Are you a parent considering going back to school? There are both pros and cons to this decision, but you will find that today’s college environment makes it easier than ever before to make it happen. With flexible degree programs, schools willing to work with you, and opportunities to study from home, a college degree is more attainable than ever for the modern parent. Here’s what you need to consider if you’re wondering how to go back to college while balancing college and parenting responsibilities.
Is It Worth It to Go Back to College?
There’s no denying that going back to college is a lot of work, especially when trying to balance your responsibilities for work, home, and family. So, is it work worth doing? By going back to school, you can potentially open up new career opportunities, update skills that languished while being home with your kids, and create a better potential future for your entire family.
Benefits of Returning to School
What are some potential benefits of returning to school as a parent? You need the confidence that you will enjoy some perks if you are going to take on this responsibility. Here are some to consider:
The workforce constantly changes, and what you thought was a great career opportunity in your 20s may no longer hold the opportunities you once saw. Going back to school lets you change the trajectory of your career or even jump into a completely new career path.
This, in turn, can create greater income potential. You can have the opportunity to explore various career paths and find one that has solid income-earning potential.
Grow in Your Industry and Upgrade Your Skill Set
If you love your career and do not want to make a change, going back to school still has merit. If you took some time off to focus on your kids, you may find that you need to upskill for tasks and technology that developed while you stepped away. If you did not take time off but have not been developing your skill set as well as you would have liked, pursuing additional education can give you a competitive edge.
Where to Start
If you feel that going back to school is the right choice, these tips will help you get started on this path:
Find the Right Degree Program
First, you need to find the right degree program. Think about your career goals and the skills you need and want to gain. Look for a degree program that will help you achieve those goals. Consider one that accepts credits for college work you have already completed, as that can help you save time and money.
Online vs. On-Campus
Next, consider your lifestyle. As an adult with a family, you are probably going to be busy. Online programs allow you a greater level of flexibility to fit your college work into your daily routine. On-campus programs may offer more networking and social opportunities. Programs that provide both can be flexible options you need for the best of both worlds.
Do you need to apply for any financial aid, like grants or loans, to pay for your college degree? Take a look at the cost and your overall financial situation to decide when the time is right to go back to school.
Kids are a lot of work, whether you are in college or not. Because your studies will take some time away from your family, you are going to need a support network around you. This includes people you trust to care for your kids while you are in class or studying. Look around to see who can be part of that support network, or start building it now before you start classes.
Tips for Balancing School and Life
Going back to school as a parent is absolutely possible, but you are going to need to work a little to balance your school and life responsibilities. There are several strategies that can help, however, including:
First, you are going to need to be on a schedule. Time management is essential as a college student and parent, especially if you are going to continue working while you are in school. Look at your daily routine and see where you can carve out time to study or work on your home responsibilities. Set a schedule that will keep you on track, and make sure your family understands what that schedule will look like.
Eliminate Stress with Daily Task Lists
Having your tasks pile up on you can feel overwhelming. One way to minimize stress is with a daily task list. Write down the things you hope to accomplish daily. Once you accomplish those items, be content that you have done enough, even if other jobs remain. Remember, you always have tomorrow.
Create a Workspace
Find a space inside your home where you can work on your college materials. It should be quiet and distraction-free. When it is time to work, go to this spot, and make sure your kids know that you should not be disturbed when you are in your workspace.
Ask for Help
You will need help during this time when you are balancing work and school, so know who you can ask for help, and be willing to ask. This situation is temporary, and you will not need the help forever.
Set Attainable Goals to Succeed
To make this work, you will need to set some attainable, realistic goals for yourself. Prepare yourself for success by planning daily and weekly goals for your coursework, and also set goals for the semester. However, be realistic in your goal setting. Know your limitations and set goals that are possible to reach with all of the other responsibilities on your plate.
Find Flexible, Attainable Degree Programs with Post University
If you are ready to go back to school, Post University can make it easier. We have a number of flexible bachelor and master degree programs with online options that are perfect for an adult learner. With these programs, you can easily fit learning into your daily routine. Explore our degrees and find one that will help you attain your professional goals or switch up your career path. Reach out to our admissions team to learn more about achieving your goals with Post University.
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