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Oct 31 2017
by Florence O'Connor

What to Do If Your Parents Don't Support Where You Want to Go to College

By Florence O'Connor - Oct 31 2017
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Choosing where you want to go to college is a huge decision. Not only is it a huge decision in its own right, but it is made more intense due to the fact that it is probably one of the first major life choices you have ever had to make as a young adult. This time period can be a little confusing as people are telling you that the time has come for you to leave home and make your own choices. However, this does not stop others from giving you their opinion on where they think you should attend college. 

Usually you can tune out the unnecessary opinions, yet there are a couple of people whose perspective holds almost, in some cases, more gravity than your own: your parents. Most parents only ever want the best for you, and trust me, they are just as terrified by the prospective of you leaving home as you are. However, sometimes it can get confusing when they have a very strong mindset about where and/or where not is the right school for you. 

Your parents might push you towards one particular school for a variety of reasons: family legacy, wanting you to stay in state, wanting you to leave the state or simply because they see you thriving most at a particular style of school.

Whatever the reason is, make sure you really listen to them and try to understand why it is so important to them that you attend the particular school. Take into account why they believe you belong there, they could be right. There is also no harm in applying (even if it is only to appease them), and then you can rethink whether you want to attend that school once you know if have even been accepted.

Remember that you are the one spending four years there, not them, so don't let yourself be guilted into attending a college that you don't really want to go to. It may upset them at first, but I promise they will eventually come around as the only thing they want from you is your happiness. 

 A perhaps harder battle may be if your parents are dead set against the school you really want to attend. They may have many valid reasons for why they believe a certain school is not right for you so you need to make sure that you really do hear them out. Maybe they think you are taking the easy option or maybe they think you are pushing yourself to an extreme that will hinder your ability to thrive.

After listening to their reasons, sit with yourself and really think about what you want. If you are still interested in this school, be mature and level-headed with your response and try to explain to them that you understand their reasonings, yet you have many valid examples as to why this particular school is where you should be. 

Battling against your parents about college is a very sticky situation, especially if they are the ones paying. It is trying to find the balance of being respectful of them and their opinions, but also standing up for what you truly want. Don't let anyone condescend you into thinking that you do not know what is right for you due to that fact that you are "only 18" because, guess what, that's the exact age they were when they got to choose where they wanted to go to school.

This is a huge decision, so make sure to listen to those who love and care for you, but mainly listen to yourself. Try to remove everyone else's opinions, expectations and judgments and work out what is genuinely best for you. That may mean admitting that you are wrong, or maybe even harder, that your parents are wrong (this may be a more difficult conversation to have). Once you have come to a conclusion make sure you fight for your right to go to the college that you want to attend, and I promise everything will work out. 

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Florence O'Connor - New York University

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