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Tips for Non-Traditional College Students with Kids

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If you’re trying to get your required reading done but you’ve got to wake up at 5 AM to make it to work on time and your kids are watching TV with the volume turned up so loud you’re contemplating earplugs, you’re not alone. The National Center for Educational Statistics has found that the majority of today’s college students don’t fit the mold of traditional sorority girl or fraternity guy. USA Today reported that just about half are financially independent; 49% are enrolled part-time; 38% work full time; 27% have dependents of their own.

One of the major reasons that people wind up dropping out of school is that they become overwhelmed with the situation, so here are a few quick tips (in no particular order!) that can help you out as you throw college into your already jam-packed life.

1. Create a study schedule, and stick to it as best as you can. Let everyone in your family know that you’re going to be studying from 8 PM to 10 PM, shut yourself in the bedroom with your books, and don’t come out unless a major emergency arises.

2. Plan as far ahead as possible. If you know that your son’s school play is going to be held during your study time, or during one of your classes, adjust your schedule accordingly and figure out where you can make up the time lost.

3. Study with your kids! If your children are older, go to the library or a bookstore together with your backpacks. This won’t work well with toddlers that require constant attention, but even elementary school students will think it’s cool to do their homework as mom or dad do theirs!

4. Take your kids to school with you one evening. If there’s enough room in your classroom and your kids are well-behaved, take them with you and let them sit in on a class or two. Not only will they get to experience college for day, it will also help them realize why you need to work on assignments and study when you’re home together.

5. Find a buddy in each of your classes. Should you miss a class (and realistically, you probably will) it will be good to have someone that is willing to lend you their notes and explain what was discussed in class. You can return the favor if they have to be absent.

6. Have a reliable baby-sitter. If someone is staying with your kids while you go to school, make sure they’re trustworthy and reliable. If they are constantly late, making you constantly late, it’s time to find a new sitter.


Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.

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