Wedding Woes

Leave the $$ and the BF out of it, and make the discussion about what *she* wants for her future.

Dear Prudence,

I am a 28-year-old older sister to a 21-year-old who is currently living with me and has for the past three years. She has been attending community college (which I have gladly been funding) and will be transferring to a university this fall. She’s eligible for an automatic transfer to two highly regarded state schools, one in town, the other a couple of hours away. The school in town is more competitive, and she will more than likely be stuck with a liberal arts degree, which she is not excited about pursuing. The other school would be a more reasonable choice for her because she has a much better shot of pursuing the degree she is actually interested in (engineering) and in a much more supportive environment. The problem is her boyfriend. She met him at her part-time job, and while he’s a nice guy, part of the reason she wants to choose the less desirable of the two school options is because she’d like to stay closer to him. What can I do and how much can I push her to accept the other offer, the one two hours away but with so much more promising potential for her future? I don’t want to harm our relationship, but since I’ll be ponying up some of the money, I figure I should say something.

—Sister’s College Choice

Re: Leave the $$ and the BF out of it, and make the discussion about what *she* wants for her future.

  • Sit with the sister and talk about her degree.   Talk about how it can be used and the immediate potential return on investment.

    THEN talk about the ways that the BF can visit if the leaning is towards the engineering degree.   
    mrsconn23charlotte989875short+sassy
  • Focus on the sisters career aspirations, what each school can offer her toward that, and stay away from bringing up the boyfriend and this point. Help her make a decision that is right for her career/school goals and then work toward finding a way for the boyfriend to visit. 
    short+sassy
  • downtondivadowntondiva member
    Seventh Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited January 2020
    Definitely focus on sister's educational and career aspirations. How set is she on getting a degree in engineering? What other programs of study does that school offer if she were to change her mind, and are those programs any good? I think these are questions worth exploring, as I've known a few people who were interested in a particular program at a particular school, but ended up not going because the school's other programs weren't that good, and they wanted to be able to keep their options open.

    The boyfriend should not be a part of the conversation at this time. That issue can be dealt with later. Her future comes first.

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  • Sounds like sister wants the engineering degree, but LW should talk to sister about what she wants to be sure.
    short+sassy
  • LW needs to step back a hair and have the discussion about "How are you going to repay the loan for your degree and succeed in life" because right now the sister doesn't have a skin in the game for the cost nor ROI of the community college nor degree she's planning to go for nor what she wants to do with her life.  CTJ is needed stat for the sister to have some growing up personal responsibility for what she wants in life that has nothing to do with a boyfriend...  Working part-time while going to school is great, but at 21, it's time for sister to start with the "time for you to start making smart decisions of becoming an adult" time..  
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    short+sassy
  • Have a sit-down discussion...probably multiple ones...about both the realistic avenues of study at those colleges.  Including what the coursework will look like.  And then, what the most typical careers will be available to the sister after graduation.  Include Googling "average first year earnings" and "average lifetime earning" for holding a BS in Engineering vs a BA in Liberal Arts.

    I am by no means disparaging Liberal Arts degrees.  But it is really different from Engineering and, generally speaking, are not as "in demand" or pay as well.  So, if the sister's natural inclination is to go the Engineering route.  Then it makes no sense to choose otherwise.  I'm also not quite so sure the choices are as "cut and dry" as the LW is saying.

    But, at the end of the day and for the time/money investment involved, does the sister really want to choose...a course of study she doesn't like as much-->that then leads to a career she may not like as much-->and, for the cherry on top, pays less and is not as in-demand.

    All for a guy where the relationship isn't even serious enough that they're engaged or living together?  Me and my crazy logic.  However, I know many people aren't logical.  They can't/won't think very far into the future.  So I don't think the sister should say any of this last part, lol.  But merely, when the b/f is brought up as a "plus" for the more local college.  Focus again on the long-term better choice, while pointing out that she and the guy won't be that far apart.  They can still see each other on weekends.  I don't know what he has going on career-wise, but maybe he can transfer/find a similar job, near the other school.

    (**cough, cough**) That also might put things in perspective for the sister if he's not willing to consider that.  I'm just sayin'.
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