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How to Get Your Parents to Support Your Academic Dreams

So, you know what college major and career you want to pursue, but the parents aren't on board. What now? First, take a breath. Second, follow these tips.

You know what you want to major in and do for a living, but your parents aren’t on board. What do you do now? In many cases, the real problem is that parents don’t fully understand why you're interested in the field you're pursuing or what your concrete career plans are. They care about you and want what’s best for you. So your job now is to show them why your intended major is the best fit for you! Here are some tips to help bring them around and maybe some advice on being open-minded to their perspective too. 

Show them you've done your research

First and foremost, your family must know upfront what you intend to study. Sit down with your parents and discuss your intended major, minor, and the courses they entail. Show them that you've done your research—that this isn't just some random major you picked off a list. Make sure you can explain in detail what makes this worthwhile to pursue, including things like:

  • What reputation does the college and your intended program have?
  • What kinds of internships and other hands-on education opportunities are available?
  • What are the career opportunities like after graduation?
  • Are the credits in the courses transferable?
  • What other diverse college classes can and will you be taking?
  • 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 College Major Isn't the Same as Choosing a Career

Meet with your admission advisor and test-run the major

A great way for your parents to get their questions answered and concerns eased is by speaking with your admission advisor at your prospective school, whether in person, on the phone, or over email. Your advisor can describe the program and address any concerns that are preventing them from fully supporting your dream. Hearing from an expert can give them a new perspective.

Seeing an uplifting, passionate educational environment up close and personal is also encouraging. Campus tours, open houses, and sitting in on a class are beneficial in separate ways. During a campus tour with your parents, you can visit 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 information for you and your family to better understand the field. And auditing a class to get a glimpse of the coursework and a sense of how you’ll enjoy the class will showcase your dedication.

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? Have you been working on a project on your own, just for fun and to see what you can do? Showing your parents your talent in the subject will give them no choice but to be faced with your talents. How can they not be proud of you for independently pursuing your interests? Share your knowledge. Express your passion for the subject you wish to study. Make it clear that not only are you committed but also well informed.

Related: How to Discover and Pursue Your Passions as a Student

Try not to get combative when your parents 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. Let them know you hear them and hear out what they had for another field in mind for you. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to minor in it for professional security! But persistence is important in communicating your love for something. Communication is key! At the end of the day, your major is just one little piece of your career puzzle. Not to mention that there’s a good chance you’ll change your mind along the way—and that’s okay too. Good luck!

Show your parents all the great schools that offer programs in your field using our College Search tool, which lets you search by major!

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About Carissa Hills

Carissa Hills

Clarissa Hills thinks there there's no better feeling than knowing you can make a positive impact on another individual through writing. Clarissa has a unique view of life and hopes to inspire others with it, finding personal inspiration through fasion, the outdoors, big cities, and concerts.


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