Pursuing a Graduate Degree While Working Full Time and Raising a Family

Pursuing a graduate degree can be a difficult task in and of itself.  However, for people that are working a full time job and trying to raise a family, then school can get a little overwhelming.  However, it can be done.  Many graduates have balanced their personal life and their coursework with resounding success.

In order to keep everything straight without going crazy a person will need to be extremely organized as well as good at managing their time.  People that are parents and currently have a full time career are aware of the necessity of laying out a plan and sticking to it.  Those skills will be very helpful for completing your graduate studies.  Some schools are more welcoming to people in this type of situation and make it easier for people to succeed at finishing their degree.

Working Out Your Plan

One of the key ingredients to keeping on track with everything is to plan out as far ahead as you can.  Determining your work schedule, your class schedule, time for studying and research and time for your family will take some work and some detailed discussions.  It can be to your advantage to arrange your classes so that you are only traveling to school a limited number of times per week.  Better yet, you can take online classes and eliminate commuting all together.

You need to make sure that your employer as well as your spouse have pledged their full support to you.  Your employer may be able to push some duties or projects over to a co-worker to prevent you from working overtime.  Your employer may even have a current plan to help workers return to school through a tuition reimbursement plan.  At the same time your spouse could be handling more duties related to caring for your children and maintaining your home.

Many students prefer to attend classes online in order to add more flexibility to their schedule.  Many schools will give you the option to attend classes night or day depending on your individual needs and ability.  This allows people to work on their classes when they have the time.

Another important thing to consider is your financial situation.  You should be ready to handle the burden of tuition and costs, whether it is from your own funds or from grants and loans.  Don’t apply for graduate school without having a clear idea of the annual costs.

Caring for Your Children

Some people are stay at home parents and have the ability to attend online classes while also providing care for their children.  There are also women who learn they are pregnant during the time they are enrolled in classes.  This type of new pressure can be a lot to handle.

If you do find that you are pregnant, tell all of your professors immediately.  Letting them know well in advance will give them a chance to make any kind of modifications to work around your changes in schedule.  It is a good idea to get as much work completed before the baby is born.  Sitting in a hospital bed holding a new bundle of joy is not the time to study for an exam or finish up a research paper.

For the next few years your ability to manage your time and prioritize tasks will become even more important.  Ask your family and friends for some help if necessary.  Remember, you need to give some special time to your children but you also have to finish your school duties. School will not last forever.  If friends and family are not available ask one of your class mates.  They may be going through a similar situation and can recommend a reliable sitter.

Many schools are making changes to adjust to the increasing number of students who are also parents.  Some colleges have even made the effort to offer child care on site so that parents can literally bring their children to school with them and drop them off at the child care center.