Want to Go Back to School? How to Survive College as a Single Parent

Written by  //  2017/11/28  //  Academics  //  Comments Off on Want to Go Back to School? How to Survive College as a Single Parent

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Going back to school as a single parent can be a hard decision. On the one hand, research has shown that parents who go back and earn their degree gain short-term and long-term benefits for their children. On the other, taking on college full-time or even part-time while working a full-time job with kids seems daunting, maybe even impossible.

One major problem is finding reliable childcare. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates that college campuses provide only 5% of the childcare support that a single parent needs. Even though students with children make up almost a quarter of college enrollees, many colleges and universities do not offer affordable housing, on-campus child services, and family meal services. This leads to a 52.2% drop out rate for single parents, compared to 31.9% of non-parent students.

However, despite the intimidating problems and statistics, going back to school and getting your degree is possible for single parents. Here are five tips to help make your dream a reality.

Finding a Family-friendly Institution

There are a good number of colleges who provide many resources to help. Some institutions offer residential programs designed specifically for student-parents, providing family-friendly housing, daycare, and afterschool programs for kids. Another option for single parents is online schooling. According to Independence University reviews, Independence University offers a multitude of online degrees, even going so far as to offer laptops to single parents who need it.

Building a Support System

Having a support system can make a huge difference in relieving the stress of being a student, a parent, and an employee. Your support system should include friends and family, local government agencies, college programs such as Mothers Living & Learning, and other single-parent students. This last is especially important for yourself and for your kids. They get to build relationships while you get to bond with someone who understands what you’re going through.

Make Homework Family Time

Finding time for homework among working and family time can be a challenge. One way to make it easier is to do homework with your kids. This sets a good example for your kids. If your kids are too young for school, find activities for your kids to do beside you. Better yet, let them be apart of some of your work. For example, allowing them to color the background of a poster board for a project.

Time Management

While this may seem like a no-brainer, this can be a struggle for single parents with so much going on. Find the way that works best for you whether a bullet journal, a paper scheduler or setting alarms on your phone. Keep in mind it is important to schedule not only due dates, but when to work on them, when to edit, and when to practice for presentations.

Don’t Forget about You

The number one tip is to take care of yourself. As a single parent, you spend a lot of time taking care of your child. Don’t forget that you are important too. Burning out because you haven’t slept enough, ate enough, etc. Doesn’t help anyone, especially your child, so it’s in your best interest to look out for you too.

Going back to school won’t be easy, but it is very doable. There are tons of scholarships and resources available to help out single parents. Friends and family are also a good resource when you need help. Find a good student-parent community to participate in. You can absolutely survive college as a single parent.

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