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Let children find their own path

Popularity 10Viewed 3627 times 2015-7-13 08:55 |System category:News| children, starting, gaokao, college, choice

IN late June, nearly 9 million high school graduates nationwide were informed of their gaokao scores, or the final results of the National College Entrance Examination, and began filling out their college applications with high expectations for starting a brand-new school life.


However, many of them have not been as happy as they should have been since most of them have no choice as to which school they will go to or even what major they will be assigned.


According to a news story by Xi’an Evening News of Shaanxi Province, a girl named Lin Lin got her gaokao score on June 25, higher than the cutting score. She was delighted with the score, which would allow her to be admitted to a foreign language studies college, but her parents had divided opinions over what major she should choose: her mother said she should study international trade while her father demanded that she choose finance and economics.


Although the two suggested majors would possibly guarantee Lin Lin a good job in the future, Lin Lin was upset that she had no say in the matter. On one hand, she firmly believed that she should determine her own future by choosing her own major. On the other hand, she didn’t want to hurt her parents’ feelings but couldn’t convince them to trust her as an independent woman who was smart enough to make her own choices.


Actually, Lin Lin’s case is not an isolated one, and my cousin in Shenzhen faced a similar situation. My cousin hardly did anything after he took his gaokao and just played video games all day long. His parents, though, spent a lot of time helping him pick just the right school and major. His mother even called me and asked what major he should choose, but I said he should decide for himself. However, his mother told me that her son had worked so hard in high school that she no longer wanted to bother him. She wanted him to take a break.


Obviously, lots of high school graduates are choosing universities and majors with parental intervention. In recent years, as more and more graduates born after the 1990s go to college, parental fear that their children are too inexperienced to choose their own majors has increased exponentially, so the parents are extending their helping hands. A recent online survey showed that 57 percent of high school graduates made their application decisions with their parents’ help; only 15 percent of them made choices independently.


University and major selection is indeed important and irreversible, which nobody can underestimate, but parents need to realize that their intervention may not be helpful for their children. If parents choose the university and major for their child, the child might not put 100 percent of their effort into a subject they don’t enjoy. As an old proverb says, “No one but the wearer knows where the shoe pinches.” Only the graduates themselves know in their mind what university and major they would like to choose. Examples of children who follow their parents’ advice in the application process but then discover that they don’t like the major at all and lose interest in their studies are not rare.


While parents should not impose their opinions on their children’s choices, parents do have an indispensable obligation to be good guides during the application process. A wise approach would be to give their children advice after taking into consideration their children’s knowledge, learning capacity, attitude and interests. Parents can also get input from education experts or their children’s friends and teachers. Getting advice from numerous sources can prevent the students from leaning too heavily on one biased opinion.


All in all, when it comes to choosing a college and major, no parent can make the decision for their child, but parents still can be a good guide if they do things the right way.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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