All Too Soon: A Father’s Musings on His Daughter’s Impending Graduation


“Mother, may I go out to swim?
Yes, my darling daughter;
Hang your clothes on a hickory limb,
But don’t go near the water.”

Our daughter will graduate from high school this spring. She was born in summer and skipped a grade, so it worked out that she made it through the public schools at the ripe old age of 16.

She’ll turn 17 this summer and, hopefully, will enter a 4-year college this fall. So she’ll be 17 all the way through her freshman year. And this is what troubles us.

First, there’s the matter of money. Can a 17-year-old obtain a student loan? Does she need a cosigner? What if her parents have (*ahem*) less than spectacular credit? Does being underage disqualify her from getting a work-study job? We know she can’t rent a car (and that’s a GOOD thing), but will her exclusion from any other “grownup” functions hamstring her at college?

Then there’s the social aspect. Will being underage prevent her from attending certain social events, especially those relevant to her major, if alcoholic beverages are being served? Will a parental consent form suffice to allow her to participate? Are there other activities for which an underage freshman will be required to have consent?

Of course, we don’t want her drinking and engaging in all the “activities” for which colleges are notorious (although we have no illusions about our little princess). But we don’t want her to be left out and unable to make connections, either.

We HAVE made her a “JAILBAIT” sign for her to wear around campus, so at least we’re not worried about THAT issue.

Sure. If only.

Perhaps our concerns are overblown, but, you know, her mother worries. Any comments or advice from parents who have been in our situation are welcome.

Related reading: When Your Child Turns 18 and Goes to College: What Parents Need to Know

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