Scholarship Process for Single Parents
by Kathleen Marie
Attention single parents! Have you been thinking of
returning to college
to earn that bachelors degree you temporarily
postponed in favor of marriage, children, a job, or all three? Are you tired of not being taken seriously
because you do not have a degree in your field? Are you still postponing that degree because you think you
are too old, classes are too hard, or college is too
Well, wait no more! Colleges are seeing a big
increase in the number of older, returning students
on their campuses, and many of these students have children.
These students are realizing their dreams of graduating
from college to go on to a more satisfying and better-paid
career. Its too risky to quit my job,
you say to yourself. Youre right! Its a
risk, but think of going to college for four years as
a business deal. You are an entrepreneur who is willing
to invest your talents and four years of your time.
All businesses take risks, if they feel the risks will
pay big dividends.
What are the dividends you can expect after four years
in college? You will gain a more rounded view of the
world, catch up on current events, have professors guide
you on your way, but most important of all, you will
earn more money at a position you enjoy.
Well, you say, thats all fine
and good in theory, but what about putting it into practice?
Well, that's what this article is about. Returning to
college and supporting yourself and your family can
be compared to running a home business. Start by choosing
from several methods to support yourself and your family:
- Work full- time and attend college full- time
- Work full- time and attend college part- time
- Work part- time and attend college full- time
- Work part- time and attend college part- time
- Dont work and attend college full- time or part-
You will need to assess your own individual wants and
needs when choosing. I found that it was possible to
succeed as a full- time student and single parent of
four children. I first enrolled in a community
college and worked part-time and went to school
part-time. This was the slow approach. The next semester,
I chose the last option. I quit working and attended
college full-time. My main concern at this time was
finances. How were the children and I going to eat?
For the next year, I received AFDC (Aid
to Families with Dependent Children) and food stamps,
but I knew there had to be a better way. By my third
year in college, I was self-supporting through grants,
loans, and scholarships. This was accomplished through
trial and error. Following are several suggestions that
may save you time and energy in your return to college.
Registering in a university takes time and perseverance,
so dig in and start early. Fall semesters usually start
in late August or early September, and Spring semesters
usually start in January. Whether you plan to begin
classes in Fall or Spring, begin the application process
six months ahead of time. Find out from the university
how long the process will take. There is usually an
application form to be completed, a registration fee
to be paid, and official transcripts that you must request
from either your high school or a university if you
have attended one before. There may or may not be an
entrance exam required.