Parenting Guide

How Do I Get My Child Excited About Top Universities? (Part 2)

Published by SchoolAdvisor | Mar 24, 2021

By Victor Tan, Education Consultant

Watch Victor discuss why top universities matter now more than ever.

Part 1 of this article can be read here at Schooladvisor page. In this installment, there are two more tips on how to get your child into a top university. As a parent, you can be a pillar of support for your child with lots of encouragement and enthusiasm.

Encourage your child to pursue their interests, but also encourage them to pursue the career that they are interested in, which may not be something exclusive to their major.

Oftentimes, parents will worry if their child pursues a major that seems not to be supported by the job market in perhaps some of the expected ways. This is why we hear stories about how a child received advice from a family friend or from their parents to pursue law rather than say, literature, medicine over photography, or something of that nature.

On average, it is entirely understandable that a parent would want their child to pursue certain subjects, mainly because medicine and law have a high chance, at present, for leading towards high-paying professional careers.

Economics or computer science majors, moreover, may lead to opportunities and management traineeships in specific firms on account of the overlap of skills or methodologies of analysis that firms perceive trainees who have pursued such majors have, which makes them easily suitable for onboarding and likely a good fit to assist the operational activities of the firm in question.

How Do I Get My Child Excited About Top Universities?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

To that end, many parents often worry that students who pursue the liberal arts may not be able to earn stable incomes in the future. My immediate response is that if the child does not receive guidance about this even if they attend a non-liberal arts school, they too may face this problem.

Simply having a Chemical Engineering major does not guarantee that a student will be able to work in chemical engineering unless they specifically apply for a job and compete in the chemical engineer job market, and receiving a mathematics major from Harvard, Yale, or Princeton (which are, technically speaking, liberal arts schools) can also end in a lifetime of poverty if a student does not take active actions in order to compete.

That said, I would like to acknowledge that the liberal arts has a reputation for offering students too much freedom - it is possible for a student to pursue essentially any academic interest that they want assuming that it is offered by a university, and universities that offer the liberal arts are often extremely well-funded and have a very extensive array of resources and therefore are capable of offering this as a curricular option to their students. In such a scenario, therefore, the fear goes that if a student is given this freedom, they may go astray and not know what to do.

How Do I Get My Child Excited About Top Universities?

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

I should say that liberal arts schools do experience a much higher level of competition compared to many non-liberal arts schools, and that life ultimately is not fully determined by your major, but by the exact thoughts and decisions that you choose to indulge and thereby undertake.

It is not impossible for someone who has studied English Literature to outcompete a Computer Science major for a management consulting or investment banking job, as many first careers in fields such as marketing, sales, management, and finance do not have specific degree requirements and moreover do not limit the pool of their applicants under consideration simply to students who have chosen to take a particular major.

In other words, it would be presumptuous to declare that studying English Literature will lead a student towards career failure and studying Computer Science will lead to success - rather than the choice of one’s major, it is one’s raw intelligence, work ethic, and willpower within the context of that major as well as in the process of preparing for the specific career interview that a student is pursuing that will lead towards the positions that one desires.

It is entirely possible that the market may change and the skills that are in demand today may not be relevant tomorrow. To that end…

Encourage entrepreneurship and creative thinking by facilitating the process of risk-taking and enabling failure as an option.

Assuming that your child will compete for a corporate job, it is worthwhile to note that jobs that don’t even exist yet are soon to be created, and the process of ensuring that your child can compete in order to win them is partially a process of ensuring that they have the best networking opportunities, the best raw intelligence and interview performance ability, and the best usage of their time under the circumstances.Partly, this means competing for a spot in a distinguished university where many workers at a specific firm have studied at, and that therefore students can approach alumni in order to connect with.

On a more general level and externally valid level, however, it means developing traits such as bravery, ability to take action under uncertain circumstances, and the ability to take risks and to continue fighting on, no matter what those circumstances may be.

Therefore, even if situations change or the skills that one needs may change, one can then acquire those skills, meet the people that can change one’s fate either through one’s decisions or through one’s relationships, or discover the strange and heady combination of the above things that will ultimately lead to financial and career success over the course of a lifetime of actions taken towards the furtherance of one’s life.

How Do I Get My Child Excited About Top Universities?

Photo by Kidzania Kuala Lumpur

Whether one is applying for a job in a brave new world or trying to create one in the context of a neoliberal new future, entirely new industries are being created in the modern economy and modern world, and entrepreneurs are disrupting modern paradigms through the virtue and force of their ideas.

Each day, we see new businesses begin from home such as bakeries and crafts stores, developing day after day into new products and services that benefit humankind, and we see people developing the skills that businesses need from their interests rather than their formal training, by chance rather than by design.

However, though it seems that some businesses have no prerequisites to begin, they often require a person to develop skills to an incredibly high level, sometimes without external support, in order to ensure that person can compete with the many talented people who are out there in the world and attempting to achieve the same goals as them.

This requires risk-taking, experimentation, failure, and repeating these things until one achieves success… And an attitude that can bear this entire process whole, until such a day that one achieves the success that one desires.

How Do I Get My Child Excited About Top Universities?

Photo by Child Support

Therefore, it is necessary to help your child develop grit and passion, but also the ability to withhold gratification — to continue working on and to enjoy the benefits of compounding advantage borne from the repeated investment of their efforts and strength into something that they may not be rewarded for a long time.

This skill is important not simply for the conversion of one’s skills into one’s main pursuit, but also for converting one’s knowledge into tangible products and career decisions and opportunities, and into motivation to pursue the long road towards a top university where they will be able to meet peers and mentors who may have walked along the same roads of them and will be able to assist them along their journey.

I hope that these pieces of advice will benefit you and your child in some way, and that they will stimulate you towards taking effective action towards your goals! If you find that these pieces of advice are helpful and that you would like my assistance in putting them into practice, please feel free to contact me at

About Victor Tan:

Victor Tan, Education ConsultantVictor Tan is a previous JPA Ivy League dan Setara Scholar, and he studied Economics at the University of Chicago under full government sponsorship. He is the founder of Victory Education, a specialized university admissions and SAT/IB/A Levels tutoring agency that prepares students with the necessary cognitive skills and abilities that they need for success in the elite university admissions game and beyond. Learn more about how Victor can provide you with academic assistance on My Private tutor page.