Applying to Colleges Your Parents Want

on August 10, 2017

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


Start Talking Early


The earlier you start discussing college 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 colleges and programs your parents suggest.


Try to Understand Your Parents


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


Consider Their Opinion


If you're like most college students, your parents will pay for part of your college education, which means they deserve to have a say in where you go. Still, at the end of the day, it's the best four years of your life. Rather than allowing your parents to dictate your application list, work with them, compromise and be sure to follow through. 


Do Research


Part of respecting your parents’ opinion means doing your research. If they think you might enjoy or benefit from a particular college, 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 college isn’t right for you, present concrete reasons why. Few parents would make their child apply to a college they genuinely didn't like.


Decide When to Say Yes and When to Say No


No matter whether you're applying to a few colleges or a dozen, every application entails effort and energy. You need to be sure you'd be happy at each college before submitting. If a college your parent suggested seems like a good fit, put it on the list. If not, don't, and give your parents specific reasons why. 


In the end, make sure you're applying to colleges that make you excited. 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 weight their advice.

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