Going back to school when you have kids is never an easy decision or task. The thoughts of money being tight and time being strained is often enough to deter any single mother. But for those who want to provide a better life for their family, they know that getting a degree is a must.
So if you are on track to going back to school, consider adhering to the following survival tips to make the management of your life and school work easier as you complete your degree:
Seek All Financial Aid Possible
For single moms looking to get a degree there is plenty of federal education assistance available – all you have to do is ask for it. In fact, there is so much money normally doled out to single mothers seeking higher education that many are able to obtain enough financial aid to supplement their salaries in addition to paying for school.
To get necessary federal assistance, such as Pell Grants, be sure to fill out your FAFSA. Also be sure to fill out as many scholarship applications as possible, even if you have been out of school for several years. There are many scholarships, in addition to federal assistance, available exclusively to single moms and they can easily be found on sites such as Fastweb.com and Scholarships.com.
A Planner is Your Best Friend
As a single mother, there is a good chance that you already have a lot on your plate. There is always something to attend, shopping to do, and cleaning to be done. Adding the pressures of school on top of your current to-dos can seem overwhelming if you aren’t well organized.
Once you start attending school, be sure to get a planner – whether it be a traditional planner or a smart phone app. With a planner you can detail any and all information so that you are able to better manage your life, and limit the number of surprises that pop up on a daily basis.
Secure a Strong Support System
Juggling a job, kids, and school work is never an easy task, and life will be sure to throw you a few unexpected surprises while you are trying to obtain your career. To make your life easier, be sure to create a strong support system – whether it be family, friends at school, or, ideally, a combinations of both.
This way you will have friends to get notes from should you be forced to miss class, study buddies to make exams and course information easier, and family members to help babysit to reduce your childcare expenses.
Online Courses Provide Needed Flexibility
If you don’t have a strong support system or just have a more unconventional schedule, consider entering an online degree program or mixing your degree program with both on-campus and online courses. These courses will give you greater flexibility to learn at your own pace, so you will better be able to handle motherhood and school work.
There are plenty of resources online, such as the College Network, that can help point you in the right direction as far as degree programs are concerned. Just be sure to only enroll in accredited online programs to ensure the best chances of obtaining a career what your degree is completed.
Streamline Your Education
For traditional students, lingering around in their undergraduate degree program is typical. You often hear about 5 year seniors, or students who are well into their junior year still undeclared. However, for single moms, lingering around in your degree program is not only a waste of money, but a precious waste of time.
To make sure that you are getting the most out of every hour and dollar you spend on school, frequently rely on your academic adviser and don’t be afraid to ask them about your courses each semester you enroll in classes. One missed course can set you back a semester, so make sure that you are always on the right course track and only taking those courses you need.
Completing a degree program is no easy task, but that doesn’t mean that it should deter you altogether from achieving your goals. Thousands of single parents complete their degree every year, giving them the opportunity to improve their lives and that in which they provide for their family for years to come.