My parents only want me to apply to Ivy League schools but I like some other ones - what do I do? How do I convince them that I can look at other options?
This is totally a common phenomenon - don’t worry. Parents want the best for their kids, and that sometimes means they get a little overly ambitious, or get a little hard of hearing when it comes to you stating what you want.
Be real with them. Make sure to clarify the exact rationale behind why you are considering the schools you are considering. Just because it’s not Harvard or Princeton or Yale doesn’t mean it’s in any way lacking. So how do you do that? Show them the figures. For example, Johns Hopkins University is one of the best schools for bioengineering, and so is Rice University. Maybe your parents are being picky because they’re not as familiar with those schools as they are some of the Ivy League schools they’re pushing on you. Have them take a look with you at the department website for bioengineering (or whatever the subject is), and let them see how the resources at either of these institutions are exactly what you’re hoping for in a school.
Or maybe it’s social - let’s say you want to go to a school with an amazing program in your area of interest but you don’t really want all the stress or the social scene of an Ivy League school. Maybe you’re thinking Vanderbilt or Northwestern, away from the East Coast attitude, and in cities with their own strong and welcoming identities. Show your parents how the alumni networks of those institutions are just as valuable as what you would get at an institution that even more competitive. Explain how you hope to make connections with people that will become lifelong friends, or that you are eager to explore a part of the States that’s a little bit different than what they had in mind.
Be your own strongest advocate. Get help from a teacher, Crimson consultant, or other adults who know you if you need a little assistance in talking in a manner that will get you heard. It’s your future, and with some patience and some attention, you can make them see there are many great options available to consider.