Becoming an athletic trainer takes a lot of hard work, but your degree can open up doors in your career and qualify you for better jobs. Being a parent makes balancing college, work, and parenting a little more difficult, but plenty of parents still decide to go back to school and make it work.
If you go to college, you’re investing in your future. With a little determination and planning, you can earn your college degree as a parent even if it takes a little longer.
Why Parents are Going Back to School
You’re not alone if you’re unsure about going back to school since many parents are also wondering whether or not to go. When you have to pay your family’s bills and cover expenses like diapers and daycare, taking time away from your kids can seem overwhelming.
Even single parents can benefit from going back to school. Over her lifetime, a mother with a bachelor’s degree will earn about $630,000 more than one with just a high school diploma. If you get a graduate degree, you’ll earn about $1.1 million more than if you’re just a high school graduate.
There are other benefits to going back to school, too. When your child’s ready, you can inspire them to go to college too. Getting a degree can help you get better, higher-paying jobs. You’re also more likely to get better benefits with these jobs, which means your whole family is covered by health insurance and gets good healthcare.
Balancing Home, Work, and School
The biggest hesitation parents have about going back to school is adding a school schedule and homework to their already busy lives. Couples and single parents alike are struggling to make ends meet with stagnant wages and skyrocketing living costs. You might be going back to school because of low wages. Despite how intimidating it might seem, you can totally make going back to school work with your job and family.
Budgeting and planning are key to paying for college. Start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines your eligibility for loans and grants. You should also make an appointment with your college’s financial aid advisor to make sure your applications are complete. Some schools and even departments within schools offer their own scholarships for students, so an advisor can help you find any others you might be eligible for.
Establish a household budget so that you can plan for college and figure out what you can afford. Start tracking your income and expenses for a couple of months to figure out where you’re overspending, like going out to eat a lot. If you record all these numbers, you’ll be able to identify areas where you can cut your spending so you have more left over at the end of the month. Use this money for college expenses like textbooks or childcare while you’re in school.
Considering you’ll probably live at home while in college, don’t forget about commuting expenses. Consider the cost of taking public transportation or maintaining a car. Selling a gas-guzzling car for a smaller, more fuel-efficient one might make sense. If you’re going to be commuting a lot, you should try to minimize your transportation costs.
Maintaining Your Health
It’s important to prioritize your health during college so you can attend classes and take care of your family. Due to your busy schedule, it might be tempting to skip meals or eat fast food on the go, but make sure you prioritize your nutrition and eat healthy meals, even if you have to bring food to school with you.
As a parent, you’ll need to juggle work, family, and college, but you can definitely earn a college degree. Remember that it won’t last forever, and you’re doing this for your whole family’s benefit. Having that degree in your hands will make all the hard work worthwhile.