What To Do When Your Parents Don’t Approve Of Your Major

Elizabeth Witbeck

Realize that since you are in college now, you are an adult and you have to make your own decisions. It’s your choice what career you want to pursue. This is not somebody else’s choice to make. You need to figure this out on your own and be confident in your choices. It is important to be your own person, because you are responsible for your own happiness. You should not allow other people’s opinions to sway your actions, because it is your life, and not theirs.

You also need to be sympathetic to where your parents are coming from. Your parents truly want what is best for you. As your parents, they want to see you fulfill your potential and have a lucrative career. They may have always dreamed about you having a job that paid really well. They may have envisioned you having a successful lifestyle that they never had.

Parents often put pressure on their children to do well in college, to fulfill the dreams they couldn’t fill themselves. They are also probably paying for your education, and want to make sure you are studying something that is worth the money invested.

At the same time, many parents are not aware of all of the majors and career possibilities that exist today. It wasn’t too long ago that people went to college to become a doctor, a lawyer, or a teacher. Some parents still hold these careers on a pedestal as the only opportunities available. Today, there are tons of college majors and career programs.

If you tell your parents you are majoring in comparative literature, they might think “What is that? And what do you think you’re going to do with it?”

You need to build up a case for yourself. Sit down and think about why it is that you are in the academic program that you are. What do you love about your major? What career path do you want to pursue, and how will this major help you achieve that?

Educate your parents about what it is you want to do. Discuss with them your intended major and career choices in detail. Tell them about the university that you want to go to, why you like it so much, and why it has a great reputation. Tell them about what kinds of classes you will be taking, and the internships and apprenticeship opportunities that will be available.

Explain to them what career you want to pursue. This may not be a career they are familiar with, so explain to them why you enjoy this career so much and why you are choosing it. Explain how this academic program will help you get a job in this career field. Explain what the costs are associated with your program. This will make it seem like you are knowledgeable about your career aspirations, and not just pursuing a random career.

Be sure to tell your parents how passionate you are about this subject. Tell them about what you do to advance your knowledge in your spare time. Tell them about clubs related to your career you have joined. Talk to them about any blogs or social media you have started related to your work. If you are not involved in these sorts of activities yet, ask them for advice on ways you can start getting involved. Make it clear to them that this is a career path that you love and enjoy. Your parents will appreciate how committed you are.

It is important to be confident in your own decisions. Respect yourself enough to be proud of the decisions that you make. My guess is that you have come to this article because, at some level, you are feeling not very confident about the choices you have made and you want your parents to approve of your choices. But it is just the opposite: when people see how confident you are, how much you love what you do, then they will be happy to support you.

At the end of the day, your parents truly want what is best for you. They might give you a hard time and nag you about a lot of things, including your major and getting good grades. But when you walk across that stage at graduation, they will be incredibly proud of you — no matter what career you decide to pursue.

About The Author

Elizabeth Witbeck

Elizabeth Witbeck works as a college consultant and educational entrepreneur. She launched the first business in the United States that sends care packages to first generation college students, and also helps prospective college students on their applications. Her interests include education, poverty, and working with youth.

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