “Some folks are determined to die and will find another way to do it. But others are impulsive one-timers who’d go on to have very happy and productive lives,” says Ted Miller, a principal research scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. “That’s especially true of a lot of kids.” You said no one’s brain is fully developed until age 26. At not even 29, that means you are still just a little one. You’ve got so much living to do and that doesn’t mean a list of to do’s it just means you need to be alive and show up for it. I promise that much of it will sort itself out without you even doing much. I really and truly wish you all the best. Please respond here and let us know you made it through your dark days.
Sam, I’m lucky in that our son is going to the community college’s childhood development center (he’ll start in March after he turns 2). I share the values of the place, two of our friends have kids in there, and the curriculum is thoughtful and nurturing. I went to public school once I immigrated to US at age 5, until I went to an elite private college. Although I went to public school, I think I got a lot of social advantages by being in tennis, taking private lessons, having a trainer, going to junior events for tennis, and then going to some pretty fancy summer camps. I still like to say that I learned to survive in the jungle by going to public school. I wouldn’t trade the way I grew up for anything. I value the diversity I got to live daily vs the life I live now as a higher income earner where it’s very homogeneous and rather elitist. I put up with it because I am saving money to live the way I want to live and to give my family more freedom. But that doesn’t mean I share the values of my country club and yacht club colleagues. It’s totally different in the cities which is why I moved out of LA and prefer to live outside of the city but in proximity to it for access to cultural events.
Mrs. Famnancial says
Hi there, Sam. I live in the East Bay, by no means as intense as SF status/stress of virtually everything, but I am agreeing with some of the other readers that it really matters more to just spend time with your kiddo and not stress so much about whether he gets into the top preschool, etc. I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old. My 3 year old is in our city-run preschool in Pleasant Hill. There was a wait list, but he got on pretty quickly. There was no application fee or interview process. We just signed up and waited. It was pretty easy. At first he went twice a week, and now he goes three times a week, 9 to noon. What you guys have going on in SF sounds like crazy-town. I think that is not the reality for most of the nation’s cities. It might just be a NYC and SF Bay phenomenon? There are studies out there, if you are really interested, I could send them to you, that the healthiest thing you can do for your child below the age of 5 is to just spend time with them, singing to them, doing outdoor activities, letting them play with sand, water, dirt, letting them climb on trees, dancing, swimming, just having fun. That is their full-time job, to play. And that is mostly what they will be doing in preschool. Kids pick up on stress. If you are stressed, they will sense it and take on your stress. While I know signing up for schools is stressful because you care about his future and want the best for him, try to also have fun and enjoy your child so that he will remember you as a loving father, not a stressed father….just my two cents!
Financial Samurai says
Sounds good. It’s not so much crazy down. Parents just need to be on the ball given the high demand and low supply.
Curious, do I sound really stressed?
I ask b/c I’m not that stressed b/c we don’t think preschool is the end all be all as we’re both stay at home parents who spend all day with him. We’d like to go on an adventure actually.
But the process is quite thorough. So hope this post encourages other parents to stay focused.
Are you a stay at home parent as well?
Mrs. Famnancial says
You sound like any normal concerned parent who wants the very best for their child. Not overly stressed, just slightly, ha! It is good of you to encourage parents to focus. I think that is commendable.
I am currently working full time, and my husband is the stay-at-home parent. We are working very hard to save every penny so that we can both be part time this fall. My husband is normally an adjunct college professor who is on sabbatical right now to take care of our kids. He plans to go back to part-time teaching in the fall, and then I will go part time as well, so we can both share child-care duties. We want to see our kids grow up, too! It is really the greatest gift.
We live in a neighborhood where every school they would go to is walking distance from our house, all the way up to community college. the community college is a tag program which dumps directly into the UC system, so we will try encourage our kids to go that route and transfer to a UC! But just in case they want a private university experience, we are funding their college funds, too. I personally went to a trade school, and that worked out great for me. My husband went the other route and worked out not so great for him. Education is tricky! Who knows what kind of child yours will be! He may get into Harvard, or he may really want to enter a trade! You just really don’t know. We can do all the worrying and prep of getting them into good preschools, grade schools, high schools, but the rest is up to them.
I love reading your articles, by the way. You are really an inspiration to me!
Mr. Rimmings says
I may come off as the asshole here but I’m not telling you not to do what you intend to do. Because all we can do is speculate and offer advice. None of us have been exactly in your shoes.
I will also tell you this:
I started off at a private school my first half of life and was forced to go public 6th grade on out. I was made fun of constantly; on both ends of the spectrum. I’m now 6’4” and 135 pounds soaking wet. Having not changed much over the years and was constantly the butt end of many jokes. Tall and lanky with a skin condition. I was never very competitive or coordinated but my build forced me in sports. I’ve let everyone down for as long as I can remember. Individuals, coaches, teams, parent(s) (I only had the one the other one left when I was 3). Up into college I was average barely getting by, and always compared to others. Barely measuring up. “Tall for nothing”.
Upon graduating. I could never hold anything steady because my anxiety wouldn’t let that happen.
I won’t go into some long speech telling you what you shouldn’t be doing and I’m quite sure you’ve received the hotline number ad-nausem
But I will say this:
Take time to disconnect. To whatever you can to get away from norm. Get away from whatever shaped you to be what your current image of yourself is. Recreate you.
I almost opt’d out myself after my closest cousin did the deed before me.
Then I found out that I saved myself by traveling. Going (and staying) somewhere foreign. Somewhere where I barely knew the landscape or the the language at times. Where I could be lost without feeling lost. my odd was the norm and acceptable. My small wins were huge victories. I didn’t have to give the satisfaction of me giving up to my bullies, my parents, my coaches, my teammates, ANYONE.
Again. What’s for you is for you only. But what I have found for me is losing myself.
Brandon Byrne says
Steve – Those bullies are total douches. You are not. Remember – It is good that you exist.
I’m so glad you told us that you are thinking of suicide. I’m sad you are hurting. We as a community would like to help. I encourage you to text 741741 or call 800-273-8255 and share your story. I hope you keep talking to us.
Financial Wellness DVM says
Steve- I’m so sorry you’re feeling so much pain.
As a daughter of immigrants, I know how hard it can be to live up to expectations. That feeling of being an extension of your family versus being your own person is very real. Understand that they do not define who you were meant to be. You have your own value and gifts that you share with the world, as much as you think you don’t.
What’s in your bank account, your status….none of this defines your value.
I sincerely hope that you reach out to your loved ones. If you don’t want to talk to them, please call the hotline mentioned above. Ending your pain this way is not a solution. The world is so broken and fragile in so many ways, but there is so much beauty and joy to be had and discovered. Don’t let the broken parts of the world consume you. Choose the beauty, the good, the joyful. YOU can make this choice. Don’t feel like the choice was made for you.
I wish you all the best.
I’ve been having some issues of my own when I was young, and I really hit the bottom at the age of 32 – I had become so anxious that I was no longer able to sleep at night, and was drained of all energy. I was seriously considering taking my own life.
I then got some counselling. After 5 years of therapy with a psychotherapist, my life got much better.
A friendly advice: you should go consult a psychotherapist – there are some good ones out there. I would recommend a psychotherapist specialized in behavioral therapy. It’s a form of therapy that helps you get rid of some habits and replace them with more positive ones. It is easy to put in practice and you can feel the positive changes rapidly.
Please don’t attempt to take your own life. You are still very young – you have plenty of time to turn things around. I guarantee you that behavioral therapy will help you get through this bad phase and put you back on your feet.
Hi Steve. First and foremost, please believe that you are NOT a loser. Your heartfelt comment above shows that you are a very caring person who tries hard. I’m so sorry to hear about the bullying you experienced and that you got fired from those jobs. That is a lot of weight to bear.
What your words show me too is that you are a person who doesn’t give up. For example, you kept applying for new jobs and trying out new jobs. That’s WAY more than a lot of people would do. You are much STRONGER than you give yourself credit for.
Please call this hotline 1-800-273-8255 to talk through your feelings. I think the more you share your feelings, the better you’ll feel and you’ll realize you are not alone. We all experience various setbacks in life and we can all overcome them at our own pace. Stay strong!
Don’t commit suicide.
I was once in the place where you are now. Everything sucked, I had no friends, my future prospects looked bleak. The life ahead of me looked unbearable. The thought of moving forward into that life gave me more pain than what I was already suffering from. Never mind the crap I had gone through already. Also bullying and loneliness. I wanted to end it.
For an entire day I sat with a knife, wondering whether I should stab myself in the heart or slit my throat.
I didn’t for 2 reasons. First, I realised that whilst I would be removing my pain, it wouldn’t disappear. It would instead be pushed onto my family. Everyone I loved and cared for would suffer for my act. I couldn’t do that to them.
Having seen people I know in the years since do it I’m glad I didn’t. The people that cared about them are broken. The suffering I see there is incredible. I’m glad I didn’t inflict that on my family, and I feel deep sorrow for the people that do.
The second reason was that I realised that my life sucked because of choices I had made, and thus if I made different choices, it could become better. The main thing is that I still had a choice about it. If I killed myself, that chance would be gone forever.
So I called my parents and asked for help. They gave it. It put a financial strain on them for a few years, but they were willing to do it if it meant that I would still be around for a while longer.
I will echo what Financial Samurai said, call your parents. Tell them how you feel and ask for their help. They just might surprise you with how much they are willing to give.
And realise you are still here, you can still do something about it.
I wish you strength.
I knew someone who wanted the pain he was feeling to stop.
He thought no one really understood him, and while he intellectually knew his parents loved him – the amount of effort they poured into what they thought was good for him proved it – he didn’t FEEL it.
He had also been been bullied, and he thought that meant there was something wrong with him at a fundamental level.
He also thought all this was permanent and unchangeable.
How do I know this? He told me all about it, years later, after he got some help and resolved a number of things.
I mean, can you imagine a time in the future, say a year from now, having successfully resolved so much of the pain, and telling someone how you did it?
Because he started the process of stopping feeling so bad feeling by contacting a hotline and telling someone how bad it was. It didn’t matter that he knew it wouldn’t help – he called anyway because he thought, there’s no reason not to at this point. So he called a hotline and talked to someone.
Because when you call and talk to someone who hears you, they know about your situation because they help people all the time with similar situations.
He had problems, no doubt. And some things took longer than others to resolve. And yet, he made noticeable improvements over time. Everyone in his life noticed, to the point where what had seemed impossible simply ended up being difficult.
So when I talked to him about it, years later, he seemed actually at peace with himself. When you see that image clearly, and step into that image so you understand what that feels like, you can realize that now is the time for you to call 1-800-273-TALK now.
I echo Sam’s comments. There is a helpline in the US you can call: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Number is: 1-800-273-8255
If you are outside the US you can use this website to find a similar support system in your country: https://www.befrienders.org
These people are trained to listen to people in distress. They can help you.
All the best to you,
Financial Samurai says
Don’t commit suicide. You have provided incredible wisdom to me and my family and any other readers with kids or who plan to raise a family. We are very grateful. The fact that you spent time trying to share your knowledge means that you are very thoughtful and kind. We need more people like you in this world!
I hate that you got bullied so much starting in middle school. And I’m angry your parents did not storm into the administration office and demand change. I will NEVER tolerate bullying because I experienced many bullying and racism instances since middle school as well.
My one difference is that I fought back, even if I had a chance of getting beaten up. I knew that if I could get one smash in it would all be worth it. I was suspended multiple times in middle school and high school, and I got in trouble with the law too. My grades and test scores were quite similar to yours, b/c I really messed up freshman year and it was hard to make it back up as the grades were cumulative. Graduating high school was supposed to be an incredibly happy time, but for me, it was filled with tremendous uncertainty b/c I messed up bad.
Know that when your back is against the wall, there is more upside, than downside. With 1.5 years more to go until 30, so much good can still happen. You don’t have to “make it” by 30. 30 is just an artificial age. Instead, shoot to get on a better path by 30 and know that with enough time and effort, good things will gradually start happening. After all, 40s is the new 30s. Visualize a better life at age 40.
Please speak to your family, whom I’m sure want to hear what you have to say and want to support you. And please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings in the FS Forum as well. It’s a safe place where people have opened up to share their fears, goals, and solutions to problems we all face. I’ll be there for you as well.
Please let me know how your conversation with your parents and brother go.
I am NOT suicidal anymore.
Please delete my comment ASAP.
Financial Samurai says
Glad to hear it Steve!
I think it depends on your eventual goal. There isn’t much learning that happens in preschool/preK but the “right” preschool can be a feeder for a desired private school. It doesn’t sound like you’re interested in that path.
There are a lot of child development schools of thought and sometimes it feels like there is too much choice. There are Montessori, immersion, IB, and even schools that require you to be electronically unplugged, etc. I would suggest touring them. One of our kids is happy no matter where he is. The other needs structure. We started at a place that had a lot of free play and one of our kids wasn’t happy. Now we are at a place that has a good balance of free play and structure to make both happy. I would choose the school based on your kid’s personality. Otherwise, drop off is hell. For other people, I would also suggest choosing a school that works for your job (proximity, extended care, etc) but that’s probably less of an issue for you.
Financial Samurai says
Currently we would love to send him to a language immersion school.
Can you elaborate on the drop off being a help portion? What do you mean? Your care will fight to get out of the car because he doesn’t want to go if this personality does not fit the school style?
If they don’t like the school, you literally can’t extricate yourself. They cling to your clothes and just cry. That can be part of any transition period but it should get better as they become accustomed to the new place unless they resent being there. That’s why all daycares and preschools aren’t created equal. As adults, we don’t like all the people we interact with. The same really applies to kids.