Returning to school to pursue a degree is a big decision and a significant undertaking for any adult learner. Student parents face an even greater challenge, as they must manage finances, class time, studying, and course work between the never-ending job of caring for their family.
Earning a degree can be a rite of passage for a parent who didn’t finish college, or a way to pursue new career opportunities and increase their pay in order to give their children a better future. Regardless of your reasons for completing your degree, you’re in good company. Based on data collected by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), more than 22 percent of undergraduate students are parents.
We want to help you make the best decision to enable you to complete your education and support your family. Here are the most important factors to consider when choosing a student-parent friendly college.
The Best Universities for Parents Have Flexible Class Schedules
When you’re a parent, you no longer have the luxury of being a full-time student, taking 18 credits each semester, and pulling an all-nighter to cram for a final exam. An easy way to narrow down your education options is to only consider the universities that offer flexible schedules and/or online courses.
Many schools, including National University, understand the importance of helping student parents succeed in their education goals to provide a better future for their families. We offer 75 degree programs and allow you to choose between flexible in-person and online classes so you can complete your coursework around your busy schedule. Our degree, certificate, and credential programs are specifically designed for adult learners to be able to balance work and family obligations.
Besides class schedules, also make sure to inquire about course length. A traditional semester format may not be ideal for a student-parent, but some colleges offer modified plans to allow parents to take classes around their family obligations. At National University, we offer four-week classes so you can start and stop as you need and focus on one subject at a time.
Colleges for Single Mothers
While more than one out of five undergraduate students are parents, the majority (62 percent) of mothers in college are single parents. If you’re a single parent, you don’t just have to worry about managing everyone’s schedule in addition to your own, you also have to figure out child care options that are reliable and affordable. Luckily, more colleges are starting to offer child care and family-friendly accommodations for single student parents.
With many schools offering online classes, you can take courses at home in the event that child care isn’t available. While daycares are only open during normal business hours, you may also be able to find night classes or online classes that allow you to focus on your studies while a babysitter watches the kids. National University’s four-week courses also enable you to schedule your classes when your children are in school or summer camp, or at times where you’re more likely to be able to find child care options.
Single parents may also face more financial hardships than dual-parent families. We offer financial aid, including grants, loans, and scholarships to help you bridge the gap between your education and your financial resources.
Fast Degrees for Single Moms
When it comes to education, faster doesn’t always mean better, but an accelerated program may be advantageous for single moms with limited time. Before you decide on an undergraduate or graduate program, you may want to consider specific training or career opportunities that cater to single moms. This includes options like paralegal studies, health care options like physician’s assistant or dental assistant programs, or career training for fields like information technology, business, and computer applications.
If you have decided to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree, check the projected time it takes to complete a program at your school of choice, and talk to an admissions counselor to plan your course load before you begin. Our undergraduate programs take an average of three-and-a-half years to complete, while our graduate programs take anywhere from one to two years to complete. If you have previous credits from other college courses, National University is regionally accredited, making it easier to transfer credits and earn your degree faster.
Finding the Right University for Parents
Regardless of the type of degree you choose, the best college or university will be the one that allows you to complete the program on your terms and that allows you to work around your own unique set of obligations and challenges. Many colleges, including National University, offer specialized programs to help student parents earn a degree and create additional career opportunities for a better future.
Explore our resources to learn more about how our flexible four-week class schedules can help you make your education goals a reality. If you have specific questions, contact an admissions advisor who can help you determine the best program and schedule to complete your degree between the demanding schedule of work and parenting. We understand that going back to school is a big decision, and we want to support you on this journey. Contact us to help you find the right program to help you succeed and set yourself and your family up for a brighter future.