Being a single father can be both one of the most challenging and most rewarding jobs in the world. Add to this the fact that you might want to go back to school to expand and improve on your learning and education and life can become incredibly complicated, incredibly quickly.
However, the important thing to remember if you are one such single father looking to get back in to higher education is that it can absolutely be done with minimal impact of the other important elements of your life. Incorporating school in to the mix will only continue to open up more and more opportunities for you and your family. So make a plan and find the motivation to make it work.
To help get you started, here are a few tips for how to go back to school as a single father.
Understand The Obstacles
One of the key factors in setting you up for a successful journey in adult education is that you completely understand all of the obstacles that may be put in front of you. Yes, it is true that odds are stacked against you from the start. Being a single parent pursuing further education, the financials might not be ideal. You will most likely be working a full time job as well as bringing up your family, but this does not mean that you cannot do it or that you shouldn’t try at all. You will no doubt find that a lot of colleges tend to cater to full time, younger students in their schedule flexibility and their type of support. But with the right determination and the right help around you, there certainly are plenty of opportunities out there for a single father to re-enter education and make a better career for himself.
Look For Help
You will not be able to do this all on your own; this is a simple fact. In order to be able to succeed in raising a young family alone and also attend a college, you are going to have to utilize all and any help that becomes available to you during this time. Fortunately, in today’s ever changing and evolving society, several colleges and institutions are making their services much more available to non-traditional students. For example, some colleges even boast on campus accommodation that is specifically designed for single parent families of which the parent is studying at the school. Things like on-campus day care and subsidized meals for children of students are also available in certain institutions. These can be seen as signs that better things are yet to come countrywide.
In a broader sense, singles fathers can turn to the internet to look for help. Online forums are a wonderful environment to meet and communicate with single parents across the country. They are facing exactly the same obstacles as you, and they may be able to give you some much needed nuggets of wisdom to keep you on top of things.
If you are not lucky enough to have on campus childcare, then finding care for your kids whilst you are away studying is one of the primary goals. The help you get from a babysitter or nanny will allow you to focus on your studies when you have to.
Make A Schedule
Time management is a skill that all single parents need to master in their everyday family lives. When you add college to the mix it becomes even more important. If you can master the art of planning out an entire week before it has even started, then you are going to have a much easier time parenting and studying together than if you tended to make every decision last minute. Having a clear schedule in mind for the beginning of any given week will ensure that you don’t miss any important appointment in your family life or in your studying life.
Learn To Say No
When you are both a single parent and a student, you have to learn to say no to demands from family, friends and others that are going to be detrimental to keeping your working routine. If something isn’t going to be helpful to your kids or to your studying efforts, then these years are not going to be the ones where you can accommodate the wishes of others. You need to be strict with yourself.
To ensure a healthy balance between your family life and your studies, it’s important to keep a good line of communication open between you and your children. It is equally important to keep communication up to date with your college professors. The more they know about your personal situation, the less likely they will be to impose on you any tasks or demands that you will not be able to meet.
Apply For Grants Or Aid
Having the correct financial situation to be able to raise a family and get an education is something that can be very tough to achieve, but there are procedures in place that could be helpful to you as a single father. As part of your learning application process, check out if there are any special grants for singles parents that you might be entitled to. Also, you can apply for financial student aid if you are deemed an acceptable recipient. One perfect way to apply for grants is to fill out a FAFSA application form that is available free of cost at FAFSA.ed.gov.
Stay On Track
Ultimately, if everything else falls in to place, the key factor that is going to allow you to succeed in this life decision is for you to force yourself to stay on track. No doubt there will be several bumps in the road. When the times are tough, just think about how many opportunities you will have opened up to you and your family if you complete you higher education and become qualified for an entirely new class of employment. Have faith in your own abilities both as a father and as a student, you can do this!