Being a parent doesn't have to mean putting plans to go back to school on hold. It's perfectly possible to attain a degree with children. While it may take more thought, planning, and time management skills than it does for those without children, going back to school as a parent is both challenging and rewarding. Here are some essential tips to consider before enrolling in an undergraduate or graduate program.
Let Professors Know
There's nothing worse than having to ask for a last minute extension due to an emergency. Professors will often be more understanding if they know a student's circumstances in advance. Introductions are a key to success. Parents should introduce themselves to professors prior to the start of class and let them know they have children. By keeping open lines of communication between the professor and the parent, last minute extensions may be more attainable and understood.
Meal Prep for Parents and Children
Any parent knows that mealtime can be one of the biggest battles, whether or not college classes are part of the equation. To prevent mealtime from adding another obstacle to the balancing act, parents who are earning their degrees can meal prep in advance for the entire family. By cooking one night a week and freezing leftovers to reheat, it's simple to dodge battles with picky eaters or have to dedicate time to cooking every night. That means more time for studies!
Get the Children Involved in Study Time
Parents are often involved in their children's studies and homework, so it only makes sense to combine parent and child study times. This can be as simple as designating a few hours every evening that parents and children can both work on their schoolwork together, meaning student parents can also be available if their children need help. Younger children without homework can assist in studying by playing games with flashcards or have reading time while parents hit the books.
Build a Support System
Going back to school is a significant undertaking. It can help to enlist family and friends to help out. For nights before big exams or deadlines for difficult assignments, it may be beneficial to plan for a loved one to babysit the little ones. It's also vital to take advantage of student resources, which can come in the form of online tutoring, student advisors, or even peer mentoring. When balancing children with education, it's important to be able to ask for help.
Parenthood and higher education learning are both immensely rewarding, but there's no reason they can't be accomplished simultaneously. At the Tulane School of Professional Advancement, we are committed to helping non-traditional students achieve their educational and career aspirations. Learn more about our degree programs and view our academic calendar to see how a SoPA degree could fit into your schedule. We offer a combination of online and in-person learning opportunities, in addition to awarding credit for previous life and work experiences.