I Want to Go to College: How to Break the News to Your Skeptical Significant Other

I Want to Go to College

You’ve dreamed of going back to school for years, but the timing has never seemed right. There’s your current job to contend with, not to mention all the kids’ activities. And you’d like to still be able to meet your friends for a happy hour once in a while. Besides, college sounds expensive.

In spite of all these roadblocks keeping you from earning your degree, you can’t get the thought of going to college out of your mind. You know your dream job is out there. You’re ready to go after it, and you know the first step is enrolling in a degree program.

There’s just one problem: How will you break the news to your significant other?

The reasons that have kept you from pursing an education are probably the same objections he or she may have. You may be nervous to bring up the conversation, so take a look at these tips from students who have been in your shoes. With a little preparation, you’ll be able to proudly say, “I want to go to college!” without worrying about a skeptical significant other.

Think through your decision

When Eden Fried first told her partner she wanted to go to law school, he was afraid she’d made a rash decision and hadn’t thought through all her options. “He spewed questions at me endlessly to make sure I’d really thought it through,” Fried says. “He just expressed his concern that I wasn’t thinking rationally.”

This isn’t a conversation to jump into lightly. Your best chance at convincing a skeptical significant other that college is right for you is to show them that you’ve put plenty of time and thought into your decision. Once they see how committed you are to furthering your education, they’ll be more likely to work with you to overcome other obstacles.

Crunch the numbers

When your significant other hears the word “college,” the first thing they may see in their mind is a steadily decreasing bank account. How you’ll pay for your degree will likely be a main concern of your significant other, so it’s best to come prepared with options for overcoming the financial burden.

A college education isn’t a minor investment, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Kerri Gois, marketing manager at BroadbandSearch, had to convince her husband they’d be able to afford her MBA in marketing.

“He thought it was best I waited to find a job that would pay for my Master’s,” Gois explains. But she knew it was now or never. She saved as much as she could and worked together with her husband to make sure her monthly loan payments would fit into their budget without becoming a burden.

Whether you qualify for scholarships or have to pay for your degree on your own, working together with your significant other is the best way to ensure a budget you both agree on.

Explore flexible programs

If you’re already working a full-time job, your partner may be worried that pursing a degree will leave you with little to no time for your family. This shouldn’t just be a concern for your significant other—if you don’t leave time for family in your schedule, you may end up burned out and stressed.

Luckily, there are plenty of flexible degree options to choose from. “I elected to do an online program so that I did not have to sacrifice a significant amount of time away from my husband,” Gois says. Online programs and other flexible learning formats, like Rasmussen College’s Flex Choice options, put you in control of your learning environment so you can manage your workload and balance your education with the rest of your life.

Give your partner time to think

You may want to get this nerve-wracking conversation over as quickly as possible, but your partner will likely need time to process your decision. “While you may have been thinking about the idea for a long time, it’s still news to them,” Fried says.

Start the discussion, listen to your partner’s concerns and give them any information they may need to help them understand and accept your decision to go to college. “Be open-minded to conversations to help them understand where you’re coming from and avoid defensive rhetoric,” Fried says. “Remember that you’re on the same team.”

Keep the lines of communication open

The conversation doesn’t end when your partner agrees that going to college is the right move for you. There will be plenty of future discussions to make sure you’re both comfortable with the amount of time and money you’re spending on your degree. The last thing you want is to graduate with a diploma in hand and a resentful significant other.

“You need to keep open lines of communication with your significant other about time commitments and finances,” Gois advises. “In the end, furthering your education will benefit both people.”

Your education is waiting for you

It’s easy to continue putting off college, but a year from now, you’ll wish you’d started today. “If it is something you really want, then you need go for it,” Gois says.

If you’re ready to stand up and say “I want to go to college!” take a look at these College Success Stories: 5 Students Like You Who Made It Through. Who knows—the next success story could be yours.


Ashley Brooks

Ashley is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. She believes in the power of words and knowledge and enjoys using both to encourage others on their learning journeys

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