College application season is right around the corner, and if you’re the parent to twins, buckle up for it’s going to be a bumpy ride! Yes, applying to college is stressful but when you have two applying at the same time, it can be a bit unbearable.
Whew! Glad that part of our lives is a thing of the past!
As many of my readers know, my fraternal twin sons just finished their first year of college. But what my readers may not know is that my boys attend the same university. While many twins deliberately choose different school (and others intentionally decide to head off to school together), my guys didn’t have an opinion either way. “It’s a non-issue,” they’d say when asked the question (and believe me, people asked often). “If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”
Yet a number of confluences led them to the same school—each wanted to stay in the state of California, for instance, and after coming from a small, Catholic high school, each wanted to attend a large, public university. Finances helped to further narrow each boy’s list of acceptances. As their parents struggling to pay for double-duty tuition, we quickly vetoed the private schools with $60,000-a-year price tags. So in the end, their choices were very limited, and it wasn’t a huge surprise when they both ended up at the same school.
So how did it go?
Thankfully pretty darn well. For instance, both boys adjusted to college life very quickly and had a positive first year experience (perhaps a bit too positive, I think, after seeing their first-semester grades). Score one in the “advantage” column. Although my twins did not room together, just knowing the other was right there on campus had to have helped each boy acclimate to the co-ed life a bit easier. And I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a sweeping generality: I believe that twins who attend the same college (and get along well) probably have a lower first-year drop out rate than singletons. This is not statistically proven, mind you, just anecdotal, but it rings true to me as many kids who drop out of school their freshman year do so because they have trouble finding a social group to bond with or the pangs of home sickness are just too overwhelming. Having your twins together on campus, however, not only helps to lessen the feelings of loneliness and isolation, but doubles your friend base as well.
As a parent, I loved that my twins were on the same schedule (no surprise there). Same winter break; same spring break. Great for planning the holidays and family vacations. Financially, however, there was no advantage to both boys attending the same school, at least their first year. (It’s worth noting that some universities do offer sibling discounts; just not my son’s school.) But this year, we hope to see some savings as we ended up purchasing a small, two-bedroom condo near the university for both boys to live in while attending school. The mortgage and property taxes together are actually cheaper than paying for both boys to live on campus or rent apartments off campus. It’s our hope to sell it in a few years and break even. They are still not sharing a room as each boy has brought in an outside roommate.
Still, a tiny part of me questions if it would have been better for each boy to go his separate way and attend a different school. Should I have pushed my boys just a bit more to go in different directions? There’s always that question in the back of my mind—do they rely too much on each other emotionally? But to be honest, I’m not really sure what that means. Does it mean, they consult each other for advice when things get tough? If so, isn’t that a good thing? When I ask them if they feel they are dependent on each other, they laugh at the suggestion saying they spend a lot of time apart—and they do—but I wonder nonetheless. (I’m a mother; worrying is what I do best!)
So is attending the same school hampering their individuation and leap to independent adulthood? Will it be harder for them to live separate lives as adults due to their time together in college? It’s anyone’s guess. But my boys seem to be balancing their twin bond with their quest to be individuals just fine, thank you. And I couldn’t be more proud of them. Well, I guess I could be if they’d just study a bit more.