How to tell your parents and supporters about your university decision

Choosing which university to go to is a HUGE and intimidating decision. I had been asked about my university intentions by curious family members since I was in grade 10. I always said that I would probably go to university in my hometown of Ottawa for a journalism program. Eventually, I decided on Ryerson for their Creative Industries program. I just wrapped up my second year of the program and I am so glad that I made the decision to choose Ryerson. However, back in grade 12, I really struggled with telling my parents about my decision to leave home and move five hours away, and I wished I had some more guidance. If you’re finding yourself in a similar situation, here is how you should tell your supporters about your big decision. 


Be honest!

My parents (and my whole extended family) really thought I was going to stay in Ottawa.  They had no idea I was serious about attending Ryerson. I think that if I was more honest about how seriously I was considering Ryerson, it would have made telling them about my final decision a lot easier. I really bamboozled a lot of people with this decision. 

Do it right.

Doing it the “right” way probably means different things depending on your family. I would not recommend telling this news to your parents or supporters over a text message because they deserve better than that. Tell them when you are by yourselves in a private place, maybe in the car or at the dinner table. I told my parents after dinner one night. I was so anxious leading up to it but I know I made the right decision because we were able to discuss it right there. Also, if your parents or supporters are like mine (sorry Mom!) and cries, no one else would be able to see. A tip from personal experience: my younger brother was also at the table and his sarcastic comments did not help the situation, so evaluate if your whole family should be there.

A GIF of Alexis Rose from the television series Schitt's Creek saying

This is definitely how I felt telling my parents that I wanted to go to Ryerson. Giphy.

Discuss the situation and do your research. 

Even though it is ultimately your choice, your university decision does have an effect on your whole family and support system. I was lucky enough to have parents that understood my decision, and had the means that allowed me to pick the university I wanted to attend. It is important to voice concerns about finances and moving away. 


My dad was really concerned about me finding a place to live in downtown Toronto after a year of residence, and we talked about it. My mom didn’t understand why I wasn’t doing journalism after talking about it for years, but I explained to her that in Creative Industries I get to do Journalism and more. My dad also told me he was glad I chose Creative Industries because of the other skills I would learn. It’s important to show your parents and supporters that you made an educated decision, and that this isn’t a random choice. Do your research, share it and have a discussion. At the end of the day, they want what’s best for you and having a civilized discussion shows that you’re serious about your decision. 

Telling your parents or supporters about your university decision can be so scary, especially if it is not what they are expecting. I think I told my friends, my teachers, my coworkers and my guidance counselor before I told my parents that I wanted to go to Ryerson. Don’t be like me! Keep your parents or supporters informed throughout the whole process, and be honest with them. It will be much easier in the long run—trust me. They care about you and want to see you succeed and thrive, whatever that means to you. 



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