Returning to college to reach new levels of success in life doesn’t have to remain a far-off dream. In fact, there are some steps you can take to accomplish this goal right now, even if you’re juggling other responsibilities like work or family.
According to an IWPR analysis, around 4.8 million college students are raising children at the same time they’re attending school. Some of these adult students were even working too! In Mississippi, 44% of female students work while attending school while 31% are parents.
C2C is a unique program specially designed to help busy adults just like you return to college to earn their degree. With the right focus, organization, and a few tweaks to your schedule, there’s a better chance that you will also be able to fit school into your life to achieve a better future.
Here are some valuable strategies that can help you manage all your responsibilities while still meeting your potential in school.
Tips for managing all your responsibilities
- Find gaps in your schedule to finish schoolwork - With work and kids, you probably don’t have large gaps in your daily schedule for fitting in schoolwork. The key is to find smaller 15-30-minute breaks and string these together throughout the day. For example, you could finish some work on your commute to and from school or when you wait in the parking lot to pick your kids up from school. By taking advantage of these smaller gaps, you can maximize your time without stealing attention away from work or your kids.
- Use the Pomodoro Technique to improve productivity - Forcing yourself to stay focused on a single task for over an hour can actually lead to a decrease in productivity. It’s much more effective to break down large tasks into smaller chunks through a trick known as the Pomodoro Technique. Essentially, you’ll work in 25-minute bursts, take a short five-minute break, and repeat for as long as you need. These breaks help keep your mind sharp and focused when working on the task at hand.
- Break up bigger tasks - The larger items on your to-do list often eat up more of your day than necessary because of the stress and worry these tasks cause. A great way to handle these bigger responsibilities more efficiently is to break them down into smaller, more manageable sections. For example, if you have a longer paper to write, you can conduct the research one day, create an outline the next, and split up the writing over a few days too.
- Stick to the “two-minute rule” - As a busy adult, you have responsibilities thrown your way throughout the day. While it’s tempting to push these unplanned tasks off to the side and focus on what’s actually on your to-do list, it’s not the most effective way to manage your time. The “two-minute rule” says if you come across a task that will take two minutes or less, go ahead and do it. The idea is that you’ll end up wasting more time by putting all of these smaller tasks off until later.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help - One of the worst things you can do is assume you’re alone in this sea of responsibilities. Whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Do you need your mother-in-law to watch the kids for an hour? Say so. Do you need some help understanding that new theory? Reach out to your professor or a fellow student. No matter what the problem is, reach out and you’ll find someone willing to help.
C2C Coaches make the difference
Hundreds of students have already returned to finish their degree with support from the C2C Program. While there are several advantages to the program, many conversations with former and current students suggest that it is the C2C Coaches that have the greatest impact. These dedicated experts are your secret weapon for going back to school. They’ll help you with anything from reviewing your transcripts and choosing the right classes to determining the quickest path to graduation and preparing for your career.
Here are some ways in which a dedicated C2C Coach will help you realize your dream of completing a degree:
Flexible assistance: Whether you’re raising kids, holding down a full-time job, or both, C2C Coaches have the flexibility to work around your busy schedule. Need to schedule a last-minute meeting in the evening? No problem! Only have time on the weekends? Your C2C Coach is there for you. They’ll even help you pinpoint resources, tools, and services that can further support your return to school.
Fast-track planning for graduation: C2C Coaches aren’t just interested in helping you return to school; these experts are dedicated to finding your quickest path to graduation. They’ll make use of credits you’ve earned in the past and your work experience to speed up the process. Here’s how Carlos D. Wilson, Ph.D., a C2C Coach from Jackson State University explains it: “Any time we can tell someone that they don’t have to take any more coursework, and are eligible to walk across the stage with the next graduating class… this is why I love this program.”
Personalized support: Non-traditional students with children and a job often worry their busy lifestyle won’t mesh with the standard college offering. Instead of applying a one-size-fits-all approach that might only work for a handful of students, C2C Coaches work one-on-one to meet the personal needs of each student. This way, even adult students running around with little munchkins and holding down a full-time job can find a solution that works for their lifestyle.
Accurate and timely answers: With so many tools, resources, and opportunities, it’s not easy to keep track of everything your college has to offer. Instead of having to spend days tracking down the right contact to get a response, a C2C Coach acts as your one-stop shop for important information. As Shaquita Hopson, a C2C Coach from Meridian Community College, explains, “If someone has to talk to multiple people and jump through too many hoops, it gets really frustrating...my job is to do as much of that stuff for them as possible. That’s one of the great things about the C2C program.”
Higher education is changing for the better
In the past, college was mainly set up for young adults who were living near campus, weren’t working full-time, and didn’t have families to care for. Of course, non-traditional students who didn’t line up perfectly with these descriptions were still allowed to attend, but there weren’t many resources to help these busier students find success. It was a sink-or-swim experience without much support.
Fortunately, some major social and technological changes have created a shift in what universities and community colleges are offering their students. Today, non-traditional students have many resources to help complete their degrees around their major responsibilities including online courses, nighttime classes, career centers, dedicated coaches, and employee education benefits.
It’s more common for adult students with families and jobs to return to school. In fact, around 40% of undergraduates work at least 30 hours. In addition, over one-fourth of all undergrads are raising kids while attending classes.
These reassuring numbers are green lights signaling to adult students like you that returning to college with a family and a job is possible. Millions of students are able to make it happen, and that means you can too! All you have to do is take that first step.
C2C can make the transition easier
The C2C Program is the bridge connecting you with the resources you need to succeed at college. It’s designed specifically for Mississippi adults who want to return to school to finish their degrees. All offerings are catered to help busy adults gain the focus, confidence, and time they need to reach brighter horizons with a new degree. Our C2C Coaches are with you every step of the way from registration all the way until graduation. With the C2C Grant, you may qualify for financial support to help cover tuition costs.
Get in touch with a C2C representative today to see if you’re eligible for the program.