If you are going back to school but you already have a career or you are a stay at home parent, learning a few tips and tricks to help you strike a balance between your career and college can be really helpful. Maybe you are going back to school because you want to expand your qualifications so that you can apply for another position in your company, or maybe you want to start a new career after being a stay at home mom or dad. Whatever the reason, balancing the demands of work, life, and college can be challenging, and the list below will help you design a plan for how to stay organized and stress-free after you go back to school.
1. Find a Great College or University
The first step in being able to balance your work life, home life, and college is to find a school that will fit into your schedule. Online classes usually work well for people that are working or taking care of children while going to school, but many schools also have night classes or other on campus programs that can help you transition into a campus based college environment.
2. Talk to Your Employer about Going Back to School
If you are currently employed, discuss your college plans with your employer and ask if they will work with you on your schedule. Many companies will help prospective students by giving them flexible scheduling around their class schedules as well as perhaps allowing for telecommuting on certain days of the week to make taking classes online or on campus possible.
3. Inquire about Financial Assistance Programs
Certain financial assistance programs may be available to help you pay for college, which can help take some of the financial burden of tuition, books, etc. off of you while you are furthering your education. There may be grants available that are applicable to your situation so make sure to also check on those as well as scholarship funds set up for people that are going back to school while working or as a stay at home parent. If your income is below a certain level, you may also qualify for Financial Aid at the college of your choice. Check with the financial aid department for additional information on regulations in your state for financial aid eligibility.
4. Perfect Your Time Management Skills
Time management is essential to balancing work, life, and college. Perfecting these skills will help you understand how to apportion your time so that you can complete all of your work, fulfill your employment and household duties, as well as find time for yourself. A few things that you can do to help manage your time more effectively include the following:
- Plan Your Activities for Each Day
- Take Care of Priorities First
- Ask for Help
- Take Your Time
- Say "No" to Any Tasks that are Not Essential
- Keep Distractions at Bay
- Eat a Healthy Diet and Get Plenty of Rest
- Make Sure to Take Breaks when You Need Them
5. Take Time for Yourself
One of the most important aspects of finding a good balance is to take time for yourself. Disconnect from all of your responsibilities for a while every day to relax and de-stress. Make an appointment to do something for yourself every week, such as get a manicure or a massage or enjoy your favorite hobby. Taking time for yourself can help you feel more centered while you are taking care of your daily responsibilities and will reduce stress from going back to school and juggling all of your other responsibilities.
If you are ready to begin your college search, fill out the form on this page to instantly connect with schools that are a good match for you!