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A Little Getaway


We had a quick overnight trip to Atlanta this weekend. It was scheduled around a college visit for Princess – Spelman College. What a beautiful campus and a step into a different culture for myself and Princess’ friend who accompanied us.

I was very sad to hear that they did away with their sports programs in their entirety. Otherwise, I believe it would have made Princess’ short list. I was very impressed with their campus and offerings. And I’m very glad we visited.

dinner out in Atlanta

A Night Away

I used points for an overnight stay downtown, it was nice that using points also covers the cost of parking! And the girls’ had a blast scootering around downtown Atlanta and taking hundreds (literally, hundreds) of pictures. (They each paid for their own scooter. Mine cost $11, they were out a bit longer then me.)

We didn’t go outside of our budget for this trip at all. I had set aside monies from our weekly cash budget for food and entertainment. (I scheduled her college visits several months ago around her school breaks.)

It was a really great way to enjoy her fall break from school. And visit with a friend from her old school.

We walked for miles, enjoyed free Cokes from the World of Coke and tried out an amazing restaurant that I found on Yelp – Poor Calvins! The restaurant was a bit pricey, but we all shared an appetizer and the special of the day. It was a great way to enjoy the experience without breaking the bank!

Berry Rice with Scallops

Because we didn’t have reservations (didn’t realize I had picked somewhere that required them,) they let us eat outside. It was a wonderful adventure, especially after a 2 mile scooter ride from our hotel Friday night.

Next weekend, Princess is off on a retreat with some girls from school. (Sponsored by another family, so no cost to us.) I have plans to finish my Christmas shopping/making for our Texas family. And to do a purge of my bedroom and living room.


  • Reply angela |

    Hope, I fear you’re setting your kids up for future financial ruin here. Spelman is 51k for tuition room and board. Princess may get a scholarship, but will it cover all that? Doubtful.

    That being said, what does it matter if a college has sports? Your daughter is a junior and still playing JV. She won’t have the option to play in college.

    I urge you to look at state schools. In Georgia, state schools are FREE for students who make over a 3.0 gpa in high school. There is no better gift to a child than helping them make sound financial decisions to start their adult life right!

    • Reply Hope |

      She is playing JV because as a transfer student, she is not allowed to play varsity at her new school.
      And we have already had several coaches ask if she was wanting to play in college. So I am certainly not closing the door on that. Even if it is just a inter-mural league, it’s important to her. Spelman doesn’t offer that.
      That is why it matters.

      And I agree, my goal all along has been for them to all get out of the extended education (whatever that looks like) with no debt. So far so good with Sea Cadet and History Buff. The visit to Spelman was to see a school for racial minorities empowering women. The more she is exposed to, the better idea she will have what she really wants. Right now, her only choice is because of emotional/family tie.

        • Reply Hope |

          It is a very unique college…all girls, historic, black college. I don’t know why we wouldn’t want to visit.
          It was certainly empowering for my bi-racial girls to see girls with hair like her, who speak like her, in a place where they aren’t the only one. I could feel it and so could she. I have no regrets. I’m just sorry that our society makes her feel so alone most of the time.

          It was interesting to listen to her and her “white” friend afterwards. How awkward it felt to her friend (not bad, just awkward.) And Princess pointing out that is how it is for her most places. It’s not a judgement, it’s an experience and a valuable for all three of us.

      • Reply Laura |

        I have a friend whose son got a football scholarship, and they still had to pay some out of pocket. Don’t count on sports scholarships to 100% pay for college. If she can go to a state school for free, steer her towards that. Many, if not most, employers don’t care that much where you went to college anyway as long as you have the degree.

        You also seem to have a lot of credit cards points, how much are you putting on that card?

        • Reply Sarah |

          I also wonder where all these credit card points are coming from. And the Cokes at World of Coke are not free. It costs $13-$17 for an entrance ticket. As for the colleges, it is beyond my comprehension why you would ever consider anything but one of the excellent state schools in Georgia. The scholarships Georgia offers cannot be beat. This is a golden opportunity to make a sound financial decision.

          • Hope |

            Actually, they were giving away full size Coke to promote Stranger Things outside of the World of Coke.
            And we had passes for the World of Coke from a friend.

        • Reply Hope |

          I have regular bills (both household and business) that go on the credit card. It’s all on auto pay, credit card pays the bill and cash pays the credit card the same day. No balance for more than 24 hours at a time.
          The credit card is not in use otherwise.

    • Reply Kate |

      You never know. I went to a highly ranked liberal arts college that now costs more than Spelman. There was no merit scholarship there, only need-based. It ended up costing me less than a state school. It definitely is not worth going into huge debt for a private education, but it is worth checking out financial aid packages in case you are surprised.

  • Reply Jennifer |

    Spelman’s average ACT score is 23 and it costs how much????
    My two youngest sons attend a public university in Ohio. The average ACT score is 28. They both were involved in service work in high school and got good grades. They wrote beautiful essays pertaining to being biracial for a scholarship awarded by the university and both attend tuition free with a stipend for all four years. They attend weekly meetings for this scholarship, have mentors, and continue to do volunteer work in their new community with their fellow Turner Scholars (a program for minorities and first generation college students).
    Perhaps you could look into colleges that have similar programs. Banking on a volleyball scholarship seems like a long shot.
    And again obviously an expensive school doesn’t equate necessarily to top notch academics
    Out of state can get the scholarship that my sons did….University of Cincinnati

  • Reply Kiki |

    My sister, who lives in Atlanta, has 8 children and 7 of them are graduates of the main Georgia state school (cannot recall the city.) They all used the Hope Scholarship and remained eligible for this while in the university by maintaining a 3.0 GPA. They worked full time in the summers and had work study jobs to pay for room and board. (A couple of them were also RA’s in their dorms.) You would have to be nuts not to look into this. ALL these nieces and nephews graduated debt-free. It will be virtually impossible for your daughter not to have debt at any private school. Tuition is sky-high at all of them now, and there is no way everything will be covered 100%, even for a minority student, if that is what your hope. Even people with money take advantage of the Hope Scholarship in Georgia. They are smart enough to help their children remain debt-free.

    • Reply Hope |

      Absolutely! I always talk about the education advantages available here in GA. My twins were able to take advantage of the Hope grant as well.
      All my kids know of the goal to go through college/trade school debt free. We talk about it all the time as they make decisions about what they are doing.

  • Reply Shanna |

    I think I have said this here before but can’t recall. 2 of my children were recruited for college sports. Truly being recruited is different than getting vague interest in “playing in college”. I am not at ALL trying to be a downer but do worry you may be putting your eggs in one basket a bit. A Volleyball player that is going to receive any athletic scholarship money (D-1) has likely been identified around freshman year of high school and are usually close to 6′ or taller, my daughters had club team mates who had verbal confirmations in 9th grade (meaningless except for the fact that there is true interest in them athletically) . At this point your club and high school coach would be getting feedback and interest to pass on to you. There is no chance that a player who is JV as a junior would be getting D-1 interest, even if the school has a really strong volleyball program. That doesn’t mean she isn’t a fantastic high school volleyball player, just that the D-1 level is a huge jump. Most D 1 players are Varsity all 4 years, regionally and statewide recognized, etc. That being said, intermurals and club sports are a fantastic way to meet people and stay involved in a sport you love. If you get the sense she could possible play at a D-1 or D-2 level, playing volleyball at a JC is a way a lot of kids move into a much higher school athletically than they might have as a newly graduated high school senior. And I agree with looking at Georgia’s state schools, will be a huge money saver and she should be up for some great merit money with her obvious smarts. Also, even one or two points on the ACT can add a lot of money to what you are offered financially. One of my kids took the ACT again to go from a 30 to a 31 and that upped her out of state merit money to $20000 a year from $15,000. For ONE point! SO it is worth it to look at what the school list as their criterion for merit money as well. Cheers to this exciting time for you and your daughter!

    • Reply Hope |

      We are not looking for a scholarship at this point, just the opportunity to play.
      And agree with you on the value of high test scores. Princess is taking an ACT/SAT prep class this semester. And will take either the ACT or SAT in December. She takes the PSAT on Wednesday.

  • Reply JP |

    I think its fine to visit as many colleges as possible and sounded like a fun trip. When you get to the actual application and financial process some of course will rise to the top – and others will definitely be off the list. I think its great that Georgia has free tuition to their state schools. I think that is a historically black college so she may have wanted to check it out.

  • Reply C@thesingledollar |

    If she can get into Spelman and get enough of a need-based scholarship to cover costs (entirely within the realm of possibility if she gets in), it would be totally insane not to consider it. She should apply. She can always play volleyball on a club team in Atlanta, both in and after college. Spelman (if she doesn’t have to go into major debt) would be a huge boost to her career beyond college.

  • Reply Cad |

    I think what you stated- and what others seem to have ignored – about a minority student witnessing an environment where similar students are celebrated is worth so much more. 100% agree with this!

So, what do you think ?