If you’re looking into pursuing a college degree, I’m sure you already know that continuing your education can substantially increase your earning potential. According to research conducted by the Brooking’s Institution’s Hamilton Project, individuals with a bachelor’s degree can earn between 54-86% more than those with a high school diploma alone, and those with a college degree often report healthier lifestyles, higher self-esteem, and higher job satisfaction. Though the payoffs can be huge, if you you’re worried about how to get a degree while juggling work, relationships, and children, you’re not alone. More than one-fifth of undergraduates are parents, and over 78% of undergraduates work while enrolled and, on average, spend almost 30 hours per week working while taking class.
More than one-fifth of undergraduates are parents.
While earning a college degree certainly requires hard work and dedication, it doesn’t have to take up all of your time and resources. Read on for some tips that can help you plan, stay balanced, and ultimately succeed – without the full-time commitment.
Set clear goals
Setting clear goals is key to staying on track and avoiding wasting time. Determining your long-term career goals can help you stay focused and find the degree that’s best suited to your needs. Maybe you’re looking for more job flexibility, want to gain skills, or are seeking higher pay, and don’t want to break the bank along the way – all great long-term goals! Vocation or trade schools are a popular way to gain new skills and improve employment opportunities and viability. They are often much more affordable than traditional four-year universities and offer degrees that require smaller time commitments, both advantages for working individuals and parents with young children.
Short-term goals are just as important in helping you focus on the big picture. Setting attainable short-term goals along the way will keep you motivated and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
Get a scholarship to help ease the financial load
Figuring out how to pay for your education is arguably one of the biggest time commitments associated with pursuing a degree. If you’re too busy working extra hours to finance your education or pay for childcare, you’ll never be able to hit the books and are bound to lose focus and motivation. Consider applying for a scholarship in order to set yourself up for success. Unlike student loans, you don’t have to pay scholarships back. Those extra funds can go a long way in helping you succeed.
Find a schedule that meets your needs
It’s not unreasonable to feel overwhelmed at the prospect of adding something else to your already full schedule, but the landscape of education has changed dramatically over the past few years and innovative education trends have led to many options that can provide more flexibility in your schedule than traditional brick-and-mortar universities. Some colleges offer online courses that are just as comprehensive as on-site courses but can be completed at home whenever you have time. Similarly, night classes can offer a great alternative to those who need to work or attend to children during the day.
Juggling a full-time job with a personal life and family commitments can be a challenge, and adding another task to that list can seem down right impossible. But it doesn’t have to be! Just remember all of the benefits of a college degree, not to mention how proud you’ll be for having accomplished such an amazing task that will benefit you and your family for years to come. With a little planning and resourcefulness, you can do it!