In fact, research indicates that as many as 60 percent of online students are hardworking moms Ready to begin the next chapter of their lives. Former stay-at-home moms can be confident that they have what it takes to succeed in college and beyond, as research indicates that they bring useful skills to the table. Here are just five of the many qualities that make mothers valuable and successful college students.
Attending college straight out of high school can leave traditional students feeling uncertain and disconnected from long-term goals. Student mothers, on the other hand, tend to be more goal-oriented and confident about their educational aspirations. As shown on this infographic about working moms, mothers are looking to land jobs that are family-friendly, financially secure and meaningful. Having these clear-cut goals gives moms a competitive edge in the college setting. Additionally, adult learners with children are more likely to be proactive by participating in class and engaging in the professor’s discussions. This high level of focus is extremely beneficial when it comes to college success.
Ability to Multitask
Many mothers who are pursuing a college degree face the daunting task of juggling school responsibilities with raising a family. Some have the added responsibility of maintaining a full or part-time job. While their hectic lives might seem like a disadvantage, the Huffington Post reports that the focus of non-traditional students in the midst of this chaos shows an incredible capacity for multitasking and staying organized. When it comes to non-traditional students, moms are among the busiest, yet they frequently demonstrate the ability to show up to class, turn in assignments, and complete challenging degree programs. In recognizing the value of mothers as students, colleges are becoming increasingly mom-friendly by providing much-needed services such as daycare centers.
Maturity and Confidence
Being a parent forces individuals to mature quickly and to make important decisions with confidence on a daily basis. Research shows that this skill is highly conducive to succeeding in higher education. A 2011 study published in the Academy of Educational Leadership revealed that maturity is one of a non-traditional student’s greatest assets. One of the strongest ways in which maturity proved to be helpful was in the area of developing positive coping skills. Non-traditional students such as women with children were more likely to cope in healthy and productive ways, while traditional students more frequently turned to self-destructive means of coping. Student moms often possess a great deal of emotional intelligence, giving them the confidence and stamina needed to accomplish their educational goals. Additionally, their experiences with raising children and taking care of finances make moms extremely self-sufficient, which is essential to meeting the demands of higher education.
College programs from a variety of fields are eager to have mothers join their classrooms because of the diverse experiences they bring to the learning environment. Older women who go back to school have a unique perspective that can be highly beneficial to the college experience. The well-roundedness of the average student mother is valuable not only to her own learning, but to that of the entire classroom. The diverse knowledge moms bring to the college setting goes well beyond their experiences as mothers. Many moms going back to school have lived in a number of places, worked at a variety of jobs and endured a vast number of life-altering experiences. This can be particularly useful for mothers taking courses that require critical thinking and consideration of complex ideas. Many college professors report that these types of students are much more open-minded and capable of thinking outside the box.
Sense of Responsibility
Mothers have a wealth of experience when it comes to meeting deadlines, showing up on time and following through with commitments. This strong sense of responsibility gives student moms an advantage over younger students who are just beginning to know what it means to be an adult. Research also indicates that adult college students with children are less likely to allow social pressures to interfere with their coursework. The commitment college moms have to caring for their families and furthering their vocational success leads them to make responsible choices throughout their college careers.
While going back to school as a mom may seem intimidating, women should approach this endeavor with confidence. Many of the skills and characteristics gained through parenthood make mothers ideal candidates for succeeding in the world of higher education.
Image by SCC Spartanburg Community College from Flickr Creative Commons