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how can I address my family's criticisms of and attitudes about higher education?

  • ethnics -

    I assume you are an older teen, fixing to graduate from high school.

    You have to be respectful of your parents, however, you have to be the captain of your ship. You have to have a plan, and be firm. Sometimes folks fear the unknown, and are reluctant to let go of children. Be respectful of that, but there is a point in your life you have to make your own path.

    Good luck.

  • ethnics -

    Sometimes, the pragmatic side of your parents can win them over. In case you haven't done this already, you should work on the idea that a person's lifetime earnings are usually based on their level of education. Several articles here explain that:
    Charts are often good for parents.

    Another huge factor in having more education than a high school diploma is that college grads often (not always) do a better job of raising their own children; that is, if their children are usually raised in a household of well educated parents, the children will usually do well in school, will have help from their parents if they have difficulties, and will in turn aspire to higher education levels.

    This is not an easy situation to deal with, though, because basically you're dealing with emotions. If there is a full college or university near where you live, that might be a good argument. You could live at home -- at least in your freshman year -- and maybe move to a dorm or apartment after that.

    Remember, the pragmatic side and the emotional side regarding this entire subject are important.

    This is also an interesting website:

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