How to be a mom and a student

April 3, 2013

Scholarships for adults are often a key factor for moms returning to school. Once classes start, though, the next step for many is balancing motherhood and classes. 

In a 2012 USA Today feature, undergraduate student and mom Courtney Webb described this struggle. "You have to be a mother, student, daughter, twenty-four seven," Webb said. 

Grants for single parents can help with the cost burden of school, but finding time to handle classes can prove difficult. By following a few guidelines, mothers can balance their educations with their family lives.

Be economical
Financial aid for moms helps prospective students save money. Especially for those with a lot to do at home every day, this monetary assistance is beneficial. School nonetheless can be expensive - according to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average 2010-2011 undergraduate tuition for students living off-campus and paying in-state tuition at a public four-year school was over $12,000. 

When researching potential colleges, look at the price tags. Some schools may seem ideal, but ultimately cost an arm and a leg. Chances are, a less expensive establishment will provide a comparable education to its students.

Lower tuition bills could mean fewer hours needed at work to cover college costs, which can make a big difference in the work-family-school balance. Mothers might use this extra time with their children. 

Beside cost, there are other elements to a school's profile to consider.

Find a flexible schedule
Flexibility is the name of the game for those trying to find time for both their kids and their class loads.

Single mothers starting to consider schools can look for institutions that offer condensed and online courses. These approaches make student schedules more open, enabling parents to spend less time in class and more with their families. 

Balancing motherhood with school parallels to doing so with work. Xerox CMO Christa Calone discussed how to deal with this juggling act in a recent article for Forbes, urging mothers to find family-friendly workplaces. This doesn't necessarily mean individuals asking the company about its flexibility with family issues: Mothers being interviewed can look for clues as basic as a family picture on their interviewer's desk, according to Forbes.

Similarly, those looking for flexibility in their college simply need to do the research. A look at the current semester's course catalog will help determine how easy it will be to schedule classes for a particular degree in the future.

Keep priorities in check
Taking school seriously is imperative, yet mothers should not feel they have to overlook their families in the process.

By finding economical and flexible schools, mothers heading to college may have less trouble finding time for both homework and family.

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