Why are some moms thinking about going back to college?  Many mothers are going back to school to change careers, increase the family income, get an advanced degree, or complete a degree program they started years ago. Regardless of your particular objectives, these tips can make it easier for you to go to college:

Counseling Services

If you’re still pondering your career path, the local community college in your area may offer free counseling services. Career counselors can assist you with the self-evaluation process and help you discover what education programs and careers are good fits for you.

Online Education Programs

Busy moms going back to school will appreciate the flexibility and convenience of online education programs. Also, schools with an online presence may offer a unique education program you’re interested in, perhaps one that is not available on the campuses of local colleges.

Various types of industry-specific training are available through online certificate, diploma, and associate’s degree programs. Specific job training is available online in fields such as technology, healthcare, business, hospitality, computers, criminal justice, and the trades.

Many communities, states, and regions offer diploma programs that are connected to current hiring needs. Find out about these programs in your area and search for similar programs online.

Most online associate’s degree programs can be completed in one or two years. Certificate programs are typically completed in a year or less and diploma programs can be finished in about a year, as well.

If you’re thinking about an online education, you’ll need to decide between an asynchronous and a synchronous program. Asynchronous online programs provide a lot of flexibility. Students interact with each other and with their instructors by posting on the Web at their convenience. In synchronous programs, on the other hand, students and instructors interact with each other at specific times. Moms with busy, unpredictable schedules may prefer asynchronous programs. However, students in synchronous programs usually feel more like they’re part of a learning community, and this can make learning more enjoyable for some people.

If you already went to college, you may be able to skip many core classes and get credit for them through advanced placement and credit examinations. College credit examinations are widely accepted by schools. Some colleges allow you to earn one-third or more of the credits needed for a degree. These examinations are available in over 150 subject areas.

Financial Aid

Take advantage of free scholarship search services. They gather information on a large number of awards and compare the scholarship restrictions to your characteristics. Based on the information you give them, these services provide lists of potential scholarships. You then decide which scholarships you want apply for.

There are numerous financial aid opportunities for moms going back to school. Also, some colleges and universities that offer online programs provide scholarships to online students.

Also check out the loans and grants listed at benefits.gov. They can be used by low-income families to pay for the following:

  • Counseling
  • Child care
  • Food
  • Education
  • Housing
  • Health insurance
  • Utilities

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) offers fellowships and grants just for women. The AAUW undergraduate scholarship web page provides information about AAUW educational funding in your local community.

The Jeanette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund provides scholarships to women who are trying to get a technical or vocational education, an associate’s degree, or their first bachelor’s degree. Women must be at least 35 years old and demonstrate financial need.

Women taking a bachelor’s degree program or graduate program in preparation for careers in engineering, engineering technology or computer science are eligible for scholarships provided by The Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

You can find out about your eligibility for federal aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Since 2007, the AARP Women’s Scholarship Program has provided scholarships to more than 500 women. You need to be over the age of 40, have a low-income, and enroll in a U.S. Department of Education accredited school or technical program to be eligible.

Look for additional scholarships at the specific subject scholarships web page provided by CollegeScholarships.org. The website also has a web page about scholarships for single mothers. This site is an excellent resource and offers some very good advice and information about scholarships for women.

With dedication and support from family members, getting a college degree is definitely achievable for busy moms.

Brian Jenkins writes about a number of different college and career topics for BrainTrack.com, including careers working in medical offices. He also contributes content to BrainTrack’s guide to online colleges.

Image source:  scholarshipsformoms.biz

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