BY HEATHER KENNERY
The majority of careers available today require post-secondary education. This is why adults are putting their knapsacks back on. They are trying to improve their financial situation while also achieving a career goal.
A 2010 study done by www.collegesontario.org found that 61 per cent of college students are over the age of 21. This means that people with children are also upgrading their skills by going back to school.
While all students know the pressures of keeping up a high GPA and how that can eat away at your social calendar, imagine having a child drawing rainbows all over your textbooks while you study.
This is a reality for many parents who reenter the post-secondary world. Jumping between classes and play time, parents have to find a balance between being a “mommy” or “daddy” and being a student.
Chelsea Arnott is one of those parents.
She is a second-year Conestoga College student in the office administration, executive program, and is also a 24-year-old single mother.
Arnott decided to go back to school so that her son could have a brighter future. Being the sole provider, she realized that college may take away from the time they get to share together, but in the long run it will give them financial security and a better life. Though Arnott said keeping the scales balanced can be overwhelming, she tries to enjoy the moments she shares with her son after school is out for the day.
“When I pick him up from day care, to when he goes to bed, it is his time with me,” said Arnott.
Juggling both school and a young boy, Arnott has some tips for parents who are thinking of going back to school. “Organization, good daycare, taking advantage of in-class time, keep on top of all work and make sure to spend time with your kids as well.”
Having determination to succeed in school is a great goal, but how are parents able to handle the financial burdens too? Since fall 2011 the average tuition cost for an undergraduate has risen five per cent across Canada, according to a Sept. 12 CBC article. With tuition constantly on the rise, parents who are returning to school can expect to feel their pockets emptying too, but there are financial aid options.
Student loans and OSAP can help cover the cost of schooling based on the average salary of yourself or your spouse. For those people who are in higher need, grants and scholarships are available. Not only can you find scholarships for programs of study but there are also specific ones based on living circumstances.
At www.scholarshipcanada.com you can easily search for scholarships that would apply for yourself, as well as multiple scholarships for single parents.
Getting support from family and friends for this transition in life is essential, but keeping that piggybank clanging is just as important.
BY HEATHER KENNERY