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Advice for Mothers Considering College

Have you been thinking about going to college, but put those thoughts on hold because of your responsibilities as a mother? If so, you should know that you’re not alone. Many women put off their educational, professional, and personal desires for the sake of their children. Chances are you’re worried about things like finances, household responsibilities, and more importantly, how your commitment to education will impact your family. Though these are all valid concerns, the reality is that you can earn a degree while raising a family. All it takes is a bit of planning. 

What Do You Want To Do? 

The first thing you want to ask yourself is what you want to do. Before you can make an effective plan for yourself and your family, you have to know the goal or end game. Are you interested in earning a few credits to complete a degree you started years ago? Will you be enrolling in college as a freshman and earning a degree from scratch? Or, are you simply interested in a certification or continuing education courses to advance in your existing career? 

Answering these questions will give you a better understanding of how long it could take, what options you have, and what will be required of your family to reach your goals. 

What’s It Going To Take? 

The next question you need to answer is how you’ll master your dream. You know that you want to go to college and if you followed the tip above, you also know exactly what you want to do. Now, you need to do more research to determine what path you want to take to accomplish your educational goals. 

Let’s say you want to become an architect. You’d need to look for architect schools near you to evaluate your options. As you review each school ask questions like, how long does the program take to complete, how much does it cost, what is the course load like, and what is expected of you as a student (i.e. attendance, participation, testing, etc). 

What Resources Are Available? 

You know what you want to do and what it’s going to take. The final question you need to ask yourself is what resources are available. Based on your research and your knowledge of your family’s needs, you know where the obstacles will come. For instance, if the architect program requires you to take three-night classes a week, but you have two small children at home, then you know you’re going to need childcare. 

As you evaluate the obstacles, begin looking for resources to make the journey easier. Some universities might offer onsite childcare, weekend classes, or online programs so that you can accommodate your family and meet your educational goals. If it’s tuition that’s going to be an issue, look into financial aid, scholarships, and grants for women. The more problems you can resolve in advance, the easier it is to juggle your role as a mother and student. 

Talk To Your Family

You not only want the support of your family, but you want to inform them of how everyday life will be impacted by this change. Since you’ve already done all the research, you’re equipped with what you need to share your goal, your plans, and answer any questions they have. You might start by talking with your spouse or significant other, then having a group meeting where you can talk to the kids. 

After talking with your household, extend the conversation to relatives and friends. They are the village that can pitch in to help you along your journey. Whether they help the kids with homework, pick them up from school, or prepare dinner a few nights a week, it lightens your load so you can focus on your studies. 

If going back to college will help you to reach new heights personally or professionally, then go for it. While juggling the responsibilities of a student and a parent will take some getting used to, you must believe you can do it. As long as you’ve assessed the areas discussed above and developed a plan that works best for your family and lifestyle, the skies really are the limits. 

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