You've made up your mind to take another route to employment than post-secondary school. Maybe you've decided to join the workforce right away, you have plans to travel, or you're heading to a vocational school instead. But your parents still want you to go to college instead.
What's the deal? The truth is that parents pressure their kids into college for a ton of different reasons. Instead of getting mad and pulling out the "You just don't understand!" card, it's better to stop and take the time to understand why they want you to consider college. When you better understan their reasonsing, you can be prepped with answers to soothe their worries and remind them that it's time to let you start calling the shots.
They Think College is the Only Way to Employment
For a long time, it was drilled into everyone's heads: Go to college or you won't get a good job. And your parents are probably part of a generation that made post-secondary school a must, instead of a choice. To be honest, there's a good chance your parents have visions of you living in their basement forever.
By coming up with viable options and a plan to get a job, you can help remind your parents that there's more than one path to success. Shrugging your shoulders and going in without a plan is a surefire way to start a fight and land yourself somewhere that might not be a good fit.
They Didn't Go to College... and They Regret It
Some parents pressure their kids into a college track because they missed out on the opportunity when they graduated high school. Parents that didn't attend college may have struggled career-wise and don't want you to struggle either, so they mistakenly believe that college or university is a golden ticket to success.
Talk to your parents about their fears and remind them that college doesn't automatically mean financial security; especially if you end up in a job that you hate.
They Want You to be Just Like Them
If your parents attended college, they might have dreams for you to get accepted into their alma mater, wear the sweatshirts, and basically have the exact same positive experience that they did. Of course, you're not your parents, and what might have been a positive for them could end up being the wrong fit for you.
This is a good time to (gently) remind your parents that you're an individual. What was an awesome experience for them could be stressful/useless/wrong for you. Then, highlight some of your plans and why you think they'd work better for you instead.
They Aren't Used to You Making Decisions
Hey, your parents have spent the last 18 or so years making most of your big life choices. Sure, you got to pick which pants you wanted to wear, but for the most part, choices about education and your future were their call. Now that you're older, it might be hard for them to let go and trust your choices.
So, make sure you're worthy of their trust. Don't skip out on college blindly: have a plan in place and explain why it's better for you. Prove that you're not just choosing a different path because college sounds boring, but because you have other plans to success that involve your talents and passion.
In the end, your parents pressure you to go to college because they love you and want what's best for you. But it's up to you to help them see that what's best for you might not be what they had planned all along. Be totally open and honest, and your parents can become your biggest cheerleaders on an alternative path.