When high school student Andrea Genovese from Switzerland presented his case to his parents for a university degree abroad, he said he focused on three main points: traveling, having a new experience and getting out of his home zone. comfort.
“I explained to them that I wanted to leave my home country for my university experience. Going to university is an experience, so I want to remember it and make the most of it,” says Genovese.
Genovese is looking for schools in places like London, New York, Boston, Madrid and Milan.
“Studying abroad really opens up the world for students in a way that cannot be experienced by studying at home,” said Michael Wesley, Assistant International Vice Chancellor at the University of Melbourne in Australia.
Here are seven tips to make the conversation with parents about getting a degree abroad easier:
- Be serious.
- Emphasize academic or professional benefits.
- Calculate a budget to present to parents.
- Enlist the help of counselors and teachers to advocate for your cause.
- Talk about security.
- Connect with similar students.
- Include parents in the decision-making process.
Introduce the idea of studying abroad early and researching schools and places, experts say.
“I approached my parents in the sense that I wanted to fully explore my passion, which is political science, and be in an environment that would help me to flourish,” says Adrija Das, Singaporean-Indian and major in science policies at Clark University in Massachusetts.
Students should make a list of questions parents are likely to ask and then provide those answers, says Sally Rubenstone, senior advisor at College Karma Consulting and former admissions advisor at Smith College in Massachusetts. She says questions can range from selectivity and majors offered to logistical issues like the distance between the school and the airport.
“What will convince parents the most is that you take ownership of this process and have something to show for it – your knowledge of yourself, your knowledge of the institutions you want to attend and your openness to discuss them. with your parents, ”says Jennifer Ann Aquino, international education consultant with offices in Switzerland and Singapore and author of“ The International Family Guide to US University Admissions ”.
Focus on academic or career benefits
Students should stress that they will receive a quality education that they would not have at a college in their home country, experts say.
“There are also the rich personal and professional opportunities that come from doing internships, joining clubs and societies and undertaking field trips or meeting industry leaders in another cultural setting,” Wesley said.
Rubenstone says students should think about what their parents want from their education. “A great job in engineering? English proficiency ? Be sure to explain how this can happen at the foreign college you choose. “
For data-driven parents, Aquino says, students should get numbers to back up their case and do some additional research. “What are recent graduates doing? What are older graduates doing? You can find it quite easily on LinkedIn. “
Calculate a budget to present to parents
Affordability will be a major concern for parents, as they are likely to help pay for college education. Students may consider multiple options and countries, as tuition fees can vary widely from country to country.
“Do the price comparison,” Aquino says. “And, don’t forget to include room and board and expenses, including flights, etc., and currency conversion.”
College costs should also factor in scholarship availability, Rubenstone explains. “Facts and figures can help prove to parents that a student is seriously considering studying abroad.”
Enlist the help of counselors and teachers to advocate for your cause
Counselors and teachers can be great resources when considering attending college abroad.
“I enlisted the help of my high school counselors as well as an outside personal counselor,” Das said. “They helped me suggest universities based on academic performance and my student portfolio.”
Aquino says school counselors will likely have data from a student’s school on other students who have applied for or attended specific universities. She says teachers can be helpful too.
“Are any of your professors graduated from the universities you are considering? Do their sons / daughters attend any of these universities? Talk to your professors about their experiences. Share this with your parents,” Aquino says. .
Talk about security
Many schools have information about school safety on their websites, but students also need to reassure parents that they can be trusted to make safe decisions, experts say.
“While parents may fear sending their offspring away, FaceTime, Skype and other forms of electronic communication can reduce the distance,” says Rubenstone.
Most American campuses are very safe, she says, “although students enrolled in urban colleges who are not used to urban environments will need to learn to pay more attention to their surroundings than they are used to. ‘habit.”
Experts say parents and students can contact schools directly with questions about safety.
“Australia is safe and has an excellent standard of living for discerning parents. Melbourne has been the most livable city in the world for seven consecutive years,” said Wesley.
Connect with similar students
Schools often have student ambassadors, mentors and alumni who can be great resources.
“I contacted students from different universities and I thought that was also a very useful option because these are students who go to school and live it day by day,” says Genovese.
Joy Bullen, editor-in-chief of College Confidential, a college admissions website and online community, states that in her website forums, “students can connect anonymously with other students, parents and admissions professionals to ask questions and share sincere advice. “
The website’s international student forum covers topics such as tuition fees as an international student, life at a certain school, and chances of admission.
Include parents in the decision-making process
Involving parents can help secure their blessing for college abroad.
“The best thing you can do is include your parents in the decision-making process because they’ve been on a long journey with you and know you better than anyone,” advises Wesley.
He says parents often think of issues students may not have “that are important for moving to another country or just getting from high school to college.”
Aquino suggests informing parents about the preparation of the application process, timeline, letters of recommendation and other related information.
“The more you give to them,” she says, “the more they will give to you, recognizing that you are a young adult taking full control of your own future.”
While Genovese doesn’t think parents should make the decision for a student, he says he welcomes his parents’ comments.
“My parents are very open and want the best for me.”