So… I still haven’t written about Elle’s college decision.
And she’s leaving in a matter of weeks.  
I’m telling this story with her permission, because it’s kind of a personal one.  
One night a couple months ago all of Elle’s friends who applied to BYU-Provo got their application results.  
Elle was at her friend’s house with a big group of kids and when one of them realized the acceptance letters were finally online, it was like dominoes as they all logged in anywhere they could to see if they got in or not.  (Yes, a lot of kids apply to BYU from here.  Not hoards, but at least fifteen or 20 of Elle’s close friends.  It is crazy.)
Amidst all the hoopla of all those kids who were accepted, Elle did not.
She was heart-broken.  
I don’t know if it was sadness because that was her top choice (I hadn’t realized it really was, and I think she didn’t even realize it until they denied her), or because of the circumstances being surrounded by the swirl of joyousness that night in direct contrast to her rejection, but it was a sad night.  
Elle doesn’t get sad often.  She generally rolls with the punches and keeps on going.  She’s a no-nonsense no-drama kind of a gal.  So it caught me off guard how sad she was.  And although BYU was not my top choice for her (last year when we dropped off Max I had this pretty vivid impression BYU didn’t fit Elle like it did Max), her reaction made me sad too.
Dave was in China and had been gone for a week.  I had had a few sleep deprived nights (which doesn’t mix very well with my dang Hashimotos) and was kind of bleary-eyed.  There was a lot going on with the kids and right at that moment when I was ready to rally the troops home from all the weekend-night-fun so we could all go to bed, I got a text from Elle:
“I didn’t get in to BYU.”
For a moment I thought she was kidding.  Partly because how short her text was but partly because she is so qualified!  I knew BYU is kind of funny about who they accept so I didn’t have my heart set there, but when I realized she was serious and also very heartbroken, it kind of hit me that I was mad.  How could they not accept her? She has awesome grades, has a pretty impressive resume, has done extensive service, has started her own photography business, is kind and good to the core…didn’t they know how great my girl is??  Is it just the dumb ACT score she only did average on?  How can they base so much on one test?  That girl works her tail off and is the best, most conscientious student.  Did they know what they were missing by not accepting her?  (I know, I know, mother-bear instincts from an overly-dramatic mother.)
She came home and cried.  
The thing that broke my heart the most was when she said “I just want to talk to Max.”  
Oh how I wished Max could be there to give her a hug and cheer her on.  And how it made my heart swell with missing him and also happiness that she thought of him as the one who could console her.  There’s nothing like sibling love.

But Max was on the other side of the world…and so was Dave for that matter.  And all I could do was hug her, tell her it would all work out (because really, I knew it would), and be mad at BYU.

The whole thing kept me up mulling it around in my brain.  And woke me up a few times too. For a few nights in a row.
But you know what?  It’s funny how that rejection letter has turned into such a good thing.  Just like how Shasta didn’t realize sometimes the hardest things guided him to the better roads (two posts back), she was being guided on a different path than the one well-traveled.  I know this sounds romanticized, but I really feel like had she been accepted, she would have gone there.  And I really feel like God had a different idea in mind for her.  After some sadness, I think she feels that too.

So once that rejection came in, it leveled the playing field.

I don’t know if I wrote about her Boston University application, so let me back up for a minute.  We had received an email a couple weeks before that they were missing part of her application.  We called to let them know that indeed it was all there, and found that we had somehow missed an important part, which made it invalid for review.  Boston was my first choice for her, because naturally I want her to do everything I did (HA!) and I had the best, most growing experience there, so of course I was pretty sad about that, but I was surprised how frustrated Elle was about it too.  
So when I say “leveled the playing field” I mean both my first choice and Elle’s were off the table at that point.
With that newest rejection in the plot, options were San Diego State University (where she was accepted a while back), Utah Valley University (where she had received a partial scholarship), and BYU Hawaii (which she was still waiting to hear from).
We took a trip to the “Explore SDSU” Open House right after spring break, just Elle and me on a little mother/daughter date.

It was such a good little get-away and we both learned a ton.
We went to the first evening campus tour (caught the last few minutes, hung at the book store, asked as many questions as we could), then headed to walk Mission Beach which is close-by.

The next day we headed back to the campus and went to all kinds of little workshops on majors and scholarships and extracurricular things at SDSU.

That campus is pretty dreamy I must say.
After that we went on a little hike.

 …which was pretty dreamy too.

 We walked down to the beach…

 …and strolled along…

…until we ran into a completely naked elderly gentleman walking along opposite where we were walking.

…and then we ran into a little camp with another elderly guy sitting criss-cross-applesauce in front of his little make-shift tent.

Once again, completely naked.

And then we decided to turn around πŸ™‚

So funny, not sure what was going on there, or if we just so happened upon a naked beach…

…made for quite the college trip experience.  HA!

I loved spending time one-on-one with this girl of mine.

 In this gorgeous spot.

We both went home armed with so much great information and feeling so grateful for what we learned, but both of us had kind of mixed feelings about the whole SDSU dealio.

We had gone to church in a very small little student ward there on Sunday and met some great kids.  We met awesome kids on campus too, one of whom was a football player and got so excited when he saw our license plate was from Utah (totally a coincidence since it was a rental car).  He had played football for the University of Utah and was so excited to meet us.  Thank goodness we actually did know something about Utah:).  We had the best time talking through different majors and Elle got her mind churning about what she really wants to do with her life.

En route to get back home, Elle wrote up a whole list of all the pros and cons of all three possible colleges.  They all had great “pros,” but for some reason we both kind of just kept feeling BYU-Hawaii.

Which was interesting since that was the one we hadn’t heard back from yet.  Ha!

Here’s the short and condensed version of what happened after that: A week or so later we got a notification that she had been put on the wait-list there.  BYU-Hawaii has some kind of interesting requirements.  They told her she has impressive grades and academically she was very well qualified for what they were looking for.  But their campus is more culturally diverse than other BYU campuses and they want to give the majority of their available spots to kids with a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.  Which is one of the biggest reasons Elle wanted to go to school there.

We waited and waited, and as she waited her desire to go there grew even stronger than ever.  Finally she got word that she was accepted off the waitlist (remember this is the condensed version of a long wait and lots of emotions along the way), and we were pretty dang excited for her.

It has been another learning-journey figuring out the future with yet another child, and I have realized more than ever how true what my wise friend Sarah told me when we were trying to figure out Max’s college path:  “college is a fit to be made, not a prize to be won.”

I love that.

And the thought of Elle at BYU-Hawaii seems to fit like a glove.  I have this feeling she is going to thrive there.  It’s so weird how life twists and turns to bring you to the right spot.  So glad we took her to go take a look when we were there last winter:

As much as we are dying that this girl is graduating TOMORROW, we are so excited for her that that as of August, after a couple months of other things (she leaves the desert indefinitely on the 30th of this month…yikes! can’t talk about that right now), this will be her new home:

In my opinion even more dreamy than SDSU :).  They say kids go to class barefoot and then directly to the beach.  Not sure how true that is, but Dave and I are debating over who gets to take her to find out.

Yes, we are bracing ourselves for her being FAR away.  That part isn’t going to be easy.

But oh boy, it will sure be a grand adventure.

Congratulations Elle Belle!

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  1. Thanks for sharing Elle's journey. I'm Aussie, and we really do NOT move for college, as we're a small (university wise) country, and the live on campus thing is usually only for the well off. So it was strange I studied high school in one state and moved cities and states for university. And I live where I studied university (it's been like, 12 years now). So the thought of Elle moving to Hawaii (which may well be closer to Sydney, Australia than where you are) is HUGE. But I think your daughter could almost be Hawaiian so this might just be the perfect fit.

    Did she pick her colleges based on some specific course offerings? Is that how you ended up with colleges in so many locations? Love to learn more.

  2. Hi Shawni! I found your blog years ago through your cousin Chelsia Eyre Evans. Chelsia and I were mission companions in Bulgaria where your amazing sister, Saren, is a legacy! πŸ™‚ Chelsia actually introduced me to your whole family a few years ago when we happened to be in Bear Lake at the same time you were having a family reunion.
    Anyway, I am so happy for Elle! I live on Oahu now with my little family. My husband works at BYU-Hawaii. I am the young women's president in my ward, and some of my YW are headed to school there in August too. I know you don't know me, but if there is anything at all I can do to help you with Elle, I would be so happy to do anything at all. We moved here from Idaho over a year ago, and I could never imagine doing it without all of the wonderful people who helped us. I would very happily "pay it forward". My email if you would like to get in touch with me is:
    Tell Elle that my family would love to be her first photography clients after she gets settled it and is ready to make some money! Lol! οΏ½οΏ½
    We love living in paradise, and she will too! οΏ½οΏ½

  3. Congratulations Elle!!! I'm sure she will have an awesome time and grow so much. This next stage of life is so exciting πŸ™‚

  4. I need Elle for family pictures there, too! Congrats, Elle! BYUH is an amazing, spiritual place that you will absolutely fall in love with. Just remember that what you get out of it is directly correlated to what you put into it!

  5. HUGE congratulations to Elle for navigating this emotional/tricky/exciting part of life and getting into the school that feels right. πŸ™‚ We are so excited for you and that campus looks like a total dream!! We got your gorgeous graduation announcement on Saturday- right smack-dab in the middle of Charity's baby shower…can't wait to see you in a few weeks in London!! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  6. This made me cry. (I am such a pregnant hormonal mess!) The real sadness of a hard rejection, the happiness of an acceptance and good decision, the unbelief that my little Elle is college bound, the beauty of life as it keeps on rolling ahead. I love both of you so much and cannot WAIT to see you soon. Great things are ahead in the wild unknown future for all of us!!

  7. We have had such a similar experience with BYU and our journey to a new school. As a mom it is heartbreaking to see them so sad but also such a testimony builder to see them rely on prayer to find what the Lord has in store. (We are still confused as how our girl didn't get in!) Yet the school she will be attending is such a good fit!

  8. I'm so happy for Elle! I think she will do so well in Hawaii. She looks like she belongs in a place where she can study, surf, and be an island girl. πŸ™‚ Congratulations!

  9. It's been years since I started following your blog so I feel like I've seen Elle grow up..I think I held my breath thst whole post!!..As sad as I'm sure she was BYU Hawaii just screams Elle to me!….what is she majoring in?
    Congratulations Elle

  10. I have a niece that has done most of her education at BYU-H. They ended up not having the major she decided on but it was a tremendous experience for her. She made lifelong friends & loved the cultural diversity. Yes, you will get lots of beach pictures – it will really fit with her 'roll with the punches" mentality. She'll have to give up her snowboard for a surfboard πŸ™‚

  11. Aww congratulations to Elle! I'm a long time reader, and I know this vlogging thing is weird because here I am feeling like I know you guys and yet you have no idea who I am! Ha. But I really am so happy for her, it is going to be such an incredible journey for her!

  12. "college is a fit to be made, not a prize to be won" I love this! I know it can be hard on teens to not feel a "part" of something, like her friends being accepted to the same university… but I love that Elle marches to the beat of her own drum and have no doubt she will shine on the island! Congratulations, you've done a great job mama!

  13. Yay!!!! She will do great there! I was rejected from Ricks College many years ago when all my friends were accepted and ended up at BYU-H. It is a really cool different place and she will have great adventures! Can't wait to hear how she likes it!

  14. So I have to share that you guys ventured into blacks beach, which is right near uc San Diego in la jolla and is indeed a nude beach. It's pretty much right down the cliff from the institute there. πŸ™‚

    1. I work at UCSD, and I'll echo this comment! πŸ™‚ I've never been to Blacks Beach, but I imagine it is quite a surprise if you're not expecting it!

      Congrats to Elle on her acceptance to BYU-H! What an amazing journey to get there – learning some of these life lessons early will serve her well in the future.

  15. I am a long time reader and mother of a sweet Ellie also who is 8 years old. I am so excited for your Elle!!! I attended a summer semester at BYU-H right after I graduated from high school. I had never been away from home before and had only flown a handful of times. Navigating the LAX alone as an 18 year old girl was quite the experience.
    The experiences that I had for the short time at BYU-H forever changed my life and the way I view others. There were a lot of tears and so many more smiles. I don't even know her and my heart is just so full thinking about all of the wonderful experiences and people she is going to meet. Plus, studying takes on a whole new meaning when you are doing it on the beaches of Hawaii. Congratulations Elle!!!! That is definitely one part of my life I could do over and over again!

  16. Oh man! Glad this has a happy ending! My sister had the same experience applying to BYU…twice. And in the end we really could see the Lords hand. She's now on her mission in Vanuatu! And she was like Elle, had all the qualifications except an average ACT! It was sooo hard, almost harder, to watch someone you love go through that rejection, that to live it yourself. I had to get over my grudge toward my alma mater, too. Ha! BYU-Hawaii really does sound dreamy!!!

  17. I read your blog all the time but never comment. I just wanted to tell you how much I love BYU-Hawaii. It really is a chose place on this beautiful earth. I had trouble getting accepted there but fought my way in, and went there all four years. I have such a testimony of that school, of it's mission, and of the community. It was life changing for me. People who haven't gone there don't fully comprehend the greatness of that school. It is hard to put into words. Your beautiful daughter seems like she will fit in perfect there. She seems like she loves everyone and that will take her far there. Tell her to take advantage of everything!! The clubs, the culture nights, and my personal favorite.. Food fest! Tell her to read the dedication speech by David O McKay. Tell her to learn from that what Genuine Gold is. She is going to have an amazing time! My husband and I met and were married while at school. We got to have a year and a half long "honeymoon in paradise" while finishing school. We just took our 3 kids back last month and had the best time. Laie has my whole heart!

  18. I am also a long time reader of your blog and have always felt like Elle reminds me of my daughter, who has been going to BYU-H for the past few years. It has been the best experience for her. She has friends from all over the world, the kids who go there are all very adventurous and the hikes and adventures my daughter would go on weekly are amazing. They have such a laid back life style it is the best decision she ever made Elle will be so glad she did not get into BYU at first (you can transfer there a lot easier once she has gone to BYU-H) They also do a payback for good grades which is awesome… she will love it and so will you, I would face time with my daughter almost every day so it makes it a little easier to leave them 3,000 miles away… I also have a missionary out and it is definitely different being able to see there face every day! Good luck to Elle and to you…. (my kids also are only one year apart so I know it is hard to let two go so close it's hard on a mothers heart)

    1. Transferring into BYU is very difficult (29% of those applying as transfer students were accepted this February). I've just lived through the process with my son. He applied to BYU as a senior in h.s. and did not get in. His ACT was average as well. But with only one semester of straight A's at Utah State (and a bunch of French credits from learning French on his mission), he thought about applying again. The transfer application to BYU has all of the same things as the initial application (essays on hard things you've done in life, places to talk about your service, your grades, etc.) But in addition, there is a paragraph to write about why you want to transfer (it was a money thing for us–BYU is cheaper thanks to tithing subsidies) and then the most important part of all–the questions of "did you serve a mission? What were your callings on your mission? what callings have you had since your mission?) Luckily my son was able to check all the right boxes, per se. He was an assistant to the president on his mission, was the first missionary in a country in Africa, and was promptly called as the Elder's Quorum President in his YSA ward when he returned home. He needed letters of recommendation from his mission president and his YSA stake president. If my son had not been given those chances to serve during and after his mission, I am certain he would not have been accepted to BYU. Those are the points BYU admissions office focuses on. (Whether it's right or it's wrong.)

    2. I don't understand the question about what callings did you have on your mission? Surely serving a mission in the most important thing, not the fact that someone was an assistant to the president or a zone leader etc.

      What happens if they didn't do those things while they were on their mission, would they still be accepted into the Y etc?

    3. I was thinking the same thing. That was a strange comment to make. I guess being an "AP" means he is a "better" candidate for BYU? I really hope it does not come down to that.

    4. I'm not saying it was right to ask those questions (honestly it bugged me). I'm just say those are the questions BYU asks. (The transfer application is online for anyone to view). I wrote my experience so that Elle can know what to expect if she does try to transfer and to maybe not get her hopes up thinking its a likely possibility (29% likelihood more or less). Since they accept so few transfer students, BYU has to use something to differentiate between candidates and they weigh church callings heavily when making that decision. As I said in my first post, I am not saying I agree with their admittance process necessarily, I am just sharing my son's experience and explaining what others should expect if they try to transfer.

  19. I'm a faithful reader of your blog and this post made me so happy. I have a daughter in high school who can't decide for sure where she wants to go and she isn't sure BYU Provo will be the right fit for her. We were able to take her to Hawaii a few weeks ago and tag along on my husband's business trip and BYU Hawaii was definitely a place we checked out. She thinks it may be the right place for her. I know it's trickier getting accepted since they like to keep it culturally diverse and I am so excited for Elle. Can't wait to hear more about her experience there.

  20. Congrats to Elle! How exciting! My daughter just finished up her junior year of high school so we're in the midst of all that college talk around here right now. I love your friend's advice! Thanks for sharing.

  21. Congratulations to Elle! God works in mysterious ways, I've also had the experience of being completely devastated by a turn of events in my life only to have it all come together much, much better then it would have been. Hawaii is an absolutely beautiful place, and so diverse. She will have a wonderful time and it will be a fantastic experience!

  22. BYU-Hawaii…I can't think of a more PERFECT fit for Elle. I'm so excited for her.
    Once again, another example of how Heavenly Father knows what is best for each of His children. Truly a blessing. Thanks for sharing this personal experience. And congratulations to Elle! πŸ™‚ Happy Graduation day tomorrow…another day of tears and hard good-byes, but so much to look forward too! Lisa

  23. We love BYUH! Shawni, I know you only because everywhere I served as a missionary in Romania after you, members would show me a photo of your beautiful family. My husband teaches at BYUH in the school of Ed. department. We live on Moana street. Please know we can help out in any way. Housing can be a bare to find. They are always short for female students. We love Laie. Such a wonderful place to call home for her.

  24. The above comments match my sentiments, but I have to say that Elle wanting to talk to her brother made me teary-eyed. Sweet girl. Has to make a mom feel all sorts of beautiful emotions. Oh, the adventures that await!!!

  25. Shawni, I love that quote about college being a fit to be made. Dang, I wish I had know that little bit of wisdom back in the day. Good luck to Elle!

  26. Congrats to Elle! Hawaii does seem like a perfect fit for her. Just from what I've seen on this blog anyway! Her wanting to talk to Max broke my heart a little! I really pray my sons and daughter have that type of relationship.

  27. Shawni,
    I went to school at Hawaii Pacific University for my freshman year, straight out of high school (6 years ago now.) It was the best the decision I ever made and I grew more in that year than at any other point in my life. I made friends from all over the world (HPU is also 33% international,) and had some of the greatest adventures of my life there. I back in Phoenix now but miss it all the time. She will love it. I am so happy for you both! Congratulations!

  28. Ahhh, for a moment I totally thought it was going to be SDSU! My church goes there for a mission trip every spring break and it is a gorgeous campus! But I bet BYU Hawaii is even more beautiful. So excited for Elle on this next big adventure!

  29. My nephews and my niece have gone to BYU-Hawaii and have loved it. What's not to love?!? I was hoping she'd come to Boston (I live in your sister's stake) so I could meet her. Good luck to Elle!!

  30. My son is also going to BYU Hawaii this fall – he's very excited about it and I'm trying to be. I've been on campus and I know it's a great school, but we live in Illinois and it's going to be tough for him to be that far away. (for me, not him – ha!) I'm glad to hear about someone else from the mainland headed that way!

  31. Shawni-

    I went to BYU-H my freshman year and loved it. The smaller campus and student body was a nice transition from high school and the people are awesome. I loved living on campus. She might be a good fit for the girls tennis team too. πŸ™‚

  32. Congrats to Elle! I'm partial to BU since I live in Boston and am in the Universiry Ward. She would have loved it here. But BYU Hawaii is going to be awesome and that is a smaller school, right? I went to a seven sisters like charity (we're email buds…I went to her wedding) so I will say that I LOVED going to a small college! I think she will love the college experience in general and Hawaii just sounds dreamy. I will say that as a convert I think it would be good for her to one day live in a non LDS majority area, but that's my opinion. That day can be later in life though! Congrats again πŸ™‚

    1. I agree with living in non LDS majority area.

      Even tho I'm LDS I don't get the emphasis of being around so many other members & going to LDS unis etc.

    2. It's funny I grew up lds in a non lds area. I was the only member of my high school.. I used to dream as a teen going to BYU.. now when I think of my kids ( I live in a more lds area )..I still Ling for them to go to a church school. We have a few years to go though ☺

    3. I completely agree…that's one of the biggest reasons SDSU and Boston University were so appealing. She would love that environment and it would be a great contrast to where we live now. But in the end, after lots of thought and prayer, BYU-Hawaii just fit. I sure hope she will live in a non-LDS-majority area at some point as well.

  33. I'm so happy for her! Man, she's going to love it there! All my friends who have gone have had an absolute blast at BYU Hawaii. It's so cool to see how the Lord's timing works out. Pretty much the exact same thing happened to my younger sister with college. I'm the oldest and got into BYU (it was pretty much the ONLY choice for me and I'd wanted to go there practically since birth haha!). My next sister, three years younger than me (Elle reminds me a lot of her, they seem pretty similar in personality and fashion, and they are both second-oldest siblings) applied to BYU and didn't get in, and we didn't realize until she didn't get in how much she wanted to and that it was her first choice. But just like Elle, my mom didn't think BYU would be as good of a fit for her. My sister ended up choosing UVU and has had an AMAZING experience and I don't think she'd trade it for anything! It's the perfect school for her, and she's still been able to have the Provo living experience which she's loved. I hope Elle knows how awesome she is and realizes all of those things you said about her above, and I also hope she knows that she isn't alone and that other people have experienced the same thing she has! That is always something that has helped me when I've gone through trials, is knowing others who have gone through those same things. Anyway, I'm so glad you shared her story, I was excited to hear! Congratulations to her, she's going to love college and love BYU Hawaii. She's probably luckier because she won't have to experience crazy winters haha! And who knows, if she still wants to go there, she can always transfer. Heavenly Father will help her figure it out, He always does! πŸ™‚

  34. Congrats to Elle, this is brill news.

    It really touched me that she wanted to talk to Max & couldn't. That must've been so hard for you both.

    I still don't get tho why so many members want to go to LDS unis. Even tho I'm LDS I still don't get the emphasis of being around so many other members.

    1. Most LDS people want to marry another LDS person in the temple, and attending college where there are high numbers of LDS students increases that possibility.

    2. For me , I grew up LDS but my home didn't have a gospel oriented environment (I love my parents and they did their best) so an LDS university meant a unique opportunity to live in that environment. So grateful that happened before marriage and babies (which wasn't my plan before going there, ha!)

  35. Congrats to Elle! Thank you for sharing this experience. I am excited for Elle, as it seems like a great fit! Your post hit home, as we experienced the same emotions this year. My daughter also did not make it in to BYU but has decided to go to BYU-I. There were sad days, but we realize that there are so many other great options and the Lord's hand is in all things. There are great things that await these wonderful kids. Elle is going to be such a great leader and example to so many! Best wishes and thanks for sharing!

  36. Congratulations, Elle! Don't mind that it wasn't your first choice. You never know what good will come out of it!

    I have a sincere question (and don't mean it judgemental!):
    What is the appeal of any BYU school? I feel that college isn't just for a degree but also for growing up and finding yourself. With its strict honour code a BYU school sounds like moving in with very strict parents. I don't think that there is anything wrong per se with the rules – if someone chooses them for oneself. But with the consequences of not living according to the honour code, it doesn't seem that students set their own rules and boundaries, but need someone else to hold them accountable. Am I misunderstanding? Or does someone – maybe even someone who went to a BYU school – understand my point?

    1. I think a lot of people who are LDS want to go to BYU because they want to be surrounded by people with their standards. I grew up in an area without LDS people and it helped me find myself, but going to BYU also helped me find myself. It reaffirmed my beliefs and helped me to understand myself and my religion more. I personally went to BYU and then graduate school at a state school. Going to a state school for graduate school made me love BYU even more. I Loved the atmosphere of BYU. I loved that I could be with people who shared my faith and liked living by the honor code. I grew to love my religion more. It is and was how I wanted to live my life and it was nice to live with others who felt the same way. I could go through college and focus on studying and not partying or drugs or other such things. The campus has a peaceful spirit that I haven't felt at any other institution. I was very ill during college and I had professors come spend time with me in the hospital to make sure I understood difficult concepts. Not only that, but BYU is a great school academically and very affordable because the education is subsidized by the church. It's not for everyone, and not every LDS young adult wants to go to a church school. We all learn and grow in different ways.

    2. BYU is not for everyone. There is an honor code students are expected to live by, because it is a private school, and Church owned. I am a member of the Church, I personally didn't want to attend BYU–but then again, I grew up with BYU in my backyard. I wanted to go a little further away to college–but I still lived the standards I would have been expected to live if I had attended BYU–because I still had the same religious values and beliefs. The BYU honor code is basically in line with the beliefs of the members (no alcohol, no premarital sex, etc.) So if one is living their religious beliefs, the honor code is not anything too different than what they are already living, for the most part.
      I have raised my family in the Northwest. My kids don't have a lot of friends who share their same standards and values. My oldest daughter chose to attend BYU-Idaho. She wanted so much to be around peers who shared her same beliefs and values. She absolutely LOVED it there. Some people are okay with honor codes of private schools, and others are not. But I love that the option is there. I love that my daughter had such a positive, happy experience her freshman year at BYU-I.

    3. Just to clarify, not everyone who goes to a state school focuses on partying or drugs. πŸ™‚
      Other thab that I can comprehend your reasoning. Thank you for your answers!

  37. I went to BYU-Hawaii about 15 years ago and absolutely LOVED it! I still miss it a lot at times! I think Elle will love it too, just based on her personality through your blog. πŸ™‚ I'm excited for her. (I didn't see people barefoot in class, but everyone lives in slippers (flip flops) and yes, goes to the beach often.) It's the best. πŸ™‚

  38. Congratulations to Elle! I am a fellow blogger and have been reading here for years. I have a son graduating on Saturday (he's Max's age but we held him back in kinder). So, I have always felt like we were going through the same stages at he same time (I also have a 15 year old and a 9 year old). I loved reading about Max's graduation and college last year and I have loved reading about Elle's senior year. I know that she will look back someday and it will all make sense. In fact some parts probably already do. I really believe that how we do in life does not depend on what happens to us but how we react to those things. Elle seems to be a positive person and I think she will love BYU-H. I am wishing her and you the best. I know how emotional this all is. My son is going FAR from us too. Hugs from one Mama to another!

  39. Congratulations to Elle!! I love hearing stories of God's plan working its way around like that πŸ™‚ It sounds + looks like Hawaii will be such a blast for her! And I love how Elle wanted to talk to her brother when she was heartbroken…SO precious. Happy Summer + congrats again on graduation + college ahead! xoxo

  40. Not getting into BYU was the best thing that ever happened to me. Took me out to Virginia to a completely unknown school and my life has been blessed forever for that opportunity. Hope Elle has a wonderful experience!

  41. Shawni: San Diego is my home town and you were at Blacks Beach. It is a nude beach. Ugh!!!!!
    I'm sorry that Elle was so upset about not getting in to BYU-Provo. BYU-Hawaii is going to be a lot better experience for her. I also grew up in Hawaii and I consider it my home as well. My father was a pro surfer, so we went there for the big waves. God has a way of closing doors that we don't need to keep knocking on. This was meant to be and Elle is going to thrive at BYU-Hawaii, I can tell. So to you Elle maika'i(very good)for getting in to BYU-Hawaii. I wish you much hau'oli (happiness) in your new adventure.

  42. Aloha! My husband & I are BYUH alumni as are my patents! She will have best time & will receive something far greater than a textbook education…she will learn to truly love & serve people from all over the world! Congratulations & my son will be there too once he finishes his mission in the marshall islands ❀

  43. Aloha! My husband & I are BYUH alumni as are my patents! She will have best time & will receive something far greater than a textbook education…she will learn to truly love & serve people from all over the world! Congratulations & my son will be there too once he finishes his mission in the marshall islands ❀

  44. What a rollercoaster ride, but how exciting!!!! I've been following your blog for so long now, that I feel like you're part of my extended family. I literally just about called my husband to say, "Elle got into BYU Hawaii!!!", and then realized he'd say, "Who's Elle?". Haha! Oh well, I'll tell him all about it anyway. My son is 17 – so I'm learning so much from your experiences with Max and Elle. Thanks so much for sharing your successes and not-so-successes with us. πŸ™‚

  45. Congrats Elle! This brought me back to when I applied for college. I grew up in Texas, and it seemed like everyone I knew went off to BYU for college. I wanted to go SO bad. All 3 of my older siblings were there as well. But when I got the letter in the mail it said I had been denied. I am also someone who is not easily upset and rolls with the punches, but this hurt! Especially because my friends did get accepted. But, I did end up getting accepted to Ricks college, and everyone around me helped me feel excited about it. Anyway, it ended up being two amazing years of my life. I met the best people that I still love dearly. I wouldn't trade my time there for anything.
    I did end up transferring to BYU after two years (bc that's what you did when it was still Ricks).

    Those feelings of rejection are real and they hurt, but the Lord knew what was in store for me elsewhere, and knew it was what I needed at the time.

  46. Loved reading this. Also Shawni, I'll share with you something. I went to BYU, had a great experience, my brother got in and will be attending there after his mission. So when my sister applied and didn't get in she was HEARTBROKEN. She saw all of her siblings getting in and she couldn't go. I know her heart was heavy when she decided to attend UVU, but the absolute beautiful thing for her is that God knows her and had a different plan in mind. She got a huge scholarship that would've been incredibly difficult at BYU, she's in a major that's specifically at UVU, and because she was living in a UVU ward, she met a fabulous man who she is getting married to in three weeks from today! Just let Elle know that God really is in the details that she can't see at the moment and that He makes all work out πŸ™‚

  47. Sooo my cousin is from Gilbert…I wanna say Higley High? But she is a little bit older. She and her husband have been at BYU Hawaii for possibly a school year. She is a photographer too, with long blond hair and a sweet free spirit personality. πŸ˜‰ So if Elle needs a friend, Heather would be a good fit! πŸ™‚

  48. Sooo my cousin is from Gilbert…I wanna say Higley High? But she is a little bit older. She and her husband have been at BYU Hawaii for possibly a school year. She is a photographer too, with long blond hair and a sweet free spirit personality. πŸ˜‰ So if Elle needs a friend, Heather would be a good fit! πŸ™‚

  49. It is the best campus! She is going to have such a unique experience. My super cute neighbor is also going there. I am sure they will know each other with such a small campus. Her name is Abby and I am sure they could be great friends.

  50. It's so funny how when I started to read this post, I kept thinking about how this was our story last year, well, my son and I. He also was frustrated about not being accepted at BYU Provo when all of his other friends were, but I knew deep inside that it wasn't a really good fit for him. Long story short, he is also going to BYU Hawaii after his mission which will be by November of next year. He is in the Massachusetts Boston Mission now. BYU Hawaii is such a special campus. My husband and I met and graduated from there. We love the diversity and the smaller student population, hence there's a lot more chance to get to know everyone. Elle will love it there. Congrats!

  51. So awesome! A piece of my heart belongs in Laie. I have so many family members there and my parents met there and are both BYU-Hawaii Alumni. 3 of my sisters went there as well. One met her husband there. We went often when I was young and during my high school years I spent two summers there and worked at PCC. I bawled my eyes out every time I had to leave. It is such a laid back, fun atmosphere. And so very beautiful.

  52. I have never commented on any of your post, but this one just fills my heart with joy!!! I've been following your blog for years and it makes me so emotionally invested to know that Max is on his mission (!!!) and that Elle is going to my beloved BYUH. I received my degree there back in 2010 and loved every minute of it.

    I love love love BYU-Hawaii and I know Elle will love it too. I could list a thousand things i love about that school! The beach, the professors, the culture, the food, the temple, the aloha spirit. i could go on and on.

    Since i've been a quiet fan of your blog, i'll take this time to thank you for your wonderful example. I've read most of your posts and I could feel the love and joy in your family. Please keep writing!!

    Aloha from the Philippines.

  53. Hi Shawni and Elle! I'm from San Diego and went to BYU Hawaii:) I started reading your blog a few years ago when I was a student at BYU-Hawaii. The same thing happened to me, not getting accepted at BYU and I even tried to transfer there a couple times from BYU-H but never got accepted. BYU Hawaii is truly a special place and I believe those who go there are meant to go there! I met my husband there and I could never imagine going anywhere else for college.BYU Hawaii is such a magical and diverse experience, your daughter will love it!

  54. What about BYU-Idaho? One of my YW went to BYU-Hawaii and said the ratio of girls to boys was so crazy! There were SO many more boys than girls.

  55. I went to BYU-H and absolutely thrived there. Really, I can't say enough good about my experience. Being my first time away from home, I loved going into an environment that was so welcoming, diverse, and fun. I roomed in a house with 9 other girls from all over the world. We loaded all of our classes in the morning so we could go straight to the beaches after lunch together. I loved that the temple was just down the street from my house. It felt like a powerful anchor being so far away from home, and I felt that heaven was close. I'm excited for you daughter, and all the great experiences awaiting her. Go Seasiders! πŸ™‚
    P.S. Tell her to stock up at Costco when she can. The local grocery store is way overpriced πŸ˜‰

  56. When I read that she wasn't accepted to YProvo I thought, she should go to YHI. I am so happy for her!! The ocean, the culture, the awesome people there will make it an amazing experience for her. The best wishes for your college life , pretty girl! I can't wait to see the insane pictures you will be able to take there❀️

  57. I went to BYU-Hawaii and LOVED it. We studied hard and played hard. My college roommates were the best. Because you couldn't run home for the weekend we made a lot of memories together. It has been amazing to me how my experiences there prepared me for other experiences in my life. I'm so excited for you!

  58. I went to BYU-Hawaii and LOVED it. We studied hard and played hard. My college roommates were the best. Because you couldn't run home for the weekend we made a lot of memories together. It has been amazing to me how my experiences there prepared me for other experiences in my life. I'm so excited for you!

  59. I don't post often on here, but I wanted to say congrats to your daughter. She is going to have an incredible experience, one that is not available anywhere else. My dad teaches at BYUH, and I went to school there as well. After I graduated, I went on a mission, then on to law school at BYU, and I spent 6 years practicing law in Las Vegas. I recently moved to Texas with my little family and just last week I ran into someone that went to BYUH at the same time I was there. Although we weren't really friends when we were on campus, we knew one another. As soon as we saw each other here in Texas, it was like we had been such close friends all those years ago. There is just such a connection that you make with your fellow students, it is hard to describe. If she puts her whole heart into this, like she has done with so many other things, she will love it.

  60. Wow! Such a loss for BYU in Provo! Congrats to Elle! How exciting and an awesome experience to have this opportunity. It was surely meant to be. Praying for your momma heart and a successful start to college for Elle. Blessings.

  61. Shawni, I LOVE YOU. This post was so so so well-timed. Thank Elle for allowing this experience to be shared. It was a blessing πŸ™‚ xo -nichole

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