As a single mom going back to school, the process can seem overwhelming. I am not telling you this as some random person trying to give you a feel good moment, but as the single mom who went back to school to get both my Master’s and PhD. I
went back to school as a single mom when my son was a year old up until he was 9 for both of my degree programs. And I know that if I, as a single mom, can go back to school (see my single mom story here) then so can you.
Single Mom Going Back To School Tip #1 Consider Online School
I know that online schools can have the stigma of not being as a good. But they are. Even Harvard has online classes in this day and age, so if it is good enough for Harvard then it should be good enough for you.
I went to an online school for both my Master’s and my PhD. They were both accredited programs and I was able to become a National Certified Counselor because my school met the accreditation. Meaning that I just did not choose some junk online school that was not accredited and hope that my degree meant something. I actually chose an online school that had some notoriety in the counseling field.
Just because you are going to an online school does not mean that your education is going to suffer. Often times it can be a little harder because you really have to push yourself, be a self-starter, and have great time management skills. But for the single mom going back to school, online school can be ideal because you can do the work when you want to. Meaning that you can do the work after your kids are sleeping or whenever you have free time. That means that you do not have to find a baby sitter just to attend classes or you can do your class work once you return home from work.
Single Mom Going Back To School Tip #2 Go to a School That Has Child care
Speaking of child care attending a school that has child care is also a great option. Often time smaller schools or community colleges offer free child care or low cost child care as long as you are in class while the childcare is being provided. This is a good option so that you do not have to pay for childcare and for those mothers who would rather go to class and learn over online classes.
Single Mom Going Back To School Tip #3 Community College
Community colleges have come up in the world. Some community colleges even offer a bachelor’s degrees. The great thing about a community college is the cost. If you do not want to rack up a bunch of student loans or are on a budget, then community college may be the way to go. You can stop your education after you finish community college or you can transfer to a bigger university after attending a community college. Either way you will save yourself some money. Check out my blog on how to pay for college and which college is right for me.
Single Mom Going Back To School Tip #4 Do Your Research
When you are a single mom going back to school you want to try to pick a major that has a good outlook career wise. After you graduate you will want to get a job with a decent salary as soon as possible.
Another bonus tip on how to land a good job after college (see my blog here) in that while you are in school you want to try to get a jump start on your career by getting a job that is related to your major while you are in school. This can help you land a higher paying job once you graduate and give you great hands on experience.
This is why you must do your research beforehand. Do research on your job outlook, jobs you can apply for while you are in school, internships (that are paid of course) that will give you a job when you graduate. And do this before you start school, so that you have a better understanding of what your salary will look like once you get your degree. For example, it may be better to get an MBA if you want to go in business as oppose to getting a Master’s in interdisciplinary studies if you want to go into business.
Make sure before you dive back in school the major is something that you want to do long term. The last thing you want is to go back to school and get into pre-law only to discover that you do not want to be a lawyer. What a waste. Check out my blog on how to pick a career based on your personality.
Single Mom Going Back To School Tip #5 Choose A Field Your Already In
I wrote about this in my how to stop being underemployed post and my why you are getting past up for a promotion post. When you are a single mother then it is highly likely that you are already have a job or are in a career. Going back to school and getting a degree should be the leverage that you need to get a promotion in your current field.
Therefore, if you are already working in a certain field then you may want to consider getting a degree in that field. Having both experience and a degree would help you be a better candidate for a higher paying job or a promotion. Also, if you are going back to school within a field you already work, many jobs offer tuition assistance.
There are my tips for single mom going back to school. But the best tip that I can give you as a single mom who has gotten two degrees is that you can do it and do not give up. The reward that you will feel once you have accomplished this along with the career opportunity will be well worth the temporary struggle you felt while you were in school.