Survival Tips for Non-Traditional Students: Going Back to School as a Mom 

If you’re reading this, then you’re considered a “non-traditional” student. It’s those of you that are older. It’s those of you who are parents. In short, it’s anyone that didn’t take the traditional path to college out of high school. 

Things are quite different since you last entertained the idea: 

  • Responsibilities 
  • Finances 
  • Culture
  • Environment 
  • Goals 

You’re likely in a better position, truthfully, since you’re now matured. And, you have experience in the real world. You know what you want from the experience. 

What can you do to make the return a pleasant one? Try the following. 

1. Do Your Research 

You don’t have the college pressure as you did coming out of high school. This means you have greater control when going back. You’ll fit everything to your busy schedule given you do the research. 

Get online and check out: 

  • Online academic catalogs detailing degrees and opportunities 
  • College and teacher reviews so you can find the perfect location 
  • Present and past student reviews and interviews to hear their experience 

Attend a career or college fair in your area if you prefer to do things in person.  

  1. Define Personal and Career Goals

Gone are the days where all you wanted to do is party, party, party. Now you’re focused and with it are goals aligned to your personal development and career. 

Consider items like: 

  • Filling a career gap or exploring new demands 
  • Balancing time, money, and energy 

Use the BLS.gov Occupational Outlook Handbook as a guide. You’ll get real data outlining what’s in demand. Else, ask friends, family, and peers. Do a bit of deep reflection to find what could benefit you and your family. 

  1. Talk with a College Advisor

There is a lot to process between new degrees, classes, and platforms. Let the academic advisor do the slog work! Let an advisor explain the finer details of a degree/program and offer their suggestions. 

Don’t their recommendation(s)? Share their outline with advisors on social sites and get their take on the matter.  

  1. Explore Your Options and Opportunities

You’re not some fresh-faced college student afraid to raise their voice. You’re a mom that’s been through plenty! So, get out there and use the options, opportunities, and resources to your advantage. 

  • Take a night and/or online classes 
  • Join on-location or online study groups 
  • Use study apps, flashcards, and edu websites 

Get your family involved in the activities, too. Have them quiz your knowledge between classes. Get them helping around the home so you have more study time. Or, dedicate special time to hit the books without interruption. 

Do remember you have financial resources, too! You could employ a personal tutor or do private study sessions with professionals.  

  1. Ease into It, Scale It Up

Remember that you still have parental responsibilities. You also have a job to hold down, plus any other personal obligations with your lifestyle. 

Ease into college experience: 

  • Pick one or two classes to ease back into it 
  • Do an easy class and one tough/challenging class 
  • Take time to appreciate what you’re doing 

Some locations even offer classes tailored to older individuals. Or, at least keep them small so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Once you’re comfortable, scale it up and dedicate more time to your educational goals! 

We’ll Help You Understand How to Go Back to School 

Learning how to go back to school is an easy endeavor. There are plenty of online guides, like this one, helping you get back into school. We’re more than happy to fill any info gaps you may have, too. 

The real challenge is making the commitment, especially if you have maternal duties! We can help with every step in this process — we’re a click or call away! 

We welcome you to explore what’s possible at Parker University.