Single Mother Higher Education College Struggles

Pursuing higher education is challenging for any adult returning to school after an extended absence from the classroom. It is sometimes intimidating to consider the idea of term paper deadlines, reading assignments and being called on by the professor in the classroom.

Single mothers have additional burdens that make pursuing a college degree feel impossible at times. Yet despite these challenges, many single mothers are finding their way back into the classroom.

Today’s universities offer much in terms of flexibility and assistance for single mothers that attaining that college degree is no longer out of reach. Single mothers have many struggles while pursuing higher education, but with the right balance of motivation and research to get the help you may need, college is entirely possible.

Here are a few of the larger barriers single mothers run into when it comes to going back to college:


As a single parent, time always feels at a premium. Between the kids’ schedules, most likely a job and other appointment commitments, tacking on an academic schedule often may feel impossible. It is common for exhaustion to kick in and this may make education feel as if it is an unattainable goal.

One way to get around this is to start slow. Colleges don’t require you go to school full time; instead you can take one or two courses at a time, whichever best fits your pace. Slow and steady almost always wins the race.

On the plus side, going back to school forces also strong time management. Many single mothers, after taking the educational plunge, find themselves actually able to jam in more to their schedule in a timely fashion. College has a strange way of getting people organized and once this hurdle is crossed, pursuing a degree is much easier.


Single mothers frequently have childcare issues. This often causes a struggle in going back to college because moms need to make sure their children are in the care of someone they can trust while they are away.

One solution to this is distance learning. Many of today’s accredited universities almost always offer some sort of online learning program. With this innovation, single mothers have the opportunity to attend college right from the comforts of their home computer.


The cost of education is high and many single mothers fear they cannot afford to maintain their household and pay tuition too. Money is a problem many single mothers worry about. The good news is that there are many scholarships and financial aid packages available to mothers who qualify.


It is often difficult for single mothers to juggle the role of parent, breadwinner and student. This multi-role is overwhelming at first and the thought of adding school on top of all the other responsibilities and commitments may seem next to impossible.

Many single mothers find comfort with the company of other single parents to commiserate with and this feeling of not being alone helps many moms realize that school is entirely possible.


Lack of self-confidence is one of the biggest hurdles single mothers struggle with in the quest for pursuing a college education. This is especially true for mothers that have been out of the workplace for extended periods of time while they were at home raising their children.

The benefits of returning to college is that once this initial struggle of making the decision to go back to school has been made, often it only takes one semester for a person to gain all the confidence they need to succeed.

As a single mother weighing over the decision of whether or not to go back to school, take comfort in the fact you are far from alone. There are many others like you experiencing the same anxieties, frustrations and stresses.

When making this important milestone of a decision, one of the best questions you can ask yourself is “how badly do you want it?”

Determination and tenacity to overcome adversity are the keys to succeeding over these struggles. If you discover attending college is something you really want, there is nothing to hold you back from pursuing your dreams.