If you go to college, statistics show your children and even their children are more likely to go.
Families with higher levels of education tend to have a better standard of living. Plus, higher education enables you to help your family. With more earning potential, you can give back to your parents, help your siblings and more. There are so many reasons to go.
So, if you come from a family of college-goers, keep it up. And if you're the first in your family to consider college, tell everyone, "I'm going."
Fast Fact: More education for you can mean your children will be better prepared for school.
Talking to Your Family: Make Your Case
Are you afraid your family might have concerns when you tell them you want to continue your education? That's totally natural. Here are some ideas to help make talking to them easier:
Do your research. Explain how college or other postsecondary education will benefit you and possibly the whole family. You can find facts to back that up on this site. If you have already started looking into schools or financial aid, share what you've learned.
Plan your pitch. Don't just go in cold. Make an outline so you don't forget anything you want to say.
Anticipate their concerns. Just because they have concerns doesn't mean you can't convince them. To do that, be ready to respond to their objections calmly and politely with facts that ease their fears. The Why They Should Go page in the Parents/Family section of this site lists common concerns families can have, followed by responses that make those concerns seem more manageable. Study this list so you'll be prepared to respond to their worries. Or show them the list online. Knowing that other families had similar first reactions may make it easier for your family to let go of their concerns.
Practice first. If you're feeling really nervous, rehearse what you are going to say ahead of time. It can really help you feel more confident. You can even role-play. Ask a friend to play the part of the family member you will be talking to.
Promise to do your part. Pledge to hold up your end of the bargain. Promise them that their efforts to help you will be worth it. That means you'll apply yourself in school. You'll share with them all information about applications, tests and deadlines. You'll research schools. You'll participate in activities that will enhance your college resume. Then keep your word and follow through.
Stay positive. If you're lucky, things will go great and your family will be on board immediately. But if they don't see things your way, hang in there. They may come around eventually. If not, there are tips you can use to deal with an unsupportive family. You'll find them by scrolling down to the last section of this page.
Prepare to be surprised. They may not react negatively at all. They may be thrilled and offer more help than you ever expected. The only way to find out is to tell them.
Family Need Help Helping You? Point Out Resources
If your family supports your college dreams, but they don't know what they can do, you can help them help you:
Take them to school. Bring your parents to meet your high school counselor. Explain to your counselor that your family needs help helping you go to college. Together, you can create a plan outlining the steps everyone should take.
Visit the library. Your local public library will have lots of good information for you and your family. Ask a librarian if you need help finding it.
Lead them online. The Internet is a great source of college information. Here are some sites that can help your family learn what they can do to help:
college.gov's info for parents/family page. It lists useful links and tips to help your parents and family members use this site to help you.
Student Aid on the Web. Your source for free information from the U.S. Department of Education on preparing for and funding education beyond high school.
FAFSA Web site. This is where you'll apply for federal student aid as a high school senior. Your parents can learn what kind of information they'll need to provide, and learn about the process, so they can help you through it.
"The best part of going to college is that my sisters look up to me and know that they have the option to continue their education as well."
Your "I'm going" guide Edith,
University of Texas
Family Unsupportive? Try These Tips
Even after you explain the benefits, your family may not understand why you want to continue your education.
Maybe they don't believe it's possible financially. Maybe they don't understand how important it is to you. Don't give up hope. Try these tips:
Find mentors. Tell your high school counselor and your favorite teachers that you want to continue your education. Ask for their guidance, help and support. Having one or two key people on your side can make all the difference.
Enlist an advocate. Find an adult to talk to your family on your behalf. It could be someone from your place of worship. It could be a family friend. It could be your high school mentor. Hearing it from another adult they trust can help your family understand how important going is, for all of you.
Be committed. Form a plan to go as soon as possible, and stick to it. When your family sees how determined you are, they may come around. If not, at least you will have started on the path to get there yourself.
Think long term. If you don't go to college with your family's support, you can still go. If you can't go right after high school, you can still go later. Many people do. Stay focused and you can do it.