As a parent, it is normal to want the best for your child. Sometimes what you think is best conflicts with what your child wants. If your child is resisting the idea of college, you may be concerned about what the future holds.
You may be tempted to push the issue of college. If your child is not yet an adult, they will be soon. You cannot make them do what you want. You will be more effective if you remind them that you both are on the same team.
Listen to What They Say
When your child tells you they don’t want to go to college, you may be tempted to yell, cry, or lecture. The better option is to listen. What are the reasons for not wanting to go? As a young adult, there are many things they don’t know yet. Exploring the reasoning behind the decision will allow them to clarify their opinion.
One common reason teens often avoid college is because they don’t know what they want to do as a career. Ask your child if this is something they are concerned about. If so, let them know that the first year or two of college is made up of general education courses. They can take these classes without settling on a major.
Other teens are resistant to college because they just feel like they are finished with school. If they had a rough time in high school, they may want to avoid college. Explain to your child that college is not like high school. They have more control over the classes they take and will be exposed to an entirely new peer group.
Explore Other Options
If your child is still not interested in college, help them think of things they are interested in. Do they want to go straight into the workforce? The summer after his high school graduation can give them exposure to what that type of work requires.
Rather than have them cut off their educational opportunities entirely, encourage them to look at technical programs. They can get the training needed to become an HVAC technician, welder, mechanic, or any other hands-on choices. It may be possible to complete one of these programs in as little as three months.
If your child is resistant to the idea of college during the high school years, consider vocational training. Many high schools offer programs that allow students to spend part of each day in a technical setting. This allows the students to earn both a high school diploma and a trade certificate upon graduation.
Never Say Never
Avoid making your child feel backed into a corner. You can express your desires for their education, and help them explore alternative training programs. You cannot make their choices for them. Accept their decision. This is important for a few reasons. You want to maintain your relationship. You also want them to feel like they can change their mind about school without admitting they were wrong.
Look for a Compromise
If you have a good relationship with your child, approach them with the idea of a compromise. If they want to go straight into the workforce, ask if they would be open to attending school part-time. Taking classes at a local community college is very affordable. This ensures they won’t be starting from the beginning if they do decide to attend college.
Respect Their Decision
At the end of the day, the choice of whether your child attends college or not is not yours. You can express your opinions and concerns, but it is a decision your child will make for themselves. Trying to force a child to attend college who is not interested typically does not end well. It will probably prove to be a waste of money. It can also lead to academic probation or suspension, which can have lasting results.