You’ve opened the heavily anticipated acceptance letters and now it’s time to decide — where are you going to go to college?
You may have your eyes set on a certain school, but there is another party that you should include in your college decision — your parents. Our parents do a pretty good job of bringing things back to reality for us (whether we like it or not). In terms of college, they’ll weigh in on some aspects that may not necessarily be the first things you think of. You might not have thought about how to be financially responsible while in college, how a school’s alumni wind up faring post-graduation and how to pick a major that will inspire you and set you on the road to success.
While parents tend to have good intentions during the conversations about college, sometimes they may make you more stressed. But remember that they’re nervous too! Here are some tips on how to talk about some of the more challenging aspects of entering college.
1. Be honest about what you want to study.
Many of us have parents who have high hopes and aspirations for us, which is great! Sometimes, this can cause conflict because the dreams of our parents aren’t necessarily the same as our dreams.
Finding yourself in this situation can be challenging. It’s important to listen to and respect your parents’ desires for you. But ultimately, listen to your heart’s desire and run after what you’re passionate about. While your dad might want you to pursue pre-med so you can become a doctor one day, you might want to pursue a Fashion degree, an IT degree or a Sociology degree. Your parents might not immediately understand, but it’s important for you to be upfront and honest about your passions.
2. Get clarity on what goes into financing a college education.
Another important conversation to have with your parents is about money. It’s important to get clarity sooner rather than later on who will be paying for both your college tuition and your college living expenses. After all, financing a college education is no small feat. If both you and your parents are paying for college, how will the costs be split? While your parents might be able to pay for your tuition, you might be responsible for paying for your books, materials, food and maybe even shelter.
Once it’s been determined who’s paying for the various components of college life, the next step is deciding how you’re going to pay for everything. Will you be using outside money such as federal aid, loans and scholarships? Will you have to find a part-time, full-time or work-study job during your college days to offset costs? Getting clarity on your financial plan for college sooner rather than later will make the whole transition to school much more peaceful for both you and your parents.
3. Stay flexible about where you live during college.
It can be highly valuable to your formation as a young adult to move onto campus and experience what living away from home is like. This is an especially important decision to discuss with your parents, since they might encourage you to think logically and fully consider your options. As you progress through your college years, you may be living in various living spaces — dorm rooms, apartments, etc. — with a variety of roommates from different backgrounds and cultures. This will help you grow your global perspective and deliver a unique college experience.
There are a multitude of decisions that go into choosing a college. For most of us, even though we may not want to admit it, our parents are probably the people that know us best. Even if you don’t see eye-to-eye with your parents on everything, engaging in these conversations with them is really important.
Your life is about to change (in an exciting way!), and it’s crucial that you start on your new path headed in the direction that will be best for you both in the short and long-term. For that reason, we encourage you to contact us and to learn more about joining the Marymount community. We can’t wait to get to know you!
If you’ve been accepted to Marymount University for college but still have some questions about the Marymount experience, we encourage you to visit our Accepted Students Resource.