Got parent problems? We get it. You’ve done your research, you know technical school is your best path to a hands-on career you are passionate about it—you’ve made your decision… but your parents don’t see it that way.
Don’t worry: You’re not alone.
We talk to plenty of tech grads whose parents were once pressuring them to pick a traditional four-year college, but they decided to have those tough conversations to get their parents on board and get into tech school and launch their dream careers.Wondering how?
If you approach the conversation the right way, you can make peace with your parents and secure their support. Here’s how to talk to your parents about going to technical school and win them over to your side:
Help Them See Your Future After Tech School
Your parents want what’s best for you, but they just might not understand how bright the future really is for tech college grads.
By doing a little research, you can open their eyes to the possibilities. And there’s plenty on the horizon to wake them up.
For instance, did you know retiring baby boomers are expected to leave 30 million jobs unfilled in the skilled labor workforce? That means higher job security and a better chance of being hired fresh out of tech school.
In the future, experts expect jobs that require tech school knowledge to flood the market—but without requiring long, and expensive, traditional four-year degrees. According to Georgetown University, total employment is expected to increase by almost 24 million over 10 years, from 141 million in 2010 to 165 million by 2020. Only 35 percent of those job openings will require a traditional bachelor’s degree or more schooling.
What do these stats mean for your future? Simply put, there’s a big opportunity to jump into the workforce and start earning while your friends still have years left sitting in classrooms.
Discuss the Bigger Picture Behind Your Decision
We get it: The closer you get to high school graduation, the sooner you want school to be done already. But complaining about classes won’t get you far with your parents' support.
They want to see you’ve planned your next steps. Show them how your choice to go to tech school is based on the bigger picture, and on the homework you’ve done.
Tech School = Less Debt and a Faster Start to Your Career
What’s that big picture look like? For tech school grads, it includes a lot less debt and more financial freedom than traditional four-year grads.
You’ve probably had siblings or friends graduate from a four-year college with a big chunk of student loan debt. That means when they get a job, they’re starting out in the hole financially.
And that’s a deep hole. The average graduate in the Class of 2018 left college with $29,800 in debt. And even worse, the average length of time to pay off a student loan between $20,000 and $40,000 is 20 years, according to the Department of Education.
Furthermore, traditional college grads are running into an increasingly competitive market. That makes it harder to dig out of that financial hole or actually use those expensive degrees.
Because tech schools are focused and take less time to complete, you’re at a financial advantage from the start. This is something your parents should understand and appreciate.
Show them this bright reality: You’ll be done with school sooner and earning right away. That means you’ll be starting your career before your friends—with more money to spare.
Explain Why Tech School Is a Better Fit
Here’s a fact your parents will definitely understand: No two people are the same. Some people enjoy spending their days in the library or a big lecture hall; others are attracted to hands-on work and problem-solving. Let your parents know why tech school is a better fit for you.
It’s also worth letting them know that you’re not alone. Much of the next generation is turning to trade schools, apprenticeships, and tech schools as a path to careers that make a lot of sense.
When you sit down to talk about college, don’t just complain about the things you don’t like at school. Tell your parents what you enjoy, and where your passion lies.
Do you like working with your hands? Are you interested in helping solve problems or fascinated by the way complex machines work? Let your parents know. The more you explain the “why” behind your decision, the more likely they’ll be to understand your point of view.
Understand Your Parents’ Intentions
It’s important to remember that your parents aren’t being bullies. They want what’s best for you. So when they push for a traditional four-year college, they think it’s the safest option.
That’s why, if you want them on your side, you must help them see what you’re seeing. Explain why tech school is the best fit for your future.
Whether it’s long-term costs, more active learning, the access you gain to exciting careers, or a combination of factors, there are plenty of great reasons to go to a tech college. Help your parents see how tech school is the best route to the future you want for yourself.
Show Them You Have a Plan
These tips should help you get the conversation about tech school moving in the right direction. But maybe the best way to show your parents you have a handle on your future is to reveal that you are serious about this, and you’ve mapped out a plan. Are you curious about how you can become a better learner? Take this quick learning assessment quiz to find out your dominant learning style.