People choose to go back to college and further their education at all different points in their lives, however, if you’ve chosen to get a degree or an advanced qualification such as a masters degree in criminal justice online as a parent, you’re going to face some unique challenges that only arise if you’re studying whilst looking after small children.
However, getting a degree as a parent isn’t impossible if you have the right plan and support in place.
We’ve listed some top tips to help parents be successful when returning to school later in life.
As a parent, you probably have a lot of commitments that you need to uphold already, without the added stress of going to classes and keeping on top of your college work.
However, online learning is there as an excellent option for parents as it allows you to study from the comfort of your own home and at a pace that is suitable for you.
With hundreds of different programs available to study online, such as criminal justice masters programs, you can easily fit your study time around school hours for example, so that you’re able to get as much work done as possible without having to disrupt your normal family routine.
Before embarking on a college degree as a parent it’s a wise idea to have some sort of childcare plan in place. Even if you are going to be taking your degree online, it’s likely that you’re going to need some quiet alone time to study every once in a while, especially if you are studying for exams or have an important deadline to meet for an assignment.
Whether you ask your parents, other family members or friends to agree to take over your childcare duties for these times or even enquire about childcare support options at your college, this will help you reduce your stress levels and dedicate as much time as possible to studying.
Although many people who go back to college later in life are financially able to support themselves and pay their own tuition fees by then, there are many people who aren’t quite so lucky.
If you feel that you are going to struggle financially when going back to college, whether this is with tuition fees or with your living costs, it’s important to apply for financial aid as soon as you can so that you can relax knowing that your money will be taken care of for the duration of your studies.
After all, as a parent, putting food on the table for your family is one of your main priorities, which is why it’s often easier for low-income parents to obtain financial aid when studying.
Going back to college as a parent can present a unique set of challenges for students.
However, no matter which stage in life you are at, it’s still possible to get a college degree successfully with the right strategies and plans in place to achieve it.
Writer: Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organisations.
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