Working Parents Returning to School: Tips for Successfully Completing your Degree

Financial Aid

Working Parents Returning to School: Tips for Successfully Completing your Degree 

Time never seems to be on your side! You can barely make time to do all the extras after talking care of the kids. You don’t know where the time goes and now you have to entertain the idea of returning to school or completing your college degree.

Finances are an issue now adding a tuition check to each month’s budget does not seem like an option. What do you do? The US Census Bureau reports that about 20% of American families are single-parent households, and in most case the breadwinner is a mother. In addition 95% of the single parents make less than $75,000 a year in income. So, for many going back to school without some form of financial aid is not an option.

The United States Department of Labor report, most moms work full time. They then spend another ten hours a day taking care of their families, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, shopping for groceries, running car pools, playing with their kids in addition to other responsibilities.

There is good news for working parents! There are many programs available to both working moms and dads to support their financial efforts in returning to school. Accredited distance learning universities offer flexible learning options for working parents. Financial resources are also available specifically for this group of parents. There are many government and private programs that have funds for working mothers and single parents.

The first step is to determine what you want to study in college. Next, determine the available financial resources from your prospective university or college. You can get this information from the financial aid office. You can also do a thorough Internet search for resources available in databases. In addition, stop by the local library and look through the annual scholarship reports. These tend to have the most current information. Something to remember is that many scholarships have deadlines so be sure to submit your application ahead of time. Determine what information needs to be submitted and prepare it ahead of schedule, for example letters of recommendation or career goals statements. Also be sure to look closely at the criteria for eligibility. Some financial aid is only available to students in certain areas such as mathematics, engineering, or nursing.

The next step has to do with time management. Given all your responsibilities, adding classes to your list can sound quite daunting. Develop a routine and stick to it. Make your family stick to it as well. For example ensure that the children’s bedtime is well established so that you can study without interruptions after putting them to bed. Also, you can prepare lunches the evening before to save you time in the morning. Delegate responsibilities to the family so that you don’t have to try and do it all alone. This will help you feel less stressed and help you focus more on your school work. Keeping a daily planner and using it regularly will also help you have an idea of your home, class, and work activities without making you feel flustered.

When it comes to doing well in school, apply a few strategies to help you succeed. At the beginning of the school term, determine what is expected from each of your classes and what the instructor needs from you during the semester. Next, read the syllabus in depth, noting deadlines, milestones, and assignment and exam dates. Add these to your planner and begin working on them ahead of time.

Dont wait until the last minute to start working on your big class project or term paper. Creating self-deadlines is a good strategy get this going. Be sure to prioritize your assignments and your work or home activities ensuring nothing gets pushed back. Pace yourself and do not be afraid to ask for help. It is also very important to be self confident and to tell yourself you can do it.

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