How to Convince Parents to Support International College Ambitions Over IIT Backup?

I aspire to study internationally, particularly at MIT or Ivy League schools, but my parents insist on IIT as a backup. They want me to prepare for international colleges while also joining coaching for IIT as a safety net in case things don’t work out.

Currently in 10th grade, I have excellent grades and a strong portfolio, including internships and extracurriculars, making me a good candidate for top international colleges. I am more interested in research rather than the rote learning emphasized at coaching centers like Allen or FIITJEE.

My parents, though educated, are influenced by the success of my IIT-graduate cousins on my mom’s side. They insist I need an Indian college backup, specifically IIT, despite acknowledging the differences in the education systems. I suggested Tier-2 international colleges as my backup, but they remain firm on IIT.

How can I convince them to support my international ambitions without the added pressure of IIT coaching? This debate is a daily occurrence in our household.

Hey there! Congrats on having such a solid academic record and portfolio at such a young age! Balancing dreams of studying abroad with family expectations can be tricky. Here’s a straightforward approach you might consider to address this debate with your parents:

  1. Understand Their Concerns: Your parents want the best for you and see IIT as a prestigious and reliable backup. They might be worried about the risks involved in aiming solely for international colleges. They want to make sure you have a safety net in case things don’t go as planned.
  2. Explain Your Passion: Make it clear why you’re more interested in research and how MIT/Ivy Leagues align with your career goals better than IIT. Highlight specific programs, research opportunities, and the overall academic environment that attract you to these schools. For example, you could point out how MIT’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) allows students to work on cutting-edge research projects, something that aligns with your interests.
  3. Show Them the Numbers: Research and present statistics about admission rates, success stories, and the potential career outcomes of graduates from Tier-1 international colleges compared to IITs. This might help them see the tangible benefits of aiming for your preferred path. For instance, graduates from Ivy League schools often have high starting salaries and significant networking opportunities that can lead to global career prospects.
  4. Backup Plan: While you don’t want to focus on IIT, propose a realistic and acceptable backup plan that might include top Indian colleges like IISc or other reputable institutions that aren’t solely IIT. Explain that having a diverse range of options can provide a safety net without solely relying on IIT.
  5. Seek External Advice: Sometimes, advice from a third party like a school counselor or a professional educational consultant can help bridge the gap. They can provide an unbiased perspective on the feasibility and benefits of your plan. This external validation can help reassure your parents about your choices.
  6. Hybrid Approach: Maybe you can find a middle ground where you prepare for international colleges while keeping minimal focus on IIT just enough to keep it as a valid backup without getting overwhelmed. For example, you could allocate some time each week to IIT coaching without letting it dominate your schedule.

Remember, this is a crucial conversation about your future, and maintaining open, honest, and respectful communication with your parents is key. Good luck, and I hope you can find a path that satisfies both your aspirations and your parents’ concerns!