Y or Y Not: Weekend Poll

By: wheatmeister
September 29, 2012

Rise and shout – this poll is for parents who are thinking about their kids’ college education.  Did you / would you send your kids to the Y?  Y or Y Not?

Will you send your kids to BYU? (choose the answer than most closely fits)

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Which aspects of BYU do you like - as a parent? (choose all that apply)

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Which aspects of BYU do you dislike - as a parent? (choose all that apply)

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39 Responses to Y or Y Not: Weekend Poll

  1. Mike S on September 29, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    I went to BYU for a year before my mission. I had a full, four-year academic scholarship that paid for all my tuition and also gave me cash towards living expenses.

    The classes were great. I met a lot of cool people. The campus was nutso.

    - They wouldn’t sell caffeinated soda, yet they sold NoDoze and Vivarin in the store in the dorms (this ended up being a great thing, as my roommate and I made $30-40/week selling “real” Coke from our dorm room – pizza money)

    - They wouldn’t let me in to eat with “shorts” on that actually came past my knees. Yet when I changed into sweats and pushed them up above my knees, I was fine to eat. When I asked why, it’s because they were “sweats”, not “shorts”.

    - I had to go to standards because I didn’t wear socks to take a test. I was wearing khaki slacks, a button-down Oxford shirt, and Topsiders (yet, that dates me), so it wasn’t like I was “underdressed”, but I was reported because I didn’t have on socks.

    - The list goes on and on.

    I would complain about these things, and people told me that no one was forcing me to go to BYU. They were right. After my mission, I gave up my scholarship and transferred schools. It is the best thing that I have ever done.

    The biggest problem with BYU is that many of the students that go there later become church leaders. They think that the strange rules at BYU have anything to do with the gospel, and they try to inflict them on other people later in life.

    It is a strange, strange place.

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  2. KT on September 29, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    I would want my daughter to go wherever she wanted after careful consideration, however, I would not support in any way BYU. I wouldn’t tell her not to go there, but I would not support it.

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  3. NewlyHousewife on September 29, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Never. I’ll take out a second mortgage if it means my child going somewhere far far away. The fact that unless you’re majoring in business, it really isn’t a good school. No one outside of mormondom knows about BYU other than the sex-sports fiasco.

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  4. Jenn on September 29, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    I loved BYU for myself- I entered it a conservative and left it a liberal (go figure). It was a good deal and I met amazing people. Though my testimony has changed, I have a hard time looking back at the overall experience with anything but happy feelings.

    And while I would never send my kids there to be film majors or artists (censorship, anyone?) the MBA program just about can’t be beat. It will be up to my kids (but I’d be shocked at this point if they’d have any interest at all).

    Then again, the ward firesides on the importance of dating DID make me want to pull my hair out….

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  5. Douglas on September 29, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Academics-wise, the school is adequate. Other than gaining a professional credential, college is overrated anyway.
    IMO, the school goes overboard in micromanaging the student’s lives. I wonder how many bishops and other leaders that are utter morons are “Zoo” graduates?
    As for myself, once a Bulldog (Fresno State), always a Bulldog.

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  6. Casey on September 29, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Ditto what happened to Jenn for me. The other day I found my Freshman English copy of Fast Food Nation, and some of my liner notes seem embarrassingly reactionary now, but I managed to emerge a solid liberal and sort-of Mormon freethinker while still enjoying my experience… BYU can be a silly place, but most of the really ridiculous things (ie students policing each other) I never actually experienced. Just don’t read the Daily Universe letters to the editor and get close to the right professors (I found a few in my History Department that were fantastic). Yes, the caffeine policy is dumb and its defenders are hypocritical, but I came to enjoy my short walks to 7-11 (next to J-Dawgs!) for a Coke.

    One thing I have major reservations about — and it’s something I’m reminded of as my wife currently attends BYU-I and I see her curriculum, is the constant and often inappropriate injection of “gospel” perspectives at the expense of good scholarship. Religion classes I can understand — their purpose is devotional, not academic, so I can accept their generally non-rigorous nature (though that made many of them a waste of time), but when taking an introductory course on American Government I don’t want to waste time on LDS leaders’ quotes on government. Likewise, just teach me biology without all the hand-wringing over non-scientific takes on evolution! Don’t even get me started on any sort of comparative religion class (here’s why Judaism is like Mormonism! Here’s how Mormons should see Islam, nevermind studying anything in its own right!). Okay, so all the religious hand-holding in class is actually a pretty big complaint, but it was a relatively small part of the overall experience that tended to vanish in upper division classes anyway. I guess for some people the overt religiosity would be the biggest bonus of BYU.

    So, yeah. Good enough school, plenty of cool people, met my wife while living near campus… and some downsides that may be dealbreakers for some. Also, football It’s a family/tribal thing that BYU football is in my blood, so that was a big deal for me :)

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  7. Moss on September 29, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Similar to Mike S above, DH had a full ride and ran screaming from BYU after one year. Now that I think of it… Most of my friends ran screaming after one year. I’m not sure what that says about me. My parents didn’t go there either and yet they tried to talk all of their kids into going (didn’t work- we’re all UC graduates). Anyway, my kids are all going to be good little engineers and go to CalTech or MIT or New Mexico Tech or Cal Poly or Georgia Tech (in that order). Seriously, I’ll support them wherever they want to go, and if they really want to go to BYU I’d only really try to talk them out of it if they A. Were female. B. Wanted to study art (and while I have great respect for their art professors [James Christensen!] I gotta wonder about an art program that doesn’t allow nude models- are we adults or not!?).

    Have you noticed that no one ever wears just one thing that says BYU on it? People usually have on a shirt AND a hat, or a shirt AND- well, something else! I was commenting on this fact during UEA while in line at Disneyland and this guy a few people up in line turns to look at me and I notice he is wearing a BYU shirt AND hat!

    It is all symptomatic of the

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  8. Moss on September 29, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    It is all symptomatic of the “BYU” is the Lord’s school attitude that drives me nuts, because as everyone knows, God loves the Fighting Irish.

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  9. Jon on September 29, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    I had a friend that went to BYU that left his gun out in his car, because, apparently you aren’t allowed to have guns in the BYU approved apartments?

    My sis-in-law started out in civil engineering at BYU, the professor told all the girls that they would be getting married and wouldn’t finish the engineering degree. She left that school and majored in anthropology, then she got a masters in accounting and now makes more than my brother working 10 hours a week (and he has a professional job too with an MBA).

    Yeah, I never had a desire to go to BYU, I never understood the draw to be controlled like that. Since I went into engineering there wasn’t time to become liberal/conservative, I figured that stuff out after I finally got done with school. I think it is interesting to not have the desire to be controlled and then become a liberal/conservative who desires to control other people’s lives.

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  10. Natsy on September 29, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    I always wanted to go to BYU. Didn’t even apply to any other schools. I left loathing everything about the place and swore I’d never go back. Honestly, I would’ve left, but I was signed up to go on this awesome foreign study abroad that I didn’t want to miss. And I always tell people, if I hadn’t been so frustrated with BYU, I would’ve never taken a semester off to go work at Disney World, which was basically a semester of pure playing and no responsibilities. Loved it.

    My biggest problem with BYU is the constant judginess. Everyone there is “perfect”. Their is an atmosphere there that reeks of uppitiness. I couldn’t stand it. Also, I had some seriously un-Christlike run-ins with the department head. (He is a stuck-up prig.)

    I have many friends that love and adore everything about BYU and I’m glad they had such good times. Funny how you all commented on the MBA program – I’m applying to MBA programs and even though I’m close to BYU and it is a good program, there is no way in he** I would ever go back.

    If I do ever have children, though, and they want to go to BYU, I wouldn’t care. Lots of people love it and I think everyone should get to make their own decisions.

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  11. Wyoming on September 29, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    BYU = An overgrown youth conference.

    Admittedly, there were a lot of good services and fine people at BYU. It made a huge difference to live off campus.

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  12. Julia on September 30, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    Never applied, was still offered a scholarship, still turned it down.

    All of my sibs went to church schools, and their “cultural” Mormonism was pretty obvious after only a semester or two. As the oldest, I was VERY glad that I had the promptings to stay out of Utah. My 4 month stint, about five years later, proved that it is not a place I ever want to live. (I know lots of people love it. I am happy for you, really.)

    There were so many things that seemed strange, watching from the outside. My sister-in-law with a health problem who was told to get pregnant to get on Medicaid. My sister who taught in Utah until her husband graduated, and was told that first year teachers were paid so little because it didn’t mess up their spouse’s financial aid at the Y. Really? Sigh.

    Probably the strangest thing looking in from the outside was how much status BYU students give themselves. At a fireside in a family student housing ward, I learned that:

    1) Going to BYU means that you are smarter and more faithful than the rest of the members of the church, since BYU has such high academic and moral standards.

    2) That going to BYU makes you less likely to be gay. (There was a very long line of questionable “proofs” offered to support this conclusion.)

    3) BYU is the best way to prepare for a life and career in any profession, even if your chosen career doesn’t have a program at BYU. Going to BYU simply gives you so much extra goodness and intelligence that it would be silly to go to a school with that specific program, if it isn’t BYU.

    4) People who could go to BYU and choose not to must have a secret sin that keeps them from feeling worthy to be there.

    I was in town for the blessings of two nieces (my sisters lived in the same building on the first and second floors) and got talked into going to the fireside with my brother-in-laws. One was extremely embarrassed, the other was nodding his head the entire time. I was glad to get back and stay up all night rocking babies. It was less draining.

    Obviously I am not a BYU fan, but I don’t think it is bad overall. I do think that the success doctrine and elitism that seems to be part of the culture there is problematic. If my kids really want to go there I would consider it, but not until after they have talked to some friends who were students there.

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  13. hawkgrrrl on September 30, 2012 at 3:36 AM

    I pretty much hated BYU, but that was over 20 years ago. It’s a big university, though, and I found plenty of like-minded people, especially the further I got into my major. So I didn’t like the culture, but the rest was OK. Plus, you can have the pleasure of being a badass in extremely low risk ways.

    My kids should apply wherever they want. I am neutral on them going to the Y, although I would give them some cautions if they go there. I imagine their experience will be more or less like mine was.

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  14. Bro. Jones on September 30, 2012 at 5:37 AM

    The great advantage of BYU being so affordable is that I can tell my kids that I refuse to pay for BYU, but they can still go there if they really insist on it.

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  15. SilverRain on September 30, 2012 at 7:11 AM

    I think people from an LDS-minority area should go to BUY, but all those growing up where a significant portion of the culture is LDS should go somewhere else.

    I’m all for college broadening our horizons.

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  16. SilverRain on September 30, 2012 at 7:12 AM

    That is, of course, BYU, not BUY. Swype autocorrect is going to get me in trouble one of these days.

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  17. Bob on September 30, 2012 at 8:03 AM

    I think in ‘sending’ your child away to college, is ” Will I ever see them again”?
    If you send your daughter from outside of Utah, she will likely (If she marries ) not be returning.
    I made a point, following my mission, to return home, live near my family and friends , go to a locgal college, get a local job, and marry a local girl. We have lived our marrage within our two extended families and have gained comfort from that.

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  18. Paul on September 30, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    I was thrilled that my daughters chose BYU. Yes, there are cultural issues, but for my daughters they felt comfortable there. One has graduated (unmarried) and the other has recently taken time off to go on a mission.

    My sons would not have dreamed of going to BYU, and we supported their choices to attend local schools instead. They are not active in the church and would have felt dreadfully out of place at BYU.

    I have two kids still at home. Both talk from time to time about where they’ll go. BYU may be on their radar, and if it is, I’ll support their choice.

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  19. Douglas on September 30, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    However, my son (majoring in Chemical Engineering and a Senior) there has told me of the materialistic attitudes of SOME of his fellow zoobies.. So maybe the acronym SHOULD be ‘BUY’ (LoL)

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  20. KT on September 30, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    @ Moss – Hilarious!

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  21. LovelyLauren on September 30, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    I chose to go to a state school rather than BYU, though many of my friends chose to go there. Personally, I would have found it far too stifling and I appreciated the diversity of the two universities I attended. If my (hypothetical) children wanted to go, I would support them, but I would make sure they knew exactly what they were getting into ahead of time.

    And Bob (#17) it’s great if you want to be close to your families, but for me and my husband, moving away from his family was really great for us. Living in the same neighborhood as them would be awful. Not everyone wants or needs to live close to their family.

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  22. Bob on September 30, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    The extended family is the heart of Mormonism. But if they husband’s family was hardship to you, by all means move.
    But I liked my children having granparents, aunts and uncles, cousins to grow up with. Not in the same neighborhood, but near.

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  23. Jenn on September 30, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    “The extended family is the heart of Mormonism.” I had to chuckle at this, having been a die-hard mormon for 27 years of my life and never having lived in the same state as my extended family.
    Extended family nearby can be great, but I kind of hope my kids go to college out-of-state. It’s a unique opportunity to mature on your own and figure out how to stand on your own two feet. If they love their home, they’ll come back to it- with a greater knowledge of what makes it special. If they find a new home to love, then that’s good too.

    Plus, of course, these days you can live across the country and still be close (my kids are quite close with their grandparents who live 2200 miles away. Hooray for skype and facetime).

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  24. NewlyHousewife on September 30, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Having family nearby offers you free babysitters. Going to RS and say “I need someone to watch my child during the day while I put food on the table” does the same thing.

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  25. Bob on September 30, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    #23: Jenn,
    I think you are missing some of my points. If your daughter goes away to an out state school, and marries__she will not becoming home no matter how much is loves her hometown or extended family. She will go with her husband.
    The Mormon Temple is about extended families, not nuclear ones. Nuclear famlies come to an end. Sealing is about an eternal extendent family.

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  26. Julia on September 30, 2012 at 7:26 PM


    My experience is that children (who are now married adults) go where they feel comfortable and loved. I know lots of girls who have brought their husbands back to Oregon, and plenty of men who have moved to other areas of the country who have wives that are close to their families. The reverse is true as well.

    The people I talk to most are those who have very unhealthy family dynamics, and who do not want more contact with their families than they have to. I also know people who would love to live near their parents, but that the job opportunities are not there. If they stayed in areas with little to no economic opportunities, they would not be able to afford to buy a house, or send their kids to college. Each of these choices are so personal, that assigning some kind of formula for having kids “stay close” gets pretty ridiculous.

    Would you rather your daughter insist on staying in your home town, even if she or her husband have much better prospects somewhere far away?

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  27. hawkgrrrl on September 30, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Bob – Why would she always go where her husband’s family is? I’m sure that’s not true in all cases.

    My own view (not having lived in the same state as my parents since age 18) is that you go where you like to live, where you have job prospects (especially with the present economy), and where you have a social support network. As a Hindu colleague told me years ago, he was amazed that Mormonism itself acts like an extended family to its members, freeing people up to be mobile to whatever part of the country or world they choose. I have found this to be the case also. I also feel that at some point, establishing independence is necessary to becoming an adult. The extended family construct can make it difficult to truly go from child to adult, even when you are approaching middle age.

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  28. Jenn on September 30, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    I went to BYU, married and moved to Texas, then Georgia, rather than to my home (WA) or his (CA). We’re extremely close to my family- probably more so because of the space we have between us and the ability to live our own lives freely. While I would love a free babysitter every now and then, I think the parent-child relationship would be difficult to sustain as an adult without some space.

    Yes, the temple is all about an extended family network- an ETERNAL one. You’d think that would just prove how unimportant proximity is.
    Most boys go on missions where they get to experience a world without their family nearby. A lot of girls miss that opportunity. I was really hard, my freshman year at BYU- 4 of my 5 roommates were from Utah. They went home every chance they got and missed out on so many awesome experiences me and the remaining roommate had.
    For me, by far the most valuable and maturing experience I had in college was to study abroad in France. Since I met my husband shortly after coming home, it was the ONLY time in my entire life I have lived completely alone. I learned SO much about myself. And I STILL would love to move back to my home in the PNW, but we would purposefully plan it to be at least 45 minutes away from my parents (who we adore) because we need space.

    Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I think I’m going to be the momma bird that pushes the babies out of the nest… it’s time to go fly:)

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  29. Bob on September 30, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Then it’s the husband who will not be going home.
    #26 “My experience is that children (who are now married adults) go where they feel comfortable and loved”. Were is this but home? What__a town where they have never been before?
    I live in the San Fernando Valley. Every “prospect” I’ve ever needed is here. School, job, wife, home. Yes__ that is my “formula”.

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  30. Julia on September 30, 2012 at 8:58 PM


    I hope that your children consider your home and family to be a safe and loving place. There are lots of reasons that adult children don’t feel that way. Sometimes it is just personalities that don’t mesh well, or children who want things different from their parents. On the more serious end, some kids want to find the farthest place on earth away from the parents who molested or beat them, whose emotional abuse has almost convinced them their only value comes from taking more abuse from their parents.

    I do hope that your children are happy and loved enough that being near their family feels like the right thing for them. They will be very lucky if that is how they feel, but if they don’t, it doesn’t mean that you failed. There are lots of reasons, if only the desire to see the world, that someone -anyone- might want to be somewhere other than where they grew up, with or without family considerations.

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  31. Bob on September 30, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    You miss the question of the poll again. Built into it is why would you NOT send your kids to the BYU. I have only given you mine reasons.
    My kids are now in their forties, I see them every week or two. Most of the ones that hang at my house are grandkids, (Teenagers eating my food before or after school.

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  32. Hedgehog on October 1, 2012 at 2:23 AM

    Given that I so dislike CES in general, I really wouldn’t want them to go to BYU. That said, if they really were so determined I wouldn’t stop them… I’ve never fancied going there myself.
    My view is that you need to try to go to the best place for your subject, and for engineering that’s got to be (in this country) Cambridge, Imperial College, Loughborough, Bath…

    Studying away from home is a great experience, meeting so many different people from so many different cultures. I was the first to go to university at all in my family, and grew up with my extended family all very close by. I really appreciate the time I spent in London and Tokyo.

    The BYU study abroad contingents I encountered at church in London while I was a student really didn’t seem to try to mix with the rest of us, and probably found our singles ward quite shocking after BYU, what with it’s mixed sex households and all.

    Those Brits I know of who did go to BYU all finished up marrying and living in the US.

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  33. Douglas on October 1, 2012 at 2:52 AM

    In honor of my beloved Giants making the postsseason, I’m sending my BYU-attending son a shirt and a poster, each saying, “Let Timmy (Lincecum) Smoke” – a familiar five-bladed leaf superimposed on a black and orange background. Let “Standards” chew on that!

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  34. GBSmith on October 1, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    I was neutral until a relative of my was accused falsely by the dean of his college and in turn the administration. The school’s general council(?sp) informed him that BYU was a religious institution and that he wasn’t interested in facts or evidence or legal briefs. What he wanted was compliance and remorse.

    When you mix a religion, an academic institution and a business all together, there’s going to be trouble. There’s nothing worse than someone that’s power hungry and thinks God’s on his side. So no, if my kid’s were college age they’d go somewhere else unless they paid their own way.

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  35. Nick Literski on October 1, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    2) That going to BYU makes you less likely to be gay. (There was a very long line of questionable “proofs” offered to support this conclusion.)

    LOL! Okay, I have to admit that part of me wants to hear the list! I’m betting “Because if you’re gay, they’ll hook up sensors to your naughty bits, and hit you with electric shock every time you react to pictures of nekkid men” wasn’t on their list, right? ;-)

    Seriously though, I’ve had three daughters attend BYU (2 Provo, 1 Hawaii). One graduated, the second is still there, and the third fled for her life after just one semester. While I may have some issues with the mandatory religious indoctrination, my biggest issue with BYU is the lack of diversity. In my mind, one of the major purposes of college is to bring you into contact with people who have different backgrounds and worldviews. Even my devout LDS former brother in law complained that the law school there rarely had meaningful class discussions, because everyone was “on the same page.”

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  36. Julia on October 1, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    No, that was not one of the things talked about, although maybe some things taken together might be interpreted as a spiritual “naughty bit” of electrical stimulation.

    One of them was that constant exposure to men who were not gay, in “potentially pre-sexual” situations, was a spiritual inoculations. As far as I could tell, living (showering was specifically mentioned) with straight men of great spiritual power and ability, was a net negative-gay experience.

    Like I said, mental gymnastics.

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  37. hawkgrrrl on October 2, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    BYU has just learned from Iran’s great example. If you say there are no homosexuals, voila, there aren’t!

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  38. Douglas on October 2, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    Maybe not Homosexuals, but certainly many “metro”-sexual (according to the fictional Charlie Harper, a male that can’t get laid by even a guy). So, many, in fact that I’m left to speculate that amongst all the males in the Church there are but three testicles and I’ve two of those.

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  39. Suzee on October 3, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    I didn’t attend BYU (I was a UCLA Bruin) but my husband did and really loved it. Our son is now at BYU-I and that has had its challenges. He doesn’t want to serve a mission and I think being at BYU-I has only made that decision stronger for him. He feels that he is judged negatively by a majority of his peers. When asked he will say he really hates the culture but will admit that his classes (Business/Finance) are really excellent. Our daughter is a senior in high school and is very negative about BYU. She has excellent grades and will probably be accepted at BYU and also some of the private and UC schools she will apply to. My husband who always said that if he had a kid with the grades to go to UCLA or Stanford he would send them there, is now saying that he wants our daughter to attend BYU. He feels that she will be “safe” there. Our daughter is afraid of BYU for many of the reasons listed here. She is open to it because I have explained tuition and finances. I’m kind of leaning towards her just going to BYU for the first two years to have the experience and get the GE out of the way at a low cost then transfer somewhere else if she really hates it. She has this expectation of it being like an extended EFY session.

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