Conflicts with Your Parents
I live close to school, so the commute is not too bad. But I find it really hard to make friends, and it’s very stressful for me to commute. I want to know how it is to experience life on my own. My parents, specifically my mom, tell me we don’t have the money for room and board. When I told her I was willing to take out student loans to make the payments, she told me it wasn’t a good idea. How can I convince her that it is?
This is certainly a touchy subject, one that could be affected both by financial issues and your mother’s fear of you growing up and moving away. I suggest speaking with her about how you’re now an adult and are ready to take on certain financial responsibilities in order to improve your quality of life. In particular, I suggest stressing that impact your commute is having on your grades, your ability to become involved in your school’s community, and your ability to forge friendships with your classmates. Remind her how important all of these factors are not only to your mental and emotional health and growth, but also the value of living on or near campus and being able to partake in school events and activities will have on your ability to get a job later. After all, so much of getting a job after college is about the connections you make during college. If you’re unable to make those connections because you’re commuting, you may find yourself living with your parents long after you graduate from college.
If that doesn’t work, perhaps you could ask a family member (perhaps your father or a close aunt, uncle, or grandparent) to reason with your mother. I suspect that your mother’s consternation over the possibility of moving out has quite a bit to do with her own fear of not being able to protect you and keep you close. Someone close to both of you may be best equipped to alleviate these fears.
Keep in mind that if you’re over 18, you may be able to take out student loans on your own, although you might need an adult cosigner. I’m sure this would be the last resort, as you don’t want to alienate your parent, and I also recognize that they may now be contributing to or paying your tuition. It’s something to keep in mind, however, if all else fails.
Also, I’d suggest speaking to someone in your school’s financial aid office. They may have some other ideas as to how you can get help paying for your room and board.
I am a junior in high school. My parents want me to go to the same school as my other sibling, but I want to go somewhere else. Every time I mention going somewhere else, they say that I am going to that college and it’s final. They even said that they won’t help me get into the college that I want to get into. I want to become a veterinarian or a gynecologist/obstetrician. Is there any advice?
It sounds like you’re in a tough situation, but maybe things will work out for you. Let’s consider a few different things. First of all, have you demonstrated respect for your parents as you’re trying to talk through this issue with them? A little respect goes a long way in your conversations with them. Secondly, do you know the reasons why your parents want you to attend their preferred school? Maybe they have some valid perspectives about it (whether financial reasons, location reasons, etc). Try to understand where they’re coming from, and that way you’ll be able to empathize with their viewpoints even if you don’t agree with them.
Thirdly, you could potentially make a thoughtful and intelligent case for your intent to attend a different college. Why would another college be better than the college they are suggesting? Maybe there are even some actual facts and figures you could show them. I think if you do your research, gather some “evidence” (think of a lawyer preparing a court case), and present it to your parents in a way that addresses all their potential concerns, they may be able to recognize that you have some reasonable viewpoints, and they could possibly be willing to be flexible about their position.
Lastly, I think it could be good for you to talk to your school counselor, academic adviser, teacher or other trusted adult about this. Chances are that another adult could help you approach your parents and work through the situation together. Above all, don’t give up hope! You sound like you’re very sure of what you want to do, and that’s great. I think together you could figure out a way to get to where you want to be.
Hi. Thanks for taking the time to read my question. I actually have so many questions! I’m not in high school yet, but my parents are already going crazy about college and SAT/ACT tests! I always have something on my day to do, and I am always really busy. I hate the fact already my parents are really strict on my grades and such, but how could I help myself in a better way?
Have you tried talking to your parents about it in a respectful way? I think that would be the first thing to do. Do they have an idea about how busy you feel? Are you able to sit down and talk about it together and figure out a plan to give you some more free time? Maybe you could thank them for wanting to help you succeed (I bet that your parents are trying to help you in the ways they know how!) but then just tell them honestly that you are a little worried that you might not have time to enjoy this time of your life a little bit more.
Then just see what they say. They might have some viewpoints you haven’t considered before. Or maybe they feel bad about not trying harder when they were your age (or, on the other hand, they worked really hard and expect you to do the same). You never know what you might find out about them that might help you all understand each other better and work toward an agreement of how to handle your time and a plan for your grades. I bet your parents want to be a team with you, and it sounds like you want to be a team with them too, not at odds with them. I wish you the best and I hope that’s what happens as you move into your high school years.
One last thing: If your parents really can’t see your side of things, then maybe you want to talk to a teacher you trust or a friend’s parent that may be able to give you some advice. But I would try talking to your parents first in a positive way.
Ever since I’ve been small, my parents encouraged me to always try my best in school. When I entered high school, I did everything in my power to get high grades, and my parents said it would all pay back. I would get scholarships because of my grades and would go off to a four-year university. Senior year came, and we visited campuses. I fell in love with SFA, and I was accepted to attend. I received scholarships, finished 27th of my class out of 460, but didn’t receive financial aid because my parents earned a lot. In the end, the week before I was suppose to leave, my parents didn’t allow me to leave to attend SFA, because they had no money to pay, and they made me go to a community college. It has affected me greatly. I feel that I tried so hard in school for everything to come crashing down. I never envisioned going to a community college and that my parents would change the tables on me. I feel like now my dreams of going off to a university are not near.
Thanks for writing me. I can feel the disappointment of your situation! It’s unfortunate that your parents don’t have money to help you pay for school. It’s not clear to me why they can’t help you pay if they make too much for you not to qualify for financial aid… maybe they are working to pay off debt of their own?
Well, either way, have you considered paying your way through college yourself? One way to do that is to spend this year at the community college keeping your grades up and saving money, then transferring to SFA or another college that you like after this year. It’s certainly not too late to fulfill your dream of attending a four-year university! Fill out a FastWeb profile this year (at FastWeb.com) if you haven’t done that already. It can match you with extra scholarships outside of the aid a school offers you. I highly suggest you begin applying to scholarships that FastWeb matches you with. You might be able to build up a reserve of scholarship money that way — every little bit helps.
Also, I don’t see any reason why you can’t call the financial aid office at SFA and explain your situation. Financial aid officers are there to help students receive more financial aid if possible. If you demonstrate to them that it is still your first-choice school, they might figure out ways to offer you more financial aid if you apply as a transfer student. Or, look for schools that offer more tuition aid to good students like yourself. It’s really not too late for you! It might just take a little more persistence, research and calling around.
Whatever you decide going forward, I encourage you not to give up. Maybe you felt that you shouldn’t go against what your parents decided this first time around, and it sounds like they may be dealing with the worries of not being able to financially support you. But again, many students pay their own way through school with a combination of scholarships, federal aid, on-campus jobs and loans. I suggest you sit down with your parents and honestly explain how you feel and that you still have a very strong desire to attend a four-year university. (And quite frankly, with your class rank, I think you could easily attend one.)
I wish you the best and hope that you and your parents reach a compromise soon. I am guessing you’re probably 18 or 19 by now, and that means it’s time for you to learn the ropes of becoming an adult. This is a wonderful chance to start that growth process! All my best.
My parents are very set on me attending a UW college. The college is about thirty minutes from home, and I would be living with them to cut down on expenses. But I have chosen to go for a specific major that is not offered at UW. I wish to go to a college out of state, but they just won’t budge. Does it make sense to get a degree here if I am not going to get a job here or live here afterwards?
This is a great question and a difficult conflict where both sides have a valid point. College is an expensive investment, and I can understand your parents’ argument for keeping the costs low. However, if UW does not offer the major of your interest, I understand that you feel like attending might be a waste of your time. While there is no easy answer to this question, there are a few truths. First, if you decide that going out of state for a particular major is most important, you will probably want to look for funding opportunities. Research the scholarships that particular school offers, and file the FAFSA. Out-of-state tuition is much higher than in-state tuition, and the cost of moving will also factor in. Secondly, is your choice of major specialized enough to make it crucial to leave the state? For instance, if you are interested in publishing but live nowhere near New York City, you can still study English or Communications which will give you the skills to bridge into that field. Many jobs do not require a specific major and pull graduates from all areas of study. Likewise, medical schools and science programs often accept students from non-medical majors. Without knowing your particular choice of major, it is hard to discern whether or not an out-of-state school is absolutely appropriate. Finally, one option you might consider is beginning college near your home and transferring after the first year. Any undergraduate will have to complete basic core requirements for any major. These classes will be offered at UW, and you can spend the first year saving money and living near home before transferring to a school more appropriate for your goals. Discuss this option with your parents to see if it is a possibility. Keep an open mind and remember that picking the right school always includes an informed discussion of finances. Your ability to pay back student loans after graduation is a crucial factor, as is the affordability of the experience while you are enrolled. Good luck!
My son is a junior at a private school in Chicago. He has his sights set on many expensive high quality schools. We are in no position to pay those prices, and he just thinks he can get loans easily. How do we break the news that these schools are just out of our reach?
It’s understandable when high school students grow starry-eyed when thinking about Ivy Leagues and expensive schools. And, it’s a hard reality that the competition at these schools is steep, and the tuition costs at many schools are even steeper. But rather than discouraging him away from those schools, why not put some more realistic options right under his nose? There are likely a few local schools within a short driving distance that offer high quality education at a much lower tuition price, such as the University of Illinois. Your son may be unaware of how many amazing schools exist right around your area. Mention a few names of area schools and state universities, and ask him to do some research. If his passion does not die for entry to an expensive school, have him compile research about the cost of tuition, books, living expenses, and other financial matters. Then, ask him to research loans and scholarships. It’s also a great idea for future students to look at the median salary data for their career of interest. Understanding that most entry-level graduates start off making low salaries sometimes deters students from taking out mammoth loans for undergraduate study. Your son can find salary data at www.bls.gov. He can also check out the My College Guide scholarship page which contains a master list of scholarship opportunities. It’s difficult to explain the financial complexities of college decisions, but rest assured that your son will have a better understanding of your position down the road with more life experience under his belt. Good luck!
I am in a poor situation with my mother. I am a senior in high school and applying for colleges. My mom wants me to go to a major university. Here’s the catch: She isn’t going to help me pay. She thinks I am going to get all of these scholarships. I have tried to explain to her that isn’t how it works nowadays. When I suggested a much cheaper and smaller university, she got very defensive and upset. I don’t want to be in debt the rest of my life. I’d much rather have a little bit that I can pay off rather quickly. What should I do?
I’m sorry to hear about the conflict you’re having with your mom. It sounds like a tough situation. Do you know the reasons why your mom wants you to attend a major university? Try to understand where she’s coming from — does she want to protect you and keep you close? — so that you can empathize with her viewpoints. Then have a discussion with your mom about your reasons for wanting to attend a different college. Share the facts and figures about tuition at various schools and your concerns about going into debt. If you respectfully present it to your mom while also addressing her concerns, she might be able to recognize that you have some reasonable viewpoints.
In terms of paying for school — no matter which school you end up at — start applying for financial aid now. Apply for scholarships offered by the colleges you’re submitting applications to, and look in your community for businesses and organizations that offer scholarships to local students. Also, don’t forget to fill out your FAFSA and apply for a Pell Grant.
Lastly, I think it could be good for you to talk to your school counselor, teacher or other trusted adult about this. Another adult could help you approach your mom and work through the situation together. Above all, don’t give up hope! Together you could figure out a way to get to where you want to be. Good luck!