Andrea Harrn Counselling Services

Choosing a university course. Do parents know best?

Mum and daughter chat

Mum and daughter chat

Choosing a course to study at university is a big decision these days.  Especially now the fees are so high and jobs are not so easy to find.  Some teenagers are very clear about what they want to study.  They know what they love and they can already see themselves as a teacher, an engineer or a doctor.  For others it is quite confusing.

Most parents mean well in trying to help but it is important to let your teenager follow their own dreams and aspirations.

Recently I have been hearing a similar story in my therapy room.

“I listened to my parents advice when I went to uni”

” I hated my course”

“I don’t like my job and I still don’t know what to do”

“I knew after  6 months that I was on the wrong course but thought I should stick it out and get the degree.  I didn’t want to let my parents down.”

“I already owe a fortune in student loans,  I have wasted 3 years studying a subject I hate”

Was it wasted time?   What could that person have done differently?

If you are a parent helping your teenager to decide you will  quite understandably be concerned that they make a sensible choice.  If they are borrowing thousands of pounds you will not want to see them in debt for years to come.  You will want them to choose a course that will lead to a job or be more likely to be suited to employment.  How much will you try to influence them in their choice?  It is really important to listen carefully to what your teenager thinks and feels and guide them sensibly towards their own dreams and aspirations.

If you are a teenager and unclear about what to do you will probably listen to others and their opinions etc.  We are taught to respect our parents and of course “adults know best” and lets face it our parents have been around a lot longer than we have so do have more experience about life.

So here are a few guidelines:

1     Think about what you really love doing, what fires you, what is your passion.  What are you really good at?  Where do your talents lie?

2    Have a look online or talk to your career advisor about possible jobs that will involve the above.

3    Your first degree may not lead to a specific career but most good degrees will give you an opening to further studying or training

4   If there is a degree that will lead you more directly to a career that fits with the above go for it!

5    Speak to people already doing what you want to do.  Ask them for the best route.  People are usually very happy to give advice and help.

It may be that after careful consideration university will not be the right choice for you.  There are so many other options and training routes available to you.  Or perhaps you can find a job now and decide later, in a few years time.  What’s the rush?

It is important to follow your own path in life, not be influenced too much by others or take on board judgments about your decisions.  You are an adult, capable of making up your own mind.

Stand up for what you believe in and have faith in  yourself.

Good luck and please leave me any comments or questions.






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One thought on “Choosing a university course. Do parents know best?

  1. Deanna Seeff

    Hi Andrea, I totally agree with your thoughts. This is exactly, the stories I hear.
    Besides, many young people mature at different levels and at different age brackets. However when being pressurised it might invariably lead to unhappiness and chronic anxiety.


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