If you’re a college student who’s supporting a family, juggling work and school, or returning to school to finish your degree, you’re not alone.
There are many other students out there facing various challenges who are focused on completing their college journey. Fortunately, many colleges and universities offer helpful resources on-campus and online for students to take advantage of.
Here are some of the resources available to you.
Seek financial aid for your situation
Regardless of your personal situation, adding school to your life can end up with you feeling like you’re being pulled in every direction.
You might have anxiety about spending too much time on your school studies and not enough for your family, or the opposite.
Changing work hours to make time for your other responsibilities may seem like the right choice, but that can affect how much money you have for school.
Talk to your financial aid office and your academic advisor. Borrowing (or borrowing more) money for school is best saved as a last resort.
Here are some helpful tips, especially if you have dependents.
- Before borrowing money for school, try reaching out to your support network.
- Check with your school to see if they offer programs for your specific situation, such as programs for students with dependents.
- If you’re a student with children, look for scholarships or grants dedicated specifically to students with children. These scholarships can help pay for your education, and the competition for money won’t be as heavy since you won’t be competing with all students. Learn more about scholarships for students with children.
- If you do borrow money to pay for tuition or college costs, you might be tempted to use that money to support family. This is not the best of this money, and, in some cases, it could lower your chances of getting financial aid in the future.
There are many other students who are going through you same situation. Take advantage of the resources your college provides to reduce the amount of money you have to pay back and shorten your time to graduation.
Explore part-time and online classes
Going to school part-time
Going to college part-time can be a good option if you have a job or other time consuming commitments in addition to being a student.
You can still take classes, study, work, and take care of other responsibilities as a part-time student. It’ll take careful scheduling and planning, but it’s doable!
Talk to your academic advisor and financial aid office to make sure you’re aware of any changes to your financial aid if you move to part-time.
Fitting school around your other responsibilities is possible. One way to do that is to complete your degree with online classes.
Taking online classes means you can take classes from anywhere, providing you with added flexibility for other responsibilities.
Additionally, online classes provide opportunities for you to save money on transportation costs such as commuting to school, and parking on campus.
Set your schedule
It’ll be important to divide up your time appropriately between schoolwork and your other commitments.
If you provide for family members, sit down with your family to discuss your personal schedules and ask for their support while you get your degree.
Let them know when you’re available and when you’ll be busy with school.
Then, find times where you can study every day. Sometimes that’ll mean working and studying on weekends, too.
As a student juggling multiple responsibilities, you’ll have to work extra hard. But if you’re super consistent and self-disciplined, things will fall into place.
When coming up with a schedule, keep these things in mind:
- Base your schedule on what works best for your situation. If you’re a night owl, try to schedule classes later in the day. If you’re an early bird, register for morning classes. That way, your classes won’t cut into your sleep schedule.
- Make sure you block off some time in your schedule to eat and mentally recharge between classes.
- If you’re thinking about having a part-time job, try to get a job on campus, as they will generally be more flexible with your hours.
Look for on-campus resources
Colleges and universities are developing more and more programs to support the non-academic needs of their students. For example, check if your campus has family or child support resources. Elder care support, child development, or daycare services are also sometimes provided.
Contact your Student Services office and see if they can put you in touch with these services.
If they don’t provide these services on campus, they may be able to help you find options outside of campus.