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My son wants to go to one school and I want him to go to another. How do we make the decision?

May 23, 2014

By YOU Program Facilitator

A group of middle school kids walk to school on a city street.

Question: My oldest child will be starting high school in the fall. He wants to become a scientist and wants to attend a specific high school for their well-regarded science program and strong reputation for research. However, the school is in a neighborhood that is a bit unsafe and inconvenient, so I’d rather he went to a nearby school. This other school doesn’t have as strong of a science program, though. What should I do?

Answer: It’s wonderful that your son knows what career he wants to go into at such a young age, and even better that he has researched the best options for his education. To be so devoted to his academic and professional career is a very unique quality, especially at his age.

It also can be very difficult to juggle just one child’s schedule, let alone multiple, and we understand that having your son at a nearby school is much more convenient for your family.

Think about how much further your son will go in his career if he starts studying at a school that caters to his career goals now. Talk to the school counselor to see if that school’s program will help him get into a better college that caters to his career choice.

Now think about what will happen if you insist that your son goes to the nearby school that doesn’t cater to his strengths and career goals. Will he resent you? Will he work as hard in a program that doesn’t develop his interests? Will he be challenged at this school?

Only you and your son can answer those questions and make the decision, so it’s important to ask yourself what will happen in each scenario. Are there compromises that both of you can make in each scenario?

Finally, regarding the unsafe neighborhood, remember that there is danger everywhere, even in safe neighborhoods. If the danger is a very strong concern for you, voice your concerns with the school administration. How do they address the danger? Use the school as a resource to help you and your son make the decision.

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