How Do You Balance Being a Parent and a College Student?

mother and daughter playing in the dark

Going back to college as an adult can be a tough decision, especially when you have a family to take care of. But did you know that a large portion of Ashford University’s student population is composed of parents who are raising families while earning college degrees?

Thanks to advancements in technology, the face of education has changed dramatically. Parents are no longer forced to sacrifice their education in order to take care of their family. With Ashford’s innovative approach to higher education, parents can now spend time with their loved ones and attend college at the same time.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how Ashford University helps people manage the balancing act of being a parent and a student and provide 6 tips to help you find a better balance between the two. We’ll also hear from actual students who have been able to find success with Ashford’s innovative learning format. Let’s start with some of the ways that Ashford is making life easier for students who are also parents.

Online Classroom

Being able to log into the online classroom from anywhere, at any time, is one of the many reasons why students with families choose Ashford’s online format. This type of accessibility gives students the opportunity to go to school when it is convenient for them and their families.

Having the freedom to spend time with your kids and not worry about missing class is a huge relief to a lot of our students. That’s why Ashford has structured classes so that you’re not overwhelmed with having to plan your entire life around school. You’ll still need to make a commitment to your coursework, but the online classes allow you to be more efficient with your time.

"Beginning my last class at Ashford University for my Bachelors of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science,” said Ashford alum Michele Atkinson, “I have not missed any activities for my kids and have worked full time, while being an online student.”

Due to the online format, Michele didn’t have to give up spending time with her children in order to earn her degree. Having the freedom to go to school on her schedule helped Michele utilize her time more efficiently and focus on what matters the most to her.

Support System

Making the decision to return to college can be scary when you think you’re all alone. But did you know that Ashford University has an amazing support team of faculty, staff, and students? They’re more than willing to help every step of the way and are some of the best resources to have while continuing your education.

Even before you enroll, the enrollment services advisors at Ashford University are here to inform and educate you on every aspect of being an online student. This way you’ll be fully prepared when making the decision on whether or not to return to college.

Additionally, you’ll have the support of your fellow students. Visit any of Ashford’s social media channels and you’ll see the camaraderie that lives within our student population. Here's just one of the many examples of the support you’ll receive from your peers at Ashford University:

“Congratulations AU graduates! You did it! I was in your shoes a year ago and I can say it really pays off to have a degree,” said Marcia Coston, Ashford University Class of 2015. “Be proud, feel blessed, and reach for the stars. Hip hip Hooray!”

Determination

Talk with any Ashford University student and you’ll find that they share a strong determination to reach their goals. The same goes for parents who are juggling the responsibilities of schoolwork and raising their children.

It’s challenging to raise children while holding down a job and working to rise in the ranks in your profession. Many women feel they have to sacrifice their career goals in order to devote enough time to their family. The keys are to seek balance, feel a sense of purpose in both roles, and stay determined. Having the determination to finish something that you started can have a dramatic effect on your family and how they perceive their lives as well. Many students at Ashford University are a living testament to this and are showing their children that no matter what happens, if you stay determined, you can accomplish anything.

“Ashford University has changed my life in a very rewarding way,” said Nakia Bracey, Ashford University alumnus. “I am more confident as a positive role model for my children and because of Ashford University, I also KNOW dreams really come true.”

Six Tips to Help You Balance School and Kids

For many adult learners, there often doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to complete all the tasks at hand. Below are some helpful tips to balance your kids with your textbooks, and eliminate the stress that comes with trying to do it all.

1. Make a Schedule

It is best to set a schedule for coursework. Many times, setting a daily or weekly schedule will help you keep all of your tasks on-track. It is often helpful to schedule uninterrupted time each day that is only for coursework. However, you also have to schedule quality family time to spend with your children. Make the time with your children fun by engaging in an activity that the kids and you will both enjoy.

2. Create a To-Do-List

Writing a daily to-do list is very helpful in eliminating stress. The most important items should be first on the list and, therefore, they should be completed first. This list may even include items that involve your children. Being able to cross something off the list allows you to feel a sense of achievement as you accomplish your daily goals.

3. Set Attainable Goals

You can eliminate stress by creating reasonable and attainable goals. For example, volunteer at your child’s school for one classroom activity, as opposed to stretching yourself too thin trying to help with every activity. Another goal might be to finish the week’s required reading by a certain day. Create small goals to help you reach the larger goal.

4. Ask for Help

Asking for help is sometimes hard, but it is one of the keys to balance. Whether you need help from a professor with coursework or from other family members to help with the kids, asking for it is the first step.

5. Make a Work Space

If you designate a place that is only for coursework, make sure it is a quiet place to study where you can keep all your school materials. Just as your children having their playroom, having your own space for study lets your family know that when you are in this space, you are not to be bothered.

6. Take Study Breaks

Studying can be exhausting, and sometimes a little time away from the books can help restore your energy. Make sure to use that time away to do fun things with your kids, like a quick game of checkers or baking cookies together.

 

One thing remains constant; we are extremely proud of the dedication that our students have towards achieving their goals. Having to balance the responsibilities of raising a family and going to college is no easy task, but our students are taking advantage of the innovative opportunities at Ashford and continue to inspire us. Keep these tips in mind to help you manage being a parent and a student which in turn will help you accomplish your education goals.

 

Written by Ben Cummings, Digital Marketing Specialist

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