Here at Year13 we know that university isn’t for everyone. We know that it does work for a lot of people, but there are loads of others that are better off with a different approach to learning. We know that there are other ways to get into whatever career you want, and that it’s worth considering these different options after leaving high school.

Problem is, we also know that your parents don’t always know this, and we get how important their opinions are when you’re making decisions. To help out with this tricky situation, here are some tips for telling them you don’t want to go to uni.

Know your options

While you don’t have to know precisely what you’ll be doing in five years (who does??) it does help to know your options and to show your parents you’re weighing them up.

If it’s the stiff academic setting of university that doesn’t appeal to you, but you still want to learn about a subject to the point of being an expert, then studying a vocational education and training (VET) course might be right for you. Wise up on all the practical training offered through VET courses for boom industries like healthcare and social services, construction and infrastructure, and education and training, and your folks will be more likely to be cool with your decision. 

There’s also fee-free apprenticeships, a sweet study option where you actually get paid to learn. You won’t just be in the classroom either, with most of your training taking place working for a real company and learning on the job.

Research other alternatives

If you want to dive straight into the workforce instead that’s sweet too – just remember to tell your parents about all the awesome benefits this brings. You’ll become financially independent before all your mates and starting early means better career progression.

Later on, there’s always the opportunity to take on a short course or certificate through VET. These ‘learning blocks’ will accelerate your expertise and set you up with a range of transferrable skills that can help make you employable across heaps of different jobs and industries.

Another option of course is to take a gap year, which we’ve always been big fans of. While a lot of parents think they’re a waste of time, we reckon there are loads of benefits, like helping kids figure out what they want to do with their lives.

Have some stats to back you up

Here’s some stats we reckon could convince the most stubborn of parents:

  • VET provides pathways to 8 out of 10 jobs predicted to have the greatest growth in the next 5 years
  • 91% of VET graduates in a trade apprenticeship are employed full-time after their training
  • Median salary of VET graduates is $56,000
  • An estimated 30,000 more workers will be needed in the construction industry over the next 10 years
  • Doing an apprenticeship, traineeship and getting a full-time job are the top three post-school pathways in terms of wellbeing
  • 1 in 5 university students will drop out in their first year
  • Only 66% of students finish their degrees after six years
  • The average HECS debt is $20,303

Take a deep breath

Before you break the news, remember to slow down and take a deep breath. It’s not going to go well if you speak to your parents while you’re in a panic.

While some teachers and parents will often drill into students that uni is the only option for success, this simply isn’t true and heaps of people have gone and done amazing things without a university education.

Attitudes are definitely changing, and as parents, teachers and students become more aware of things like the national skills shortage and the benefits of alternative study options, the easier it’ll be for your folks to understand your decision.

At the end of the day your folks want what’s best for you (at least in their eyes) but we reckon if you follow these steps you’ll be well on your way to convincing them your choice is the right one.

For more information on VET and your options outside of uni, click here