Aug   2015



Not Your Parents' Future: Getting the Courage to Go to the College You Want

Student, Advantage Academy

You’ve spent your whole life doing what your parents told you to do, trying to make them proud. Now they’re asking you to choose this college or that major. But is it what you want?

This is for those students with parents who have more than just a hand in your college search, the kinds of parents who push certain college brochures towards you and list reasons why the major you’re thinking about isn’t good enough. They love you and mean well, but they’re adding even more stress to an already incredibly stressful decision, especially since you don't really see eye-to eye.

Related: 4 Ways to Find Your College Fit

There are many reasons why college-bound students give in to their parents’ “suggestions” about what they should do with their future. Those reasons range from financial pressures to simply trying to make the parents happy. Or maybe those graduating students believe their parents know best and that they should listen to them and go on the career path suggested—despite the fact said career path is of no interest to them whatsoever.

Following your parents’ wishes might work out for you in the end, but it also could put you through four years (or much more) of misery. There’s a reason why many college freshmen never come back for a second year. They didn’t want to pay for and listen to lectures about subjects they’re not passionate about. College should be about learning what you love. It’s supposed to be different from the mandatory high school classes. It’s supposed to prepare you for a future you dreamed of. No one said it would be easy, but you shouldn’t dread going to class every day.

So what do you do when your parents keep pushing you towards something you don’t want? You need to be strong, mature, and ready to have some tough talks. And you need to have research to back your position up.

Don’t cross anything off your list just because your parents disapprove. Instead, if you have a college or major you’re interested in or even just curious about, look into it yourself. Keep doing your own research into colleges and careers. Demonstrate your maturity and willingness to do the work in your college search by actually doing the work. Dig your heels in the ground and be strong.

Related: 6 College Search Statistics That Matter (and 4 That Don't)

This is your future. College is the first choice of many you get to make all by yourself. Parental input is helpful but, ultimately, the choice should be up to you. That can be very hard, especially if your parents are paying for your tuition. Hopefully they will understand your position and support you no matter what your decision. If they aren’t understanding or supportive, that can make choosing your own path much harder. But you shouldn’t give up. There are many people out there, from other family and friends to high school mentors, who can help. And there are financial options like scholarships that can pave the way to the school of your dreams. You owe it to yourself—and no one else—to do what you feel will make you happy. And if in retrospect, you find the decision you made was a bad one, that’s okay. At least you can say, “I chose this.” Being an adult means making your own decisions, messing up, and moving on. You’re becoming an adult now. Build up the courage to do what you want.

Note: Did you know you could win a $10,000 scholarship for college or grad school just by registering on CollegeXpress? This is one of the quickest, easiest scholarships you’ll ever apply for. Register Now »

About Therese Castro

Therese is a high school student from Texas who loves writing—all kinds of writing—more than anything. She believes that opinions and advice should be shared and that important social topics should be talked about.

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