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Applying to Colleges Your Parents Want

Applying to Colleges Your Parents Want

Your vision of your undergraduate experience might differ from that of your parents. This disconnect can be a source of contention as college and university application deadlines loom. If your parents insist that you apply to certain schools or purse a particular major, you need to have serious conversations about these expectations. 

Start Talking Early

The earlier you start discussing college and university applications and expectations with your parents, the better. This will allow you to put everything on the table before you have to make any decisions.

If you tell your parents as a high school sophomore that you think you want to study art history instead of finance, they'll have two years to get used to the idea. Similarly, by starting early, you'll have enough time to properly investigate the schools and programs that your parents suggest.

Try to Understand Your Parents

Parents sometimes have an idea of where they'd like their children to go to school, even if they don't express it. There are many good reasons why a parent would want their child to go to a specific school; including location, affordability, academic standing, availability of scholarships and campus culture.

Consider Their Opinion

If you're like most students, your parents will pay for part of your education, which means they deserve to have a say in where you go. Still, at the end of the day, it's four years of your life, not theirs. Rather than allowing your parents to dictate your application list, work with them, compromise and be sure to follow through.

Do Your Research

Part of respecting your parents’ opinion means doing your research. If they think you might enjoy or benefit from a particular school, give it a chance. Even if their choices don't excite you as much as your preferences, try to find programs, activities or other opportunities that you can get excited about.

If their suggested school isn’t right for you, present concrete reasons why. Few parents would make their child apply to a school they genuinely didn't like.

Stand by Your Decision

Whether you're applying to a few schools or a dozen, every application requires your concentrated efforts and energy. You need to be sure that you'd be happy at each college or university before submitting your application. If a school that your parent suggested seems like a good fit, put it on the list. If not, then don't and give specific reasons why.

In the end, make sure you're applying to schools that make you excited about the future! Although this is ultimately up to you, the final decision is one you'll need to make with your parents. Involve them early, listen and do your research before you make a decision.

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