When your parents don't like your college

I need some advice.
I applied and was accepted to UMich LSA. I decided I didn’t want to go there. My dad is being really passive-aggressive about my choice. I told him that I would feel better at a smaller college. Now he’s acting like I’m a lazy bum. He’s ruining what should be an exciting time in my life. Anyone else dealing with this?

Are you instate and what is the other college choice!

At the beginning of quarantine my dad borrowed from his 401K to keep us a float. It was to prevent my parents from defaulting on loans/bills. So it’s not like we have a pile of money as reflected in the totals that they want from checking and saving.

Do finances have anything to do with your dad’s preferences? How much can your parents contribute and what’s the net cost at each school?


You’re the one going to college, your dad is not. He cannot live vicariously through you no matter how hard he tries. Many parents like the idea of “bragging” about where their kid goes to school and may view one school better than the next, but don’t really look at the big picture of what is actually better for their child or what their child is looking for. You didn’t really give enough information, but you need to have a talk with your dad and explain to him why the other school is the better choice for YOU and make sure he hears you. It is not always about the name brand of a school.

I have a kid who attends a large public university, in a top honors program. She could have gone to an Ivy or more prestigious school, but she chose not to. I could care less. She actually asked me if I was disappointed that she didn’t. Not for a second could I be disappointed in her decision. I know my kids and this is about them, not me. Have a heart to heart with him, make sure he knows what you’re thinking and why.

Good luck and you can rock it!


Where do you want to go? And why do you want to go there?

I am going to respond like a dad with a 12th grade daughter, because I am one. IMO, a dad should allow his senior to drive the college selection process - unless parent input is needed.

  1. Are you failing to select the best school - strongest academically and reasonable fit
  2. Are you selecting a college that is affordable for your parents

Assuming you are selecting, the strongest academic school that is a fit, and it is affordable - I would allow you to make your own choice. If I felt that was not the case, I would not be passive aggressive. The college selection process would just become more collaborative.


I’m going to respond like a parent with a 12th grader, because I have one. And I’ve had two older ones, also. Plus I was once a kid selecting my college.

I think that turning down U Mich Ann Arbor for Hope college is a huge mistake. An enormous mistake. Talk to other adults, besides your father. Talk to trusted teachers at your school. Talk to adults in every walk of life whom you respect.

PLEASE don’t worry about getting lost at a big school. Honestly, you are more likely to find that right group of people with whom you connect at a larger school than at a small one, just because of the enormous number of people there. From your previous posts, it appears that you are seeking a conservative Christian community. There will be a Christian club at Ann Arbor. There will be a young Republican club. There will be other people like you there - you just have to follow your interests, to find them. There will also be many, many academic opportunities at Ann Arbor, because of its size and its excellence. It’s one of the top universities in the country! You will have SO many more options at Ann Arbor! Plus you will meet your intellectual peers there - people who will challenge you, who will make you THINK. You are likely to experience more personal growth at Ann Arbor for all these reasons, and more.

You are not a lazy bum. You are a very high-achieving, obviously intelligent person. Go to the school where you’re going to be with other people who match you in intelligence, achievement, and ability. That is U Mich Ann Arbor, not Hope college.


@parentologist: Great post !

College/university is a time for growth.

Often repeated: “You can make a large school small, but you cannot make a small school large.”

Also, sometimes parents get it right.

P.S. OP: Is it a matter of COA (cost-of-attendance) with respect to your father’s objections ? If so, then there may be an alternative that can satisfy both of you.

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Congrats on getting accepted EA! If you are in state it would be hard to pass up going to the University of Michigan. To go to one of the top universities in the country for 32k - I don’t blame your Dad for being a little disappointed. I would write up some pros & cons for both schools & present them to your Dad. If you make good arguments & financial and academic sense - he may understand better. Or maybe you will end up changing your mind after making your list. Whatever happens I am sure you will make the best decision for you. Good luck!


If you’re looking for a conservative Christian community, a top smaller school is absolutely not the move. Also I’m assuming Umich is pretty liberal but it’s still in Michigan there will be lots of people like you

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