So Your Parents Don't Support Your College Major

You know what you want to major in and do for a living, but Mom and Dad aren't on board. What to do?

You know what you want to major in and do for a living, but Mom and Dad aren’t on board. What to do? In many cases the real problem is that parents don’t fully understand your career plans. They care about you and want what’s best for you. So your job is to show them why your intended major is the best fit for you!

Educate them

First and foremost it is imperative that your family knows what you intend to study. Sit down with your parents and discuss your intended major, minor, and the courses they entail. Make sure you can explain in detail, including things like:

  1. What reputation your school and your program have?
  2. What kinds of internship and other hands-on education opportunities are available?
  3. What are the post-graduation job opportunities like?
  4. Are the credits in the courses transferable?
  5. What other diverse college classes will you be taking?
  6. How do average earnings compare to your college costs and possible student debt?

Pro tip: answering these questions will also help you understand what your potential future career and earnings will be like, so you can make the most informed major decision possible.

Related: Why Picking a Major Isn't the Same as Choosing a Career

Meet with you admission advisor

A great way for your parents to get their questions answered is by speaking with your admission advisor at your prospective school, whether in person, on the phone, or over e-mail. Your advisor can describe the program and address any concerns. Hearing from an expert can ease a parent’s hesitations.

Attend a campus tour, open house, or class sit-in

Seeing an uplifting, passionate educational environment up close and personal is always encouraging. Campus tours, open houses, and sitting in on a class are all beneficial in their own ways. During a campus tour, you can visit the buildings and classrooms in your potential major and maybe even see students in action. At an open house you can meet with professors in your intended field and get personalized help and information. During a class you’ll get a glimpse of the course work and a sense of how you’ll enjoy the class.

Communicate your passion

Have you been reading academic books and articles in your possible major? Are you participating in related clubs at school? Do you want to attend a summer program in the subject? Having you been working on a project on your own, just for fun? Showing your parents your talent in subject will give them no choice but to be proud of you. Share your knowledge. Express your passion for the subject you wish to study. Make it clear that you’re committed and well informed.

Listen to their concerns

Don’t stray or fight when they express their opinions or concerns about your future. Your family has your best interests in mind, and they want to make sure you’ll get the best education for the best price at the best place. One thing you can do is compromise. Let them know you hear them and you’ll look into what they are fixated on. Maybe they had another field in mind for you. It wouldn’t be so bad to minor in that! Persistence is important when trying to communicate your love for something.

The most important thing is that you have a mutual understanding of what each is thinking and feeling relative to your college search decisions. Communication is key!

Also remember, at the end of the day, your major is just one little piece of your career puzzle. Often, it doesn’t even matter! Not to mention that there’s a good chance you’ll change your mind along the way—and that’s okay too. Good luck!

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choosing a major majors majors and academics parents relationships

About Carissa Hills

Carissa Hills

There is no better feeling than knowing that you can make a positive impact on another individual with your writing. I'm searching for ways to make college less intimidating, just like you. I also love fashion and enjoy the outdoors, big cities, and concerts! I have a unique view of life, and I hope to inspire others with it.


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