5 Tips for Going Back to School as a Single Parent

By Staff Writer Published on June 17, 2019

I know a lot of parents are in the same situation I’m in right now: I am a single parent who recently returned to school to earn her associate’s degree. I’m returning to school to not only better my life, but to make life better for my son, too.

It is wonderful to know that I will have a degree in a short amount of time and be able to start working and stop stressing financially. But I had to prepare myself for the challenge of going back to school because it is so hard to leave my son with a babysitter. I try to remember that it’s only for a short while.

This challenge and how I’m overcoming it is teaching me how important my education is to me. It is reminding me that my sacrifice will help both my son and me in the long run. If you’re in a similar situation, here are 5 tips to make going back to school easier for you and your family:

  1. Gain support from family and friends.

    • Share your goal of earning a degree with your family and friends. Having a strong support system will be vital to your endurance when things get difficult. They can remind you why your decision is worth it and may be willing to help you with your family’s needs, as their circumstances allow. Many schools also have support systems and help for “nontraditional students.” There may be scholarships for single parents as well. Ask someone in your school’s student services department if they offer such services.
  2. Work hard and stay positive.

    • It’s no secret that a college degree requires hard work. Staying positive as you work to accomplish your goal will help you handle your workload. Plus, the harder you work, the more satisfaction you will have from your efforts. Don’t get down on yourself if your grades aren’t perfect. Just keep trying to do your best.
  3. Keep your eye on your goal

    • In stressful moments, you may be tempted to quit your program but don’t let yourself. Focus on the long-term goal of having an education that gives you the skills to hold a full-time job and provide for your family and remember in hard moments that the stress of your schooling won’t last forever and the return will be worth it.
  4. Remind yourself how important your education is to you, and of the future benefits it will bring to your entire family.

    • It can be easy to forget that you value education when you’re in the daily grind of tests and assignments. Remembering why you decided to go back to school in the first place can help you keep moving forward. Reminding yourself that it’s not just for you but for those you love is perhaps one of the best ways to keep yourself motivated.
  5. Remember the benefits having a degree can bring

    • Having a degree can give you the knowledge you need to have greater success in your career. While it requires sacrifice in the present, there are many benefits that you will be grateful for in the long-run.


I have doubted myself and my decision to go back to school so many times, but being successful in class has made me very confident about my future. I go through good times, but I also go through bad times where I struggle just to finish school. My struggles and doubt will all pay off in the end, however, because it will better my life. I always try to remember that I am doing this for my son and myself!

If you want to return to school, the most important thing to remember is to stay strong and focused. Make sure you stay motivated by managing your time and staying disciplined. Remember to reflect on what benefits school can bring you—for me, it is security for my family. And remember to focus and commit yourself to achieving that goal!