If your parents are stopping you or discouraging you from going to college, there are a few different ways in which you can resolve this issue. Bad parents usually resort to tricks, confusing messages and emotional blackmailing which can make the situation harder to understand for a young teenage adult.
Your parents can certainly make it difficult for you to go to college by not providing money for college and by obstructing your financial aid application if you are their dependent. But if you are persistent and determined, nobody in the world can stop you from going to college.
If you are living with your parents, your living conditions can get a bit tricky and challenging since you are relying on them for your food and shelter. It is also important for you to understand that you are not obligated to your parents and it is actually their responsibility to care for you until you reach a certain age when you can be independent.
GOING TO COLLEGE WHEN YOUR PARENTS DON’T WANT YOU TO
It can be painful once you realize that your parents are preventing you from going to college. Some parents are direct and simply tell you they cannot afford college, or that they want you to get a job instead.
But there are other parents who are much more devious and will do everything in their power to stop you from going to college but will fake innocence when you confront them about it.
There are still more devious parents who will put up an act as if they are being helpful but will quietly be plotting against you. In such a case, it could take a child sometimes many years to even understand that it is in fact his/her own parents who made college an impossibility.
So the first step on your part is rise above all the confusing messages your parents are giving you, and to acknowledge the fact that you are on your own for college. Once you are clear about that, you can work towards solving this problem as follows:
- See if you can put some social pressure on your parents saying that your friends or kids of their friends are all going to college. You can also ask some trusted uncles and aunts to convince your parents. Your parents might start cooperating if they want to look good in public and don’t want others to think they are mean to their own kids.
- If you think it will help, confront your parents and tell them point blank that you want to do college whether they like it or not. With parents who are more direct, this approach could work well. But with the more devious ones who do everything behind the closet, this process may be stressful and may not get you much farther.
Quietly plan your college without letting your parents know about your college plans.
- Consider carefully whether you need a part time job to pay for your college and other expenses.
- Start by taking a few free or inexpensive college-level courses, either online or at a community college near you. MOOC platforms such as edX or Coursera provide many professional college-level courses and are usually free to take. You will just have to pay a small fee for the final test and certificate. Saylor.org provides free, ACE-accredited college-level courses free of charge, with a US$ 25 for the online proctored exam.
- Take courses in multiple subject areas and if you haven’t already, just figure out what college degree and major you are interested in. Also keep in mind that the major you choose needs to have sufficient career opportunities upon graduation.
- Consider free online colleges such as University of the People, or low-cost ones such as WGU. Work-study colleges such as Alice-Lloyd and Berea college provide free tuition in return for about 20 hours of work per week on campus or in the local community. Some work-study colleges also provide free room and board. Degree completion colleges are another option for putting together all your learning from standardized exams such as CLEP, previous college courses and experience into a single college degree for a small enrollment fee.
KNOWING WHY YOUR PARENTS WILL NOT SUPPORT YOUR COLLEGE
Knowing the reason behind why your parents are obstructing your college can enable you to better understand what to do to resolve the problem. Instead of pointing in the dark, once you understand your parents’ motivation on the matter of your college studies, you can communicate with them better to get the desired outcome.
You will also feel less stressed when you understand the reasons behind your parents’ odd behavior concerning your college. Then your mind will be more at rest and you can effectively communicate with them or reason with them on the matter.
THE QUESTION OF PARENTAL LOVE
When parents come in the way of something as important as college, it can lead one to wonder whether their parents even love them. Looking at the current state of the world, it certainly seems there are quite a few parents who look at their child as a liability or as an asset, instead of simply a child to be loved.
For a teenager, though it can be hard to face this fact, it is important to see this, so that you are not further manipulated and taken advantage of by ill-meaning parents. Having another close friend or relative to help you through this process can be very helpful.
PARENTS FAVORING ONE CHILD OVER ANOTHER
Your parents may favor your sibling/s and be more kind and helpful to them. Parental favoritism is a very common problem in many households. Not everyone is lucky enough to have good and loving parents!
If you think your parents are displaying favoritism, you could talk to them about it and ask them why they are helping your brother or sister and not yourself. This might help in some cases when you can show your parents that what they are doing is not fair. Or you can ask your favorite brother or sister to talk to them about it so they will help with your college.
Most of the time, this issue of favoritism just goes on unnoticed and nobody questions it. That’s one of the reasons why it happens so much. So the minute you notice your parents are playing favorites, just talk to them calmly to fix their ways if you can.
PARENTAL GENDER PREFERENCES
The child’s gender often leads to different experiences as parents sometimes prefer one gender over the other. In the western world, many tend to prefer the girl child and in the eastern part of the world, there tends to be a preference for the boy child. Individual families also differ considerably and might favor children of one gender over the other.
These gender preferences are usually deep-rooted societal perceptions passed along in the family tree, or your parents’ own individual experiences and misguided preferences. But on your part, knowing more about this will help you to manage your parents better when things get tough.
MEETING PARENTAL EXPECTATIONS
If your parents want you to study well, or help out more with household chores, just by doing more of what they want from you may help to resolve things. They might start seeing you more favorably once they find you responding positively to their day-to-day expectations. This is definitely worth a try!
College is an important time for you as a young adult, so anything you can do at home to make things easier for yourself is well worth it. So if you can soften and smoothen your relationship with your parents, that would greatly help your college outcome.
You are not necessarily being dishonest by doing this but you’re simply loving yourself enough to keep things comfortable with people at home while you tackle something as important as college.
TAKING STOCK OF YOUR COLLEGE LEARNING
Before you start college, figure out if you already have earned some college credits. Standardized exams such as AP (Advanced Placement) or SAT subject exams might be worthy of some college credits at some colleges.
If you previously completed any college-level courses in school, make a note of all such courses. Even non-accredited courses might earn you college credits through a special evaluation of your learning. Any courses you completed years ago may also be worthy of college credits by credits transfer.
FINDING A PART TIME JOB
You might be in need of a part time job to pay for your college expenses. Instead of taking any job, its best to choose a job which is in some way related to your choice of college major. Never mind if the job does not pay too well, as long as it is in a field you want to specialize in, the experience will help both your future career and your college education.
Many students accept any low-paying retail job or coffee shop server position or restaurant job they can find, but this will not get you much in terms of experience and the job’s slog work will take valuable time away from your college studies.
Instead if you can find an entry-level position in your chosen field, that would be a whole lot more beneficial to you. This is not as difficult to do as you might think.
I remember how I used to cold-call multiple companies and ask for an entry-level position before I got my first computer software job. I was just a high school graduate at the time but I had completed a few computer courses.
After many rude rejections, I finally got an expenses-paid trainee position at a company where they had an urgent need for a computer programmer. After a few months, I was offered a salaried position in the same company as a C programmer.
LEARNING HOW TO STUDY FOR COLLEGE
Focus and concentration will go a long way in preparing you for college studies. Start by going to a good library and start reading some textbooks in your chosen field. Signup to one or more online courses with an MOOC provider such as EdX or Coursera, or register for some CLEP/ DSST exams.
These actions will build the momentum for your college studies. Scoring well in a few exams or courses and getting the course certificates will give you further confidence and will prove to prospective colleges that you have the aptitude for college studies.
CHOOSING YOUR COLLEGE
Do you study better in a group or classroom? Are you able to study well on your own? Do you have the rigor and discipline for studying online in the comfort of your home? In some cases, you might prefer a hybrid approach that combines are these different methods of learning.
IN-STATE vs. OUT-OF-STATE COLLEGE
The college tuition is lowest for in-state students so see if you can find suitable colleges in your state, or preferably near where you live. If you can enroll in a college that’s close to home, you can greatly reduce college expenses by staying at home. Even if you decide to find your own accommodation, living in an area that you’re familiar with will mean you don’t need to spend extra time in getting familiar with the locality.
If you are interested in out-of-state colleges and you are able to get a full college scholarship to pay for the higher college tuition, then out-of-state might also be a good viable option. You might still need a part time job to pay for your room and board out-of-state. Many students I spoke to prefer studying in college full time with financial aid and then taking a part time job for meeting the living expenses.
ONLINE, BRICK-AND-MORTAR, DISTANCE OR HYBRID FOR COLLEGE
If you want a college campus and classroom setting for college, community colleges offer the lowest in terms of the tuition/ fees. Work-study colleges are also worth it if you are able to get admission to a work-study college. A simple web search will give you a list of work-study colleges in the US and you can then contact the college directly for more information.
Most degree completion colleges focus on online courses and other exams, but Empire State college in New York state is one which offers many classroom-based courses with branches all across NY state.
As for distance college degrees, University of London offers college degrees by distance as do many other UK colleges. The most affordable online colleges include UofPeople and WGU. WGU is regionally accredited and charges about US $3000 for every 6 months for unlimited courses.
UofPeople does not have regional accreditation but is accredited by the Distance Learning Council. UofPeople offers free tuition with a small fee for each exam. The college is partnered with many leading colleges such as NYU and Berkeley. As long as a student chooses a popular college major such as Computer Science or Health Sciences, these have many job openings and good employer recognition within the US and worldwide.
For a more hybrid approach to college learning that combines online courses, individual exams, unlimited prior credits transfer, classroom learning and evaluation of non-accredited learning/ experience, the short answer is degree completion colleges. These colleges allow students to complete their degrees in the shortest time possible by leveraging all of the student’s prior learning, in addition to having low enrollment fees and other costs.
STUDY ABROAD FOR COLLEGE
Some US students and other international students prefer studying in countries such as Germany or Norway that offer free college tuition. But please note that you will still have to pay for the higher living expenses in these countries, so that’s something very important to keep in mind.
In case you have some family living in Europe and if you are able to live with them for the duration of college, that could be yet another affordable way to complete college.
THE MONEY FOR COLLEGE
Financial aid in the US starts with the FAFSA application. Most federal scholarships in the US are specifically for US residents and residents of each US state can also apply for the state scholarships. Most state aid pays for any excess monies that are not covered by the federal student aid.
Once you get the required college scholarships, the only other problem is that the federal and state aid will cover only your college expenses and you will still need more for room and board. This is specifically if you plan to live in a college dorm or away from home for college.
So start saving money for your room and board and for any college-related expenses that may not be fully covered by your scholarships. Your parents may have also saved up some money for your college, so be sure to ask them for help with college.
Other than the aid monies and additional money for living expenses, the only other thing to be careful with is your spending habits. Be careful with how you spend money, eat simple and healthy, learn to make your own healthy meals instead of spending more to eat unhealthy food elsewhere. Find textbooks on rent at your college library and get the rest of your books second-hand at amazon or another book store.
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