There are many reasons why you might be going to college and raising children at the same time. You may have dropped out early on because your school or major wasn’t a good fit, or maybe you weren’t able to make college work in the first place. Whatever the reason, if you’re ready to go back, there’s no reason that having a family should keep you from achieving your education goals. Here are five strategies for keeping a healthy balance between your family and your education.
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1. Enroll in Online Courses
Many prospective students who have families do not have the time to shuttle between their homes and campus to attend classes. The good news is that there are many online programs that are accredited and worthwhile. From high-quality coding programs to good counseling schools, you can find a way to study online for almost any field of study.
2. Pursue Certificate Programs
When you’re looking to make a career change and need some amount of education to help you make the transition, a certificate program might be right for you. Certificate programs last anywhere from four to twelve weeks, making it much easier to balance your responsibilities at home with your education and career goals. Once the program is finished, you will be certified in a specific field and able to apply for more jobs.
3. Join Non-Traditional Student Groups
In some cases, you may want to attend a brick-and-mortar institution to further your education. As a non-traditional student, you may feel out of place because you have different responsibilities than other students. By joining a group with other non-traditional students, you will find support and camaraderie among others who are changing careers, advancing their education, and studying while raising children.
4. Advocate for Yourself
When you’re a parent and a student, you have to keep a lot of plates in the air. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself with your school’s administration and your professors. It’s important to communicate and be transparent about what matters to you. College faculty and staff want you to succeed, and they will be more likely to work with you on your schedule and educational requirements if you advocate for yourself first.
5. Ask for What You Need
Having children means expecting the unexpected, but that can sometimes put your studies at risk. Whether it’s a missed deadline or a course that you have to skip to pick your child up from school, it can feel like college and kids are incompatible. As a non-traditional student, you have to ask for the accommodations you need so that your school and teachers can help you when it’s possible. From extensions on deadlines to alternate core credits, you won’t know what’s available unless you ask.
Raising a family is a major accomplishment and so is continuing your education. Doing both at the same time is even more amazing. It takes super-powered organizational skills and determination, but balancing family and education is far from impossible.
Alex is fascinated with “understanding” people. It’s actually what drives everything he does. He believes in a thoughtful exploration of how you shape your thoughts, experience of the world.