8 Tips That Single Moms Going Back To School Must Consider

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To all my single moms going back to school this post is for you. Because one of the questions that I get the most is how to go back to school as a single mom.  I know you can be hyped, scared, and overwhelmed all at the same time.  How are you going to do it, can you do it, will this be an epic fail? As a single mom going back to school, the process can seem overwhelming.  I  know, because I was a single mom who went back to school starting from when my son was a 1  year old up until he was 9, earning me both a Master’s degree and a PhD.  If I can do it then you can do it (see my single mom story here).

Going Back To College For Single Moms ~ 5 Tips You Must Consider
Me at my PhD Ceremony

Before we get into the tips, I want to tell you a little something about how I went into my graduate programs so that you can see how my life took shape.  I do not want to sit up here and tell you that it is going to be an easy road and that it is going to be peaches and cream because that it simply not the case.  It is going to be hard, it is going to take planning, and it is better that you accept that now.

I think to tell you otherwise would not be doing you justice and would be setting you up for unrealistic expectations, BUT with that being said going in with a plan and with clear expectations knowing that you will not be in school forever is the best way that will lead you to success.  It is the best way to keep you from getting overwhelmed. Going back to school as a single parent means that there is a lot of dedication and preservation.

Which by the way, I did a inspirational video on my YouTube channel, that you can watch below of my entire journey  click here to read the full story on the inspiration behind the video.  Last but not least don’t forget to subscribe to my channel. 

1. Single Moms Going Back To School And How To Go Back To School As A Single Mom ~ Consider Online School

A great way on how a single mom can work and go back to school is to consider going to an online school.  This is one of the things that helped me the most when came to finishing school. Because I could continue to work and I could go to school.  I know that online schools can have the stigma of not being as a good. But they are.  Even Harvard has online classes in this day and age, so if it is good enough for Harvard then it should be good enough for you.

I went to an online school for both my Master’s and my PhD.  They were both accredited programs and I was able to become a National Certified Counselor because my school met the accreditation standards. And they met the accreditation standards for other programs such as licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapist, and even school counselors.

Just because you are going to an online school does not mean that your education is going to suffer.  Often times it can be a little harder because you really have to push yourself, be a self-starter, and have great time management skills.  But for the single mom going back to school, online school can be ideal because you can do the work when you want to. Meaning that you can do the work after your kids are sleeping or whenever you have free time.

That means that you do not have to find a baby sitter just to attend classes and if you are working mom you can have the flexibility to get your work done around your work schedule. For me this did mean staying up later and getting less sleep to finish my home work.  So unless you have someone who is just going to provide for you entire life style then you may want to consider going to an online school and consider keeping your job.  Now before going to an online school here is what you MUST consider the following:

Single Moms Going Back To School And How To Go Back To School As A Single Mom

2. Single Moms Going Back To School And How To Go Back To School As A Single Mom ~ Remember When Going Online…

Remember Accreditation:  As I said before, with me being in the mental health field in ordered to be licensed or certified, the program you attend has to be accredited.  There were plenty of people I knew that chose an online program that was not accredited and that lead to them finishing years of a program and not being able to get licensed.

That would be like going to a non accredited law school or medical school and then graduated and finding out that you cannot sit for the bar to be a lawyer or become a doctor because your school did not meet the standards. Meaning that you just wasted your time and money. This is true for programs like nursing, counseling, and other things.  Make sure you check into this before hand.

 Curriculum:  Many online schools have the curriculum posted. Before I enrolled I looked at  the curriculum and what was requested. For my program as with the requirements of a counseling program I had to do 3 in person residencies that were not in state, it is best to know this so you can plan ahead money wise and child care wise.  Look to see what the classes are, if you want to take them, if you feel you can pass them, and if you feel the program will help you achieve your goals.

Also look to see how long you will be going. For the counseling program, one must go a minimum of 2 years per the school and per the state to be licensed as counselor.  Ask yourself is this a commitment you are willing to make.  Is there an internship requirement (for me there was) and can you get paid for it (for me I could not) all these are things you have to consider if you are a single mom going back to school and plan for money wise well before you start so that nothing will sneak up on you.

3. Single Moms Going Back To School And How To Go Back To School As A Single Mom ~Child care

I understand that going to an online school is not for everyone. I understand that you may people want to go to an in person school but I think that one of the main single parents in college challenges is finding child care.  If you must go to a school in person then finding a school that provides child care can be your best friend.  Often time smaller schools or community colleges offer free child care or low cost child care as long as you are in class while the childcare is being provided.

Bigger universities offer childcare and may give you priority, however they may not always be free. This is something that you need to ask for and plan for before hand.  Do not just assume just because a college has child care on campus that your kid can get into that child care.  You want to  know the hours of operation, do they have a wait list, how much is the cost, and then you have to plan your classes around that.  If your child is in child care else where, then this is fine but once again plan for that.

Even in undergrad my latest class ran ended at 9:30 pm meaning that if you plan of taking later classes you need to make sure that the current childcare is open that late and you can get to the childcare before they close and to pick up your child and that you are not going to be too exhausted to do that.  You have to plan out your school day and child care in a way that his cohesive and seamless, not in a way that is going to leave you frustrated.  If you need extra money then it may be beneficial for you to check out my video down below.

4. Single Moms Going Back To School And How To Go Back To School As A Single Mom ~ Community College

For single moms going back to school don’t limit yourself to just a bachelors degree because community colleges have come up in the world. Back in the day community colleges only had a two year degree and now that is not the case, some community colleges even offer a bachelor’s degrees. The great thing about a community college is the cost. They cost way less and they offer a bachelors degree in way less time and they can tend to be more flexible.

Community college offer certifications and you can get a great paying job just by going to community college for a year, if your dream is to get a bachelors degree in this day and age you can do that at a community college and still save money, or you can go to community college for a few years and transfer to a bigger university.

As many community colleges may partner with larger universities and have guaranteed admission once you finish at the community college.    If you do not want to rack up a bunch of student loans or are on a budget, then community college may be the way to go. As a single mom who is going back to school here are some things you may want to consider when it comes to community college.

5. Single Moms Going Back To School And How To Go Back To School As A Single Mom ~ What Do You Want To Do

Can what you want to do be accomplished with an associates degree? There are some community college degrees that prepare you to enter into the workforce right away. For example the following degrees are offered at a community college and you can get a sustainable job with decent income or in some cases a great income with these associate degrees.  So think of what you want to do, do you want to start your own business, work in a certain field and get experience and go back to school later, or only want to go to school for two years and not 4 or 6.  All that comes into play for single moms going back to school.

  • Broadcasting
  • Cardiovascular Sonography
  • Medical Assisting
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Anethesia Technology
  • Legal Assistant/Paralegal
  • Hospitality Management
  • Culinary
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Certified Nursing Assistant
  • Registered Nurse
  • Wedding Planning
  • Event planning 

6. Single Moms Going Back To School And How To Go Back To School As A Single Mom ~ Before going back to school as a single mom please do Your Research

For single moms going back to school you want to try to pick a major that has a good outlook career wise and also something that you enjoy, I should say that too.  But do not get so caught up in choosing something that you enjoy that you go back to school for something that is VERY unrealistic that you are not going to get a job in or there the job market is not in demand for what you are getting a degree in.

After you graduate you will want to get a job with a decent salary as soon as possible.  You will also want to get into a field that has a great job out look and not one that is going to be replaced with computers in the next year (see my blog here). Try to get a jump start on your career by getting a job that is related to your major while you are in school.

This can help you land a higher paying job once you graduate and give you great hands on experience. It will also help you demand a higher salary and make you a more desirable candidate as well.  Doing your research consist of determining job outlook on your career field.  There is no reason to get into a job that has to due with DVD, cassette tape, or VHS productions because those things do not exist in our world today.

But degrees like an MBA, nursing, or in a computer field are very versatile and you will more than likely always be able to find a job.  Also, research jobs you can apply for while you are in school, internships (that are paid if you can) that will give you a job when you graduate. And do this before you start school, so that you have a better understanding of what your salary will look like once you get your degree.  For example, it may be better to get an MBA if you want to go in business as oppose to getting a Master’s in interdisciplinary studies if you want to go into business.  You can watch my video down below on how to master your job search.

Make sure before you dive in school the major is something that you want to do long term. The last thing you want is to go back to school and get into pre-law only to discover that you do not want to be a lawyer.  What a waste.  Check out my blog on how to pick a career based on your personality.  If you are unsure about what you want to do, then once again chose versatile degree that will give you many options.

A mass communication degree is good in many areas, or human resources, business are all degrees that you can choose multiple career paths. If you choose to be a nurse, then you are pretty much stuck in that field.  A mass communication degree may afford you  more opportunities.  You can also check out my single mom level up story below to where I talk more in detail about how I went back to school.

7. Single Moms Going Back To School And How To Go Back To School As A Single Mom ~ Choose A Field Your Already In

I wrote about this in my how to stop being underemployed post and my why you are getting past up for a promotion post. When you are a single mother then it is highly likely that you are already have a job or are in a career. Going back to school and getting a degree should be the leverage that you need to get a promotion in your current field and it should be a lot easier for everything to pay off for your highest good.

  • First, when you graduate it is a lot easier for you to get a promotion at your current job.
  • Second, it is a lot to demand more money and get better job if you have both the experience and the degree. 
  • Third, the company you work for is more likely to offer tuition assistance or work with you on your schedule if they feel the education you are getting will help you do better at your job or benefit the company because what you are learning.  

8. Single Moms Going Back To School And How To Go Back To School As A Single Mom ~ Be Real With Yourself & Make No Excuses

I touched on this earlier in the post but you have to be real with yourself in what this required.  Single moms going back to school is not an easy task.  I have know that some single moms have tried to go back to school and then they drop out.  That is not to judge them or anything but I think that many people leap before they look and then they fail.  For single moms going back to school it sounds nice and inspirational doesn’t it?

But then when the going gets tough in comes the excuses and then comes the quitting and then comes the money wasted on the classes that were never finished. And when you ask why, the single mom wants to go on about how challenging it is, how she has a kid, and how she couldn’t do it.  YES, it is challenging. Go in expecting that and go in expecting that you will finish school, do well, have good time management, and do not make excuses as to why you cannot.  The only person that will hurt is you.

Remember why you wanted to go back to school and if you choose to not finish then you will stay exactly where you are. So you have a choice to make, to grind for a little while OR to grind, get tired, stop, make excuses, then start again, and make excuses again wasting time energy and money and not getting anywhere.  So choose.

There are my tips for single moms going back to school. But the best tip that I can give you as a single mom who has gotten two degrees is that you can do it and do not give up. The reward that you will feel once you have accomplished this along with the career opportunity will be well worth the temporary struggle you felt while you were in school. The reward is the money, the life, and the income that you will make when you are able to give your child and yourself the life you want.

If you know someone who could use this information then feel free to share this post with them.

Did you know that I have a book specifically for single moms? To know more about my No Nonsense Single Mom’s Devotional then click here. Also click the picture below to Join my email list Sophie-stication Nation and get the first few chapters for free.  Click here or the picture below.

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