When you’re a parent, advancing your studies can seem like a no-go area. How are you going to manage all of the things that you usually do during the day, and then add college into the mix? Not to mention the added cost of tuition, time, etc.
It simply seems like you’ll have too many plates to spin, and you may believe that you’ll never have the time to do it. However, this isn’t necessarily true, and we’ve broken down some ways that you can manage college while being a parent (a very busy parent).
How to Go to College While Being a Parent
The most daunting thing about the thought of going to college can be the idea of it taking up so much of your time. Not only do you have a lot of time consuming responsibilities as a parent, but you also actually want to spend time with your family. How are you supposed to do all of this, and get a good grade? Luckily, you don’t have to throw yourself headfirst into full-time college life; you could go part-time, instead. What this essentially means is that your course doubles in length, but you do half the amount of work during the week. This can help you to make your studies more manageable, so look into it if you’re interested.
Look into studying online
Another worrying thing for any parent who wants to go to college is the thought of commuting there and sitting in lectures for hours. Whilst this isn’t such a bad thing when you’re a 20-something year old, what are you supposed to do if you have a baby to look after? Thankfully, you can study at home, and all you’ll need to have is an internet connection to do it. This means that you can make your studies work around your other commitments, rather than trying to balance loads of commitments that just aren’t flexible. Whether you want to do an MBA to advance your career, or you’re starting out from the beginning, look online.
Find out whether you can get a scholarship
There are plenty of ways out there to fund your college degree, but why should you work so hard to do it if you don’t necessarily have to? Make sure that you have the time needed to study, and the money needed to keep feeding your family, by applying for scholarships. This can be a time-consuming chore, but it could be worth it in the long-run, as there are many out there that will give you thousands of dollars (and you don’t even have to pay this back). This can totally change your college experience, and will put your mind at rest when it comes to your finances and having the money to look after your family, so look into it!
See how your college can support you
Your college support department will be used to seeing people in a whole host of situations, and they will be helping them to get out of the other side of college with the degree that they deserve. If you’re worried about being a studying parent, or there are any deadlines that you just can’t meet, don’t just try to hide away and deal with it yourself! They are there to help you, and they’ll be more than willing to listen to your problems, and help you to come up with a solution. Whatever it is that you’re trying to face, seek out some support, either from your college itself or elsewhere.
Learn how to manage your time properly
Ok, we get it, there’s a lot of things for you to manage, and it can be difficult to fit all of it in to the day. However, learning how to arrange your time properly is key to your success when it comes to going to college as a parent. Put aside some hours when you’re not going to work during the evening, so that you can spend time with your family, and make sure that you’re not just isolating yourself and taking on too much work. Don’t let it take over your life, by giving yourself a schedule, and sticking to it. You shouldn’t be up every night working until 1am, and you also shouldn’t be neglecting your work, so find a happy medium.
Talk to your family about it
Whilst you may be able to get a lot of support from your college with your studies, speaking to your family about what you’re struggling with is also key. For example, if you need some help with childcare and you’re struggling to afford a babysitter, some of your extended family may be able to lend a hand. Whatever it is that you’re struggling with, make sure that you don’t suffer in silence! Your partner will probably be your biggest support throughout your college journey, so don’t suggest to them that you can handle it if you really can’t. Be open with them, and don’t worry about asking for a bit of help.
Don’t think that your age matters
Ok, so you’ve had a child (or some children) and now you’re living out your dreams of going to college. It’s likely that you’ll get a bit of imposter syndrome at some point, but don’t let this control what should be a good time for you. There are a whole variety of people – of all ages and social backgrounds – who go to college, and everybody deserves to be there just as much as the people that they’re surrounded by. So don’t doubt yourself, and don’t think that just because you’re a parent you can’t do anything that others can!
So, if you want to go to college when you’re a parent, there are many things that you can do to make it a reality. Seek out the support that you need to get through, look for financial help, and look into studying online (or part-time).
Lastly, believe in yourself, as you wouldn’t get a place at college if you weren’t intelligent enough to be there. Enjoy your college years!