As they grow up, children begin modeling their lives based on parental influence and lean toward their parents’ religious beliefs, political ideologies and behavior. This parent-child link also follows students into college. Whether we choose to admit it or not, our parents have greater influence on our majors than we think.
The University of Georgia is considered a “public Ivy” according to Education Quest. While the University claims on its admission page to not consider parental educational history when admitting students, one must wonder if the claim is supported considering statistics from Harvard, Columbia and other prestigious schools.
Harvard’s class of 2021 survey shows that 17.5 percent of incoming students were legacies. Data from Naviance, a tool used to educate 40 percent of high school students, shows the Ivy League acceptance rate for legacy applications are 31 percent higher than non-legacy students, suggesting a correlation between admittance and alumni child status, according to Inside Higher Ed. For a school with such a competitive admissions rate, legacy shows the value of parental lineage.
Although being a legacy doesn’t guarantee admission or perks for attending, universities value legacy status for monetary donations and community-building, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The socio-economic conditions parents provide a student also factor into major choice. Students from a lower socio-economic status tend to choose more lucrative majors, such as computer science, mathematics, physics or chemistry, according to a study conducted by The Atlantic.
Students from higher-income families, on the other hand, choose less vocational majors such as performing arts, history and English. Should students choose a lucrative major, children from higher income families are more likely to end up in well paying positions, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.
A research article from the College Student Journal indicated several students see their parents as positive influences on their majors. In a time of uncertainty about the future, parents can help students weigh their options and make educated choices. The pressured students typically have parents covering their education expenses for them and feel more obligated to take their benefactors’ advice.
Many grew up hearing their parents’ stories about their careers and develop an interest in their parents’ professions. Katelyn Berger, a sophomore early childhood education major, follows in her mother’s footsteps of becoming an elementary school teacher.
“I chose early childhood education because I grew up seeing my mom interact with and help her students,” Berger said, “I realized that it’s such a fulfilling career, and I can see myself truly enjoying it like her as well.”
Parents have the potential to provide better advice than anyone else. Most have been there to see their children grow up and face triumphs and adversities. For parents who are footing the bill for their child’s college education, they should be allowed to have a say in their investment.
In general, parents can provide wisdom and opportunities in a college student’s major choice and career path. Following their expertise can help students find a fulfilling and profitable career and provide well-needed guidance for the first steps of adulthood. Afterall, our parents are our greatest teachers.