StraighterLine Reports Tips for Moms Going Back to School

Some useful tips for moms going back to school

What does a working mom need to consider when exploring the possibilities of an online education? Here are seven things to look into:

  1. It is important to consult with your employer. Not only can they tell you how they regard a particular school, but also they can offer advice as to what classes may help you get ahead. They might even have tuition assistance programs for their employee’s education.
  2. Before you sign up for any classes, you will need to check out a school’s credentials. Is it accredited, or can one transfer credits earned there to an accredited institution? Do they help you understand the credit transfer process, or offer credit transfer assistance? It is vitally important to steer clear of degree mills (this can be as big a problem with traditional colleges as with online colleges). Search the Internet for reviews of any online college you are considering.
  3. You must consider the expenses. Education doesn’t come cheap. Even online. The University of Phoenix website puts the cost for a 3-credit Arts & Science course at $1650 plus $90 for materials. Traditional colleges with online programs can run even more. Tuition for the new online MBA program from Kenan-Flagler Business School at University of North Carolina is $89,000 for a two-year program.8 Unlike UNC, an online school is generally a lot cheaper than a classroom school, but it isn’t free. So shop around and weigh the costs along with the potential benefits, and go into it with your eyes open.
  4. Also consider non-accredited institutions such as StraighterLine for courses that can be transferred to partner schools. At $99 per month and $39 per 3- or 4-credit course, you can get up to two years’ worth of college credit for under 10% of the cost of a good online university.
  5. Be sure to transfer any college or advanced placement credits you may already have. Not only is it of limited use to repeat courses, but it will needlessly cost precious money – and precious time – as well. It may even be possible to get credits for certain types of work experience.
  6. Once enrolled in an online college, be sure to check out what they have to offer. There are all sorts of help you can get, including supplementary material, counseling, and contact with instructors or even fellow students if you have any questions.
  7. Check out scholarship options. There is no age restriction for federal scholarships, and there are a whole lot of private-sector possibilities as well. Your school or job may have suggestions, and be sure to search the Internet. But, again, proceed with caution. Some schools, have gotten in trouble for questionable practices with the SEC, such as allegedly improperly cancelling loans, leaving students liable for courses they didn’t even take.

And there are a few very down to earth considerations as well. Loki Morgan, a working mother, artist, blogger, and MBA student, offers the following practical advice for moms going back to school: 9

  • Make sure your computer is up and running and will handle the requirements of your chosen school.
  • Get familiar with the learning software the school uses. Mind your schedule and keep up with your quiz and exam dates.
  • Log on every day – there can be time-sensitive messages waiting, and your professors will take notice.
  • Set yourself a distraction-free regular schedule. Yes, your schedule is flexible, but you need to make sure you set aside enough time to complete your assignments.
  • Network! Use the school forums and participate in work groups. This will not only sharpen your presentation skills, but it can get you help if you need it.

Breaking the barriers

There is a lot to overcome. But with initiative and determination, there is every chance of success. Jurgen Hilke is director of distance learning for Frederick Community College, which offers both online and traditional classes. He emphasizes the importance of taking full advantage of available academic and motivational support. But at Frederick, the chances of success are good. 70% of Frederick Community College’s online students are female, and over half of these are working mothers. The success rate for women is 81% to 84% per semester, which is less than 2% below the traditional classroom-based rate.10

With all of the responsibilities you already have, taking online college courses can be very taxing. But success brings rewards. Not only can you gain professional advantages, but personal fulfillment as well, for both yourself and your children.


8 John A. Byrne, Online MBAs heading to the ivory tower, Fortune, 1/27/2011 http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2011/01/27/online-mbas-heading-to-the-ivory-tower/?section=magazines_fortune

9 Loki Morgan, Ten Tips for a Successful Online Education, AssociatedContent, Apr. 13, 2009 http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1639076/ten_tips_for_a_successful_online_education_pg2.html?cat=4,/p>

10 Keith L. Martin, Online courses aid working mothers, Maryland Community Newspapers Online, Gazette.net, Apr. 3, 2008 http://www.gazette.net/stories/040308/newmnew63647_32356.shtml