I Don’t Want To Go To College But My Parents Want Me To

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read the full disclosure here.

Last Updated on October 23, 2022 by Chris Panteli

I Don’t Want To Go To College But My Parents Want Me To

Young children need their parents to make decisions for them. As children get older they should be equipped to start making decisions for themselves. Parental guidance is often welcomed by most children as they move into adulthood.

However, there are some parents that don’t view their children as autonomous human beings. Instead, regardless of the child’s age, they are forever treated as someone incapable of making decisions. That includes big ones such as deciding on whether to go to college or not.

I don’t want to go to college but my parents want me to” is a common complaint from children with overbearing parents.

Understanding why parents behave this way and techniques to resolve these issues are essential to hopefully maintaining a good relationship even though you aren’t going to college.

What Should I Do If My Parents Are Forcing Me To Go to College?

What Should I Do if My Parents Are Forcing Me To Go to College?

The average cost of college in the United States is $35,720. That’s just for one year!

College shouldn’t be taken lightly. Not only is it expensive, but college courses are meant to be taken seriously by students that want to work in that field.

These are the points that should be focused on when discussing with your parents why you don’t want to go to college. Explain to your parents that you don’t want to be saddled with student debt and take a place away from another student that wants to go.

Why Do Parents Want Their Children To Go to College?

Parents want their children to go to college for a variety of reasons. Many believe it’s the best way to have a financially secure future. By getting a bachelor’s degree it means higher earning potential and more job security. Although there may be some truth to this, a lot depends on the field!

Other parents push their children to higher education as they want to brag about their child’s achievements or live out their own dreams through their children. For example, perhaps they always dreamed of going to law school and pushed this idea onto you from middle school onwards. However, law school is not your thing and you choose a different path instead!

Sometimes a parent may think that going to college after high school is what every high school senior should do regardless of circumstances.

These are some of the main reasons parents insist on kids going to college. Other factors may play a part, but understanding the why can be a big help in explaining why college isn’t right for you.

I Don’t Want To Go To College But My Parents Want Me To

I Don’t Want To Go to College but My Parents Want Me To

Your parents are insisting you must go to college. However, your mind is up that you are not going. What now?

Disputes like this between parents and children may take time to resolve. Hopefully, your parents are able to listen to your point of view and eventually accept it. 

No doubt many of you reading this have parents that are more stubborn in their opinions. In extreme cases, it could even mean the end of your relationship with the parent if you refuse to do what they want.

All you can do is be honest, calm, and patient. When the subject of college comes up, keep stating you don’t want to go. Eventually, your parents will have to accept your decision.

Reasons You May Not Want To Start College

Your reasons for not wanting to go to college will be personal to you. Here is a rundown of common reasons people choose not to go to college.

Didn’t Get Into 1st Choice College

Most students have an idea of which college or colleges they want to attend. It could be colleges that are ideal for a particular field of study. Perhaps you wanted to get into a college in-state to reduce time away from home, or to stay at home.

Not getting accepted into a preferred college is one reason for not pursuing a college education.

Too Much Pressure

Parental pressure to study in a certain field, financial concerns, and being unsure of what subject to major in are all examples of pressures that are too much. A young adult with genuine concerns such as these often decides that college is not for them.

Lacking confidence can also mean it’s difficult to believe you will be successful at college. This means not attending at all is preferable to the pressure of trying to succeed in a college environment. Completing college applications and making college choices can be daunting for an 18-year old.

Student Loan Debt

College expenses including tuition, extracurricular activities, and potentially attending graduate school are a big factor in the choice to attend college.

I Racked Up $146,000 in Student Loan Debt!!

Tap twice to load then open Video...

As a college student, you may be eligible for student financial aid, but even community college can be expensive! Scholarship opportunities may soften the blow in many cases. However, financial pressure can mean the college cost is too much for many. Any that do attend despite high costs may not enjoy the college experience.

Federal student aid in the form of federal loans is an option for some. Federal-aid still means student loans which are more student loan debt!

Private loans for an independent student may also be an option for some. A private student loan is still debt, but maybe a more attractive option depending on interest rates.

Financial aid forms will be available when applying to colleges. Most have a financial aid administrator that can assist with these forms. 

Other Priorities

Finishing high school at 18 and going straight to college for another 4 years isn’t for everyone. Many 18-year-olds want to have other experiences. Some may go to college later in life or not attend at all.

You might want to have a gap year and go traveling. Others may want to get married and start a family. Some may have a business idea they want to try or just have no idea what they want to do.

Whatever your reasons are for not wanting to go to college they are valid. Explain to your parents your reasons for not going and in time they will learn to accept it.

How Do You Tell Parents You Don’t Want To Go to College?

How Do You Tell Parents You Don’t Want To Go to College?

When you turn 18 you are an adult in the eyes of the law. That means you can decide what you want to do with your life, including not going to college.

Discussing your goals, feelings, and plans with a trusted adult is a helpful step. A family member, friend, or guidance counselor can all be supportive.

Make sure you only speak with someone that will keep your plans confidential. It’s important your parents hear about your plans from you first and not a third party!

Tips For Talking To Your Parents About College

Once your mind is made up about not going to college, you need to have that conversation with your parents. Try to arrange a time for the discussion when everyone will be calm and relaxed.

During the conversation, be firm that you are confident of your decision not to attend college. Reassure your parents that you do have a definite plan once you’ve finished high school.

If you plan to attend college when you are older, explain this to them and what you will be doing until then.

Most parents want their kids to be healthy, happy, and successful. Many believe going to college is essential to achieving these aims. Once they know you’ve got a plan and understand your reasons for not going, then most parents will be happy.

Some of you will have parents that won’t accept what you say no matter what. They might scream, cry, threaten, or use other manipulative tactics to change your mind. Remaining calm, firm, and sticking to your reasons is all you can do.

In time, even the most difficult of parents should come around!

Can You Still Be Successful Without College?

A college education doesn’t guarantee success. You could be wildly successful without a college degree. Your work ethic, willingness to try new opportunities and ability to network can all lead to success.

It all depends on what you do instead. By experiencing life, meeting people, and learning new things you can have a successful career.

Alternative Ideas to College

Alternative Ideas to College

OK, you’ve decided you don’t want to go to college and told the parents. What are you going to do instead? Here are some alternative ideas for college.

Trade School or Apprenticeship

Going to trade school can be a much better option for some. If you know exactly what you want to do, then vocational training is much better than a general college course that may involve classes that aren’t relevant to you. Electricians, plumbers, welders, chefs, and many more occupations are always in need.

Trade schools aren’t free but are usually far cheaper than college. On average a year of trade school costs about $9,200 instead of over $35,000 for college! Courses are quicker and you can be in the workforce earning a wage in no time.

Self-Taught Careers

Many careers don’t require a degree. You could use free resources online to teach yourself all kinds of skills. Coding, animation, design, and video editing are examples of careers that self-taught people can do.

Learning in this way is ideal for some people as you can learn at your own pace. It’s also much cheaper! 

Teaching yourself is a great way to show employers how motivated you are. Many courses also provide a certificate of completion which can be useful to boost job prospects. Depending on your chosen career you may only be able to advance so far without a formal qualification. That’s OK! You can always go to college when you are older IF you want to further your career.

Join The Military

By joining the military you will get to travel, learn skills, and build an independent life. The military needs to train people for all kinds of roles – engineering, aviation, human resources, and more are all areas that need to be covered.

Other transferable skills you will learn in the military include team building, communication skills, and discipline. Military personnel may also be eligible for help with college costs or even awarded credits towards college if you wish to use them.

Joining the military isn’t a decision to make lightly. However, for some people, the military is the best route to future success.

Start Your Own Business

Do you have an idea for a business? Perhaps you’ve already started a business whilst in high school and now want to work on it full-time.

You don’t need a college education to start most businesses. Putting in the hard work is often enough to get a business started. You can always find free resources online to learn more about things you don’t know. Marketing, taxes, and basic business skills are all worth learning if you want to be a successful entrepreneur.

A Business Idea - You Can Start Today - Potential Full Time Income

Tap twice to load then open Video...

Seeking career advice from a business insider can be another avenue to business success.

Get An Entry Level Job

Many employers need workers to fill roles that don’t require a college education. You could find an entry-level job in your area and work your way up from there.

Companies often have free in-house training packages for employees. Making the most of these will mean career advancement. Once you’ve got experience, skills, and qualifications behind you, then you could go anywhere!


I don’t want to go to college but my parents want me to, what should I do?

You must speak to your parents and explain you’ve decided not to attend college. As a young person, this conversation may be daunting. Try to stay calm when explaining why you don’t want to go to college. 

Your parents may be disappointed, but once you’ve explained yourself most will be happy for you. Especially if you have a clear plan of what you are going to do instead!

Can parents force their children to go to college?

There are some parents that believe even adult children should do as they’re told. Legally, once a person turns 18 they can decide for themselves. That won’t stop some parents from using manipulative or bullying tactics to persuade you to do what they want.

In these cases seek help from another trusted adult. An older family member or student counselor may be able to help. In extreme cases such as an abusive household seek urgent help from local resources.

I Don’t Want To Go To College But My Parents Want Me To

About The Author


You can win up to 
$83 every win; in 2 minutes!

Win cash totally free or deposit $5 for cash tournaments to multiply your winnings
Cash tournaments not available in  AZ, AR, IA, LA, DE, SC
BINGO CASH: Get Up to $83 Per Win In Minutes 
Scroll to Top