Explaining to Dad

<p>First, I feel like I should explain that I'm not here to ask for help in dealing with an overprotective, overly controlling, or unreasonable parent. I do, though, need some advice on how to talk to my dad about the rest of my college career.</p>

<p>My dad and I are both over-planners and research things to death (something I'm sure a lot of folks here at CC know all too well). So far, I've taken his advice - for instance, I chose German over Russian as a foreign language since he found it's better for graduate studies in history. But I'm starting to notice that we're coming up with very different plans and future, and I'm worrying that I'll wind up regretting taking that advice. Again, for instance, I really wish I had taken Russian just because I have much more interest in the culture and history, and my college has one of the best Russian programs in the country. </p>

<p>However, more pressing is that he's brought up that he'd like for me to graduate in three years, since I could use the money for grad school instead of for the last two semesters. (We're paying full price for college, or rather, my parents are generous and lucky enough to still be able to afford the school after I got zero financial aide). This would mean I couldn't study abroad - something I've been looking forward to for years - and only take essential classes for my major and minor. It would also mean leaving a school I've come to love and all my friends. It is entirely possible to take all these classes in three years though.</p>

<p>I don't feel like I'm in a position to tell him "No, I don't want to do it", because he's not being unreasonable and my folks are paying 100%. I was wondering, being parents yourselves, if you could suggest some way I could talk to my dad about this without seeming or feeling ungrateful.</p>

<p>Thanks everybody.</p>

<p>^Which university are you in? I'm not a parent but I see myself being in a very similar situation to you when my college career starts.</p>

<p>I am a big fan of study abroad. See if your school has study abroad over the summer or if you can find some kind of community service abroad during winter/spring breaks (it would be a compromise, but some study abroad is better than none). Also, see if your school has a masters program that would serve as your 4th year and apply to that so you get to see your friends another year at the same school.</p>

<p>I'm at Bryn Mawr - I absolutely love it there.</p>

<p>While my school does have masters programs/graduate-level classes for undergrads to go straight into, there isn't one in the field I want to go into.</p>

<p>Explain to your father that you need the 4th year of college to get things in place for graduate school. If you plan on going to graduate school, you're going to have to:</p>

<ol>
<li> organize and finalize your college resume</li>
<li> request professor recommendations</li>
<li> study for and take the GRE exam</li>
<li> prepare your statement of purpose</li>
<li> research graduate programs and narrow down your list of possible graduate programs</li>
<li> get everything together and apply to graduate programs</li>
<li> set up interviews if requested by the specific department</li>
</ol>

<p>In the meantime, you're going to want to have some undergrad. research under your belt.</p>

<p>It's going to be difficult to complete your undergrad in three years while doing all of the other stuff necessary for the graduate school application process.</p>

<p>Just because your undergrad school offers graduate programs, it doesn't mean that you will be automatically accepted into their grad. program. Often times, graduate programs do not like to accept their undergrad students. They prefer to bring in "new blood" into their grad programs. It helps to enhance the program by bringing in students from outside their own undergrad. program.</p>

<p>You sound very mature. I think I would approach this by telling your dad the 4th year is important to you and suggesting you brainstorm ways for you to contribute to make it possible. 2 jobs summers, a school year job, some loans--take on as much as you can yourself. If my kids showed that willingness I'd get that it was important and meet them half way.</p>

<p>I think that calmly telling him what you told us does not automatically mean that you are "ungrateful". I think it means that you and he are having an honest discussion, an exchange of views, about your future. </p>

<p>If he wishes to compel you to graduate in three years, perhaps there is little that you can do about that. However, it may be that he wants to take your views seriously. Is there any reason to doubt that he has your genuine happiness at heart? By honestly sharing your thoughts, you may be able to bring him over to your point of view. You at least will then have the satisfaction of having made the effort, instead of spending the rest of your life wondering whether or not you could have studied abroad and had a final year at Bryn Mawr.</p>

<p>How would you finance graduate school if you study abroad and return to Bryn Mawr for a fourth year?</p>

<hr>

<p>Are you giving up on Russian?</p>

<p>I'm reading between the lines ... and since I don't have your Dad's side of the story I may have it wrong, so ignore my comments if that's the case.</p>

<p>The easiest argument is that you'll be paying for graduate school ... possibly through a grant, or as a TA, or through loans, etc. But it'll be your responsibility. Your Dad would then not need to save money so he can pay for your graduate school.</p>

<p>The harder argument is that you'll start (this summer) and continue through your senior year to focus on career/job/graduate school, and that you'll do this in a concrete way. Objectively "college year abroad" is a luxury for most, and not necessarily related to academics or career, and as such it is not part of the concrete plan.</p>

<p>I'd imagine that the 4th year would give you extra time for research, which would help with grad school admissions, as well, and the experience abroad, particularly in an area related to your interests, might help your studies as well and make you more informed about what you might be interested in studying for graduate school. Additionally, if you're aiming for a PhD program, most of those would render the cost less of an issue, as you'd be able to get a generous stipend at many PhD programs.</p>

<p>At the end, cost is king, though. That's a great amount of money to save, and you might have the chance to go abroad during graduate school. But these seem like things you could mention to him and perhaps make him change his mind.</p>

<p>As others have said, your dad doesn't have to be the one paying for grad school at all - if you go for a PhD, you'll probably have full funding and a stipend, if not, you can take loans.</p>

<p>The more important point is the one that nysmile made, which I think is worth reinforcing. Forget the logistics of applying - if you're going on to advanced studies in any field, the graduate school will expect you to have a considerable amount of coursework under your belt already. Remember, a lot of people applying to these programs have been out of college for a few years, and may even have advanced degrees. If you apply in your third and final year of college, you'll only be showing the grad school two years of undergrad, some of which will be lower level courses. Indeed, it is actually possible that leaving early will hurt you financially, as if PhD programs don't accept you, you might be looking at having to take an extra year or two to get an MA anyway - and you would almost certainly have to pay for it.</p>

<p>Another option is to take a year or two off after undergrad and work, which could help defray any expenses. As someone who had a very bad grad school admissions experience applying as a college senior and a very good one applying a year later, I would recommend this unless you have a particuarly strong and focused application by the end of your third year, as the fourth year is often crucial in terms of advanced courses and research experiences.</p>

<p>
[quote]
as you'd be able to get a generous stipend at many PhD programs.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>"Generous" os probably an exageration somewhat, especially in history/the humanties, but yes, if you're going for PhD in said fields, it's likely only worth it to go if you are funded.</p>

<p>Why not try to graduate in 3.5 years, start working in a lab Jan 2011, and fall 2011 apply for grad schools? That would give you a year of work, save both of you money. Plus, you would be applying to grad schools while working, and not struggling with finals and and applications at the same time.</p>

<p>As an over-planner, if you're considering graduate school in history (especially European or U.S.), you really need to consider the below articles if you haven't already. A year ago, I thought becoming a history professor was obviously the career for me and what I should pursue above all else. I still think I would be good at it, but there are many things which aren't nearly as over-saturated with qualified individuals that I could also do. Do some serious research and read the Chronicle of Higher Education as much as you can if you have any intention of going to grad school; your college library likely has a subscription to it allowing you free online access (if you search for it under journals on the library website). I was given that advice when I started to consider grad school in the humanities, and I am very glad of it.</p>

<p>So</a> You Want to Go to Grad School? - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education</p>

<p>Just</a> Don't Go, Part 2 - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education</p>

<p>Graduate</a> School in the Humanities: Just Don't Go - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education</p>

<p>Neither</a> a Trap Nor a Lie - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education</p>

<p>The</a> Big Lie About the 'Life of the Mind' - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education</p>

<p>We</a> Need to Acknowledge the Realities of Employment in the Humanities - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education</p>

<p>
[quote]
Explain to your father that you need the 4th year of college to get things in place for graduate school. If you plan on going to graduate school, you're going to have to:</p>

<ol>
<li>organize and finalize your college resume</li>
<li>request professor recommendations</li>
<li>study for and take the GRE exam</li>
<li>prepare your statement of purpose</li>
<li>research graduate programs and narrow down your list of possible graduate programs</li>
<li>get everything together and apply to graduate programs</li>
<li>set up interviews if requested by the specific department</li>
</ol>

<p>In the meantime, you're going to want to have some undergrad. research under your belt.</p>

<p>It's going to be difficult to complete your undergrad in three years while doing all of the other stuff necessary for the graduate school application process.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>What's getting compressed his both this kid's third and fourth year of college, but the discussion REALLY centers on the value of the THIRD year of college. The father's mindset going in to the discussion is 'yep, you'll be doing a lot of things that will be saving 50K, that's the point. </p>

<p>If your college G.P.A. is quite good read on, if not stop right here as it just won't matter. </p>

<p>I think a better approach is to revisit the path chosen with your father, why you chose it (and he supported it) and how that fits into risk/reward for the future. </p>

<p>You've gone down the German language path and now won't be going abroad to study in the German language. Discuss how that can effect proficiency, demonstrated results (e.g. papers) and graduate school admissions. How will your application for grad school stack up against other candidates who have done those things? </p>

<p>Basically, your argument/question is: what is the path that brings success for making sure that the 150K investment (made and to be made) is rewarded and questioning how not spending another 50K might sour the whole deal (for lack of better words). </p>

<p>It's easy to go on the Internet and pull up like students accepted as PH.D. candidates. You'll find many that did their full junior year abroad and also a post-grad year on a Fulbright scholarship. Contact a couple of them and ask whether they think they would have gotten the Fulbright if they hadn't done their junior year abroad. I'm guessing most would say 'heck no.' Then ask them whether they believed that the Fulbright (plus time to do additional research in their area of interest) was helpful in support of their application for a PH.D. ... another likely yes. Show these credentials to your dad. He likely will see this as just what it is, your competition. </p>

<p>Your dad is probably looking at it as though 'I'd like to cut a year off of expenses' and use them for grad school where that 50k might be a very valid way for a full boat ride through grad school. In other words, you pay now, they pay later. </p>

<p>Best of luck.</p>

<p>If you are looking at PhD in History in the future, you should only go into programs that are fully funded. This was discussed in many threads on this forum.
The very top programs in humanities will only take as many grad students as they can fund.
Spending four years at college, taking more in-depth classes (rather than just fulfilling requirements, etc.), and getting to know your professors even better by doing research with them will greatly improve your chances for admissions into fully funded good grad program (and thus save you quite a bit of money).</p>

<p>
[quote]
I really wish I had taken Russian just because I have much more interest in the culture and history, and my college has one of the best Russian programs in the country.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>


</p>

<p>What rarely gets easy and what you can rarely get lucky in is to pick a career that you fundamentally don't truly love. Life is hard enough as it is without having to face a 50+ year career doing something that never truly satisfies. For what it's worth. </p>

<p>Graduate</a> School in the Humanities: Just Don't Go - Advice - The Chronicle of Higher Education</p>

<p>This is a well thought out article about the pitfalls. But to put it in perspective, there are other career tracks that would love to have those odds of success. Not doing what you love because the path is difficult is a poorly considered choice. YMMV.</p>

<p>It's true that difficulty alone shouldn't be a deterrent, but I also have a hard time believing that there's "the one" for careers. I think picking something for reasons other than fulfillment is also a poor idea, but I can think of a few fields in which I believe I could find rewarding work, and which don't entail waiting until I'm 30 before I can begin a career or are shifting from the comfortable tenure-track system to adjunct laborers whom have worse pay and job security than primary/secondary school teachers.</p>

<p>During university, my plans have varied quite a bit over the past three years, but what has been most useful is always following my interests, as if you're doing something that you don't enjoy to prepare yourself for something that you think you will, you'll continually have regrets.</p>

<p>What if you don't go to graduate school in history and German ends up having no more utility than Russian? What if you decide working in international affairs is the right choice and you can no longer qualify for Russian-language positions?</p>

<p>Make the day-to-day choices in line with your interests, and as you look back over those choices your senior year, you'll have some idea about what is right for you, not just what seems appealing.</p>

<p>
[quote]
It's true that difficulty alone shouldn't be a deterrent, but I also have a hard time believing that there's "the one" for careers. I think picking something for reasons other than fulfillment is also a poor idea, but I can think of a few fields in which I believe I could find rewarding work, and which don't entail waiting until I'm 30 before I can begin a career or are shifting from the comfortable tenure-track system to adjunct laborers whom have worse pay and job security than primary/secondary school teachers.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>I would suggest that teaching is the career, NOT the level you obtain within the field. If secondary school teacher is more palatable due to job security concerns, so be it. The end result is that he or she is doing what they love. If indeed someone is chasing financial success, I would suggest that the whole field of academics should be dismissed out-of-hand. </p>

<p>
[quote]
What if you don't go to graduate school in history and German ends up having no more utility than Russian?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Then he is no worse off.</p>

<p>I'm a college professor and a historian. Also a parent.</p>

<p>First, you can still study abroad. There are several scholarships for undergrads sponsored by the German government for study in Germany. Check out these, for a start: Germany</a> Study Abroad Scholarships</p>

<p>Second, I agree with other posters here who have recommended that you remain in college for a fourth year, if you plan on graduate school. Getting in to graduate school with some funding will require the following: 1) Demonstrated ability to do effective research; 2) strong letters of recommendation from faculty well-known in the field; 3) strong gpa; 4) strong GRE scores. I've listed them in priority order. It's really difficult to achieve numbers 1 and 2 when you've only spent 3 years at college, frankly. The opportunity to study abroad can provide you with access to some great primary sources if you plan it right!</p>

<p>Third, ignore the posters who are telling you there are no faculty jobs in history right now. That may be true, but in the end, it doesn't matter. A Ph.D. fluent in German with top-notch communication and reasoning skills will be an interesting candidate for any marketing job in a company that does business abroad. My husband has a Ph.D. in history, and is now an executive in a high-tech firm here in California. Pursue your passion.</p>

<p>Fourth, you can always add Russian later; if you end up teaching history somewhere, you can apply for a Fulbright to study in Russia. Once you've mastered a foreign language like German, it's not that difficult to master another, imo.</p>

<p>My final recommendation, if your Dad is still opposed to all of this, is for you to ask one of your professors to write a letter to your Dad on your behalf. I would do this for a student I believed had great potential. May or may not work, but worth a shot.</p>

<p>OP: Read CalAlum's post again^^^^</p>

<p>Excellent counsel.</p>