7 Tips to Convince Parents About Earning a Degree Overseas

When high school senior Andrea Genovese from Switzerland presented his case to his parents for earning a college degree overseas, he says he focused on three main points: traveling, living a new experience and getting out of his comfort zone.

“I explained to them that I wanted to leave my home country for my university experience. Going to university is an experience, therefore I want to remember it and make the most out of it,” Genovese says.

Genovese is looking at schools in locations like London, New York, Boston, Madrid and Milan.

“Studying overseas really opens the world to students in ways that can’t be experienced studying at home,” says Michael Wesley, deputy vice chancellor international at the University of Melbourne in Australia.

[Read: A Checklist for Earning a Degree Abroad.]

Here are seven tips to help the conversation with parents about earning a degree abroad:

— Show seriousness.

— Emphasize academic or career benefits.

— Calculate a budget to present to parents.

— Enlist the help of counselors and teachers to make your case.

— Talk about safety.

— Connect with similar students.

— Include parents in the decision process.

Show Seriousness

Introduce the idea of studying abroad early and research schools and locations, experts say.

“I approached my parents in the sense that I wanted to fully explore my passion, which is political science, and be in an environment that would help me flourish,” says Adrija Das, a Singaporean-Indian and political science major at Clark University in Massachusetts.

Students should make a list of questions that parents will likely raise and then provide those answers, says Sally Rubenstone, senior adviser at College Karma Consulting and a former admission counselor at Smith College in Massachusetts. She says questions may range from selectivity and majors offered to logistical questions like distance from school to airport.

“What will convince parents most is you taking ownership over this process and having something to show for that — your knowledge of yourself, knowledge of the institutions you want to attend and being open about discussing this with your parents,” says Jennifer Ann Aquino, an international educational consultant with offices in Switzerland and Singapore and author of “The International Family Guide to US University Admissions.”

Emphasize Academic or Career Benefits

Students should emphasize that they will receive a quality education that they wouldn’t get at a home country college, experts say.

“There’s also the rich personal and professional opportunities that come from doing internships, joining clubs and societies and undertaking field trips or meeting industry leaders in another cultural setting,” says Wesley.

Rubenstone says students should think about what their parents expect them to get out of their education. “A great job in engineering? Fluency in English? Be sure to explain how this can happen at the overseas college you choose.”

[READ: 3 Types of U.S. Students Who Should Consider Earning a Degree Abroad ]

For data-driven parents, Aquino says, students should get some numbers to support their case and do additional research. “What are recent graduates doing? What are older graduates doing? You can find this on LinkedIn quite easily.”

Calculate a Budget to Present to Parents

Affordability will be a top concern for parents, since they’re likely helping to pay for college. Students may want to consider several options and countries, as the cost of tuition can vary greatly between countries.

“Do the price comparison,” says Aquino. “And, don’t forget to include room and board and expenses, including flights, etc., and currency conversion.”

College costs should also take into consideration availability of scholarships, says Rubenstone. “Facts and figures can help to prove to parents that a student is serious about studying abroad.”

Enlist the Help of Counselors and Teachers to Make Your Case

Counselors and teachers can prove to be great resources as you consider attending college abroad.

“I enlisted the help of my high school counselors as well as an outside personal counselor,” Das says. “They helped suggest universities based on academic performance and my student portfolio.”

Aquino says school counselors will likely have data from a student’s school about other students who have applied or attended specific universities. She says teachers can be helpful, too.

“Do any of your teachers have degrees from the universities you’re looking at? Do their sons/daughters go to one of these universities? Talk to your teachers about their experiences. Share that with your parents,” Aquino says.

Talk About Safety

Many schools have school safety information on their websites, but students should also reaffirm to parents that they can be trusted to make safe decisions, experts say.

“While parents may be fearful about sending their offspring far away, FaceTime, Skype and other forms of electronic communications can make the distance feel smaller,” Rubenstone says.

Most U.S campuses are very safe, she says, “although students enrolled at urban colleges who aren’t accustomed to city settings will have to learn to pay more heed to their surroundings than they are used to doing.”

Experts say parents and students can reach out to schools directly for questions about safety.

[READ: Student Tips: Earning an Undergraduate Degree Abroad.]

“For discerning parents, Australia is safe and has an excellent standard of living. Melbourne was the World’s Most Livable City for seven years running,” Wesley says.

Connect With Similar Students

Schools often have student ambassadors, mentors and alumni who can be great resources.

“I did contact some students at various different universities, and I thought it was a very helpful option as well because these are students who are attending the school and living it day to day,” Genovese says.

Joy Bullen, senior editor at College Confidential, a college admissions website and online community, says that in its website forums, “students can connect anonymously with other students, parents and admissions professionals to ask questions and share candid advice.”

The website’s international students forum covers topics like costs of attending as an international student, what life is like at a certain school and chances of getting admitted.

Include Parents in the Decision Process

Involving parents may help get their blessing for college abroad.

“The best thing you can do is include your parents in the decision-making process, as they’ve been on a lifelong journey with you and know you better than anyone else,” Wesley advises.

He says parents often think of questions that students may not have “that are important to setting up life in another country or just making that shift from high school to university.”

Aquino suggests letting parents know about the preparation for the application process, timeline, letters of recommendation and other related information.

“The more you give them,” she says, “the more they’ll give you, recognizing you’re a young adult taking full control over your own future.”

While Genovese does not think parents should make the decision for a student, he says he welcomes input from his parents.

“My parents are very open and want what’s best for me.”

More from U.S. News

Consider U.S. Career Goals Before Earning a Bachelor’s Degree Overseas

Weigh the Pros, Cons of Earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Europe

Weigh Pros, Cons of Associate Degrees at Arab Region Universities

7 Tips to Convince Parents About Earning a Degree Overseas originally appeared on usnews.com

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