When I graduated for High School in 1998 college was not in my plans. I was lucky enough to obtain a good which paid well with benefits, so off I went into the workforce. In 2002 I was offered a Union job that I could not refuse. I had excellent benefits and above average pay, so again I thought why go to college? Soon after I got married and started a family, everything was going well. I had a secure job, and a beautiful family – what more could I ask for?
In 2007 I found myself a single mother of 3 little ones with a 4th on the way. Although I was still fortunate to have the same job I was starting to think differently about the financial future and security of my children and me. Over the few years prior to my divorce I dabbled in some web designing, mostly simple stuff for fun, but I found that I really enjoyed it and did well. I have always been good with computer technology and started becoming interested in learning more about web design and development. After the birth of my 4th child I made the huge decision to return to school and obtain a college degree. As a single mother, having a college education was important to the future of my family.
Going to college as an adult can be a scary thought. I was overwhelmed wondering how I could work full time, go to school, still be a good mom, and run a household. These were all questions that I had to consider which led to a lot of research on colleges and programs available. Hopefully the following tips will help and encourage other single parents considering pursuing a college education.
1. Online or Campus Classes: The first thing that I had to determine was how I would be able to classes. This decision was easy for me. With already working full time the option of being away from my children more to attend classes on a campus was not possible so online courses it was.
2. Choosing Your Degree Program: Before you can decide which college best suits you it is important to decide what program you are looking for and credentials you are looking for in a college.
3. Research Colleges: Whether you make the decision to take classes online or on a campus it is important to find the college that will best fit your needs and educational goals. If you choose to or need to attend online, keep in mind that not all programs are offered online. Checking out college websites, requesting information, and speaking directly with advisors are great sources for obtaining information. Things that you should consider and get information on when researching colleges are:
Financial Aid Options Available
Tuition Costs and Payment Options
Available Programs and Requirements
Career Services upon Graduation
4. Application Process and Acceptance Progress: It is important that you understand the college’s application process and how they choose acceptance of students.
The most important advice I can offer is – Do Not Rush! Finding the right college that will fit all your needs, expectations, and goals take time, but finding the right fit will help keep you focused and determined in your education. The thought of returning to school as a single parent or even a parent with a supportive spouse can be scary and overwhelming but possible and well worth it! I am half way to earning my Bachelors Degree and consider it to be one of the best decisions I have made for me and my family.