Home » Ask the Therapist » Parenting » How To Deal With Parental Pressure To Choose a Major?

How To Deal With Parental Pressure To Choose a Major?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

Hi, my name is Almendra I am a 19 year old, I am a student, currently I am studying french, I finished high school in 2009,and I could not decided what career to follow. I was told that after leaving high school I will move to a different country that is why I never got the idea of living here, and never care about my grades in high school, I know that I was a bad student and I regret about the choices I made. So After leaving high school I spend one year trying to get a scholarship or moving, but my parents never help me to much to continue my dream,and also they used to tell me; If you move out what are you going to study, and I did not know what to answered. First I was dreaming of study fashion , art or architecture. but after one year trying to fulfill my dream I decide to stay in my town and study business,I know that my dad would be so happy with me studying that, however I used to go everyday to the classes and cry and beg for leaving and was constantly asking myself: Why I am here ? so I study management for one year and quit, my dad does not know that I have quit,however, my mom does,I am scare to tell my dad, because he once told me that if I ever decided to change my studies he would take everything away from me. Now Is a new year and I am starting to prepare for another school this time I decided to study Communication media, I would love to be a fashion magazine writer and I like English, and I know Spanish and a little bit of french, Although I am still thinking of moving to London or New York. The only thing I do not wanna do Is to make another mistake and to think about what everybody says: you are gonna lose another year of your life.All my friends told me that I should do study something that makes me happy, the problem is that I don’t know what makes me happy.

How To Deal With Parental Pressure To Choose a Major?

Answered by on -


It is difficult to know what you want to do for the rest of your life at the age of 19. I don’t expect that many people actually know, even if they say they do know.

I have worked with many students who are in your situation. They feel pressure from their parents, peers and society to quickly choose a major. They do not like the ambiguity of not knowing. Ambiguity is discomforting and anxiety-producing. The unfortunate result for many people is that they prematurely choose a major that they later regret. You want to avoid that outcome.

I would recommend taking some time to properly explore your interests. There are several ways to do this. Listed below are some ideas for you to consider.

Visit your college career center. Most universities have great career exploration and preparation centers. At the centers, you may have access to self-assessment tools or tests that can help to determine your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, etc. In addition, many of the centers offer access to internship opportunities, job shadowing programs, career preparation practice, and so forth. Many students find these services highly valuable.

Job shadowing. Spending time with individuals who are working in the field that you are considering could provide valuable insight for you to use in your decision-making.

Internships/volunteer work. Internships or volunteer work are great ways to gain hands-on experience doing a job that you are considering as a career. In addition, they also can provide invaluable networking opportunities that could assist you in getting a job after graduation.

Reading the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH). The OOH is a great resource that provides an in-depth level of detail regarding careers. It provides information regarding salary, working conditions and much more. The OOH can be found online here and is published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Other ideas include, taking a variety of classes that would expose you to new and different subjects and talking to your faculty advisor. Reviewing the help wanted ads on websites such as or can help you to gauge what skills employers are looking for. All of the aforementioned experiences and ideas can assist you in your decision-making.

With regard to your parents, be honest with them about your concerns. Inform them that you want to take the necessary time to explore your options.

Consider my suggestions above. Don’t feel pressure to make a final decision at this time. It takes time to gather all of the information needed to choose the right major and career. To rush that decision would be a mistake.

I wish you the best of luck. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

How To Deal With Parental Pressure To Choose a Major?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2020). How To Deal With Parental Pressure To Choose a Major?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 3 May 2020 (Originally: 30 Jan 2012)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 3 May 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.