How good is 'good enough'?
And how old should a young person be when they get to make this decision for themselves?
I'm writing about my older son, a very responsable, bright and capable 15 year old. He's a sophomore at our city's best public high school, which is very competitive and academically rigorous. His academic classes are all GT/Honors/pre-AP, and he's currently getting about half A's and half B's (A's in the easy classes, B's in the tough stuff). He could do better and has admitted as much, but he tends to be lazy and is easily distracted. He is not interested is sports, arts, community service or other extra-curricular activities, and prefers to spend his free time playing computer games with his friends, listening to music or napping.
Like a lot of parents, his father (my Ex) and I would like to see him really apply himself and go to a top-ranked university - if possible the same one we both went to. DS has visited the campus (which is beautiful) and really wants to go there too. He has the ability and there is some 'legacy' preference, but at this rate, I suspect DS's chances for admission are about 50%. I've discussed this very frankly with DS, and he understands -- agrees even.
Without changing course, DS could still go to a "good" college. But going to a really top college will require more effort from him, and he's not sure he wants to make that much effort.
So do you think 15 is too young to make that decision for himself?
And if not, how hard we should push?
It's not like he'll have to quit the basketball team and church youth group to have adequate study time -- he's not ON the team or in the group! And DS has expensive tastes -- He doesn't fully realize that the standard of living he grew up with (and wants as a minimum for himself) is what one could expect from a top-notch education and a serious work ethic -- not from a "good" college and "good enough" work ethic.
(And I know it's possible to get a great education from a less-prestigious school if you're self-motivated -- but DS is not really that type of student.)