4 Things Single Moms Should Know When Going Back for an Online MBA
You know that a master's degree in business administration will help you take your career to the next level so you can better support your family, but making the decision to go back to college is never easy – especially when you're a single mom. With so many other priorities in your life to juggle, you might think that getting your MBA isn't worth the extra hassle or risk right now – even though it could open more doors down the road.
Don't let the potential drawbacks of returning to school outweigh the benefits. If you really want to go back to school to get your online MBA, there are ways to prepare for the extra work load today that can pave the way toward success tomorrow. Follow these four tips, and you'll be well on your way to accomplishing your goals, earning your MBA online, and building the future you want for yourself and your family today.
1. Secure your Support System First
Naturally, going back to school to earn your MBA will be hard work. Without reinforcements rooting you on and ready to help out when you really need it, you're likely to feel overwhelmed and unprepared to handle the demands of business school on top of work and family. Find your allies among close friends and family who can support and encourage you during this time. Beyond moral support, your network should include babysitters that you can trust to be there when you need them most. Lack of consistent child care is a major hurdle for moms going back to school, so it's important to get your sitter schedule squared away ahead of time to avoid any surprises down the road – and always keep a backup on speed dial.
It's also a good idea to explain why you're going back to school to your kids before you start. If your kids understand the benefits your MBA will bring beforehand, they'll be more likely to understand and back you up when you get busy, too.
2. Work on your Time Management Skills
Balancing kids, employment, education, and personal matters all at once may seem impossible, but it can be done. Dedicate some time every day to studying, working on assignments, or attending classes and try not to let anything interrupt you during that time. Maybe you have to make the most of your free time between meal prep, morning commutes, lunch breaks, and bedtime. If your children have homework, make it a family affair and complete yours at the same time. Your children will learn the value of an education from your example and feel proud to be included in your journey. Some days will be harder than others. A steady schedule can make all the difference between giving up early and finishing what you started.
3. Know Where to Look for Financial Assistance
Just because you're a single parent doesn't mean you're on your own when it comes to going back to school. Once you find the right program and carve out the time to finish it, you can also seek out resources to help you finance it. You may be eligible for federal or private scholarships and grants, which you do not need to pay back, or for subsidized and unsubsidized loans, which offer a range of interest and repayment options.
Apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) today to find out how much government financial aid you might qualify for. You can also seek support from various college groups, online forums, or school advisors for additional resources and advice.
4. Don't Overdo It
Getting your MBA online is like a marathon, not a sprint. Even if you're pushing hard to reach the finish line, it's critical to take care of yourself and refuel along the way if you want to make it all the way through. Everyone who works hard needs regular rest and relaxation to keep going, so remember not to overload yourself with work, school, and childcare responsibilities without also making time for your own health and happiness, too. Eat right, work out, and rest regularly, and you'll feel better prepared to take on anything that life throws at you while you're working toward your MBA. It may require some creative time management on your part like propping your textbook up on the treadmill. Finding ways to integrate self-care into school, work, and family life will go a long way in keeping you and your family sane while you complete your MBA.
As you head back to school to complete your MBA online, keep these four simple tips in mind. Knowing what you're up against could make all the difference in whether or not you complete your degree program. With a strong support system, excellent time management skills, financial aid, and proper rest and relaxation, you could succeed in earning your degree and changing your life and your kids' lives for the better.
Written by Ashford University staff.