Survival Tips For Single Parents In College In 2024

Being a single parent can be difficult. Combining it with college can be super demanding. So, here are some survival tips for you as a single parent in college to help you balance caring for the kids and your schoolwork as a student.

According to an analysis by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research Institute (IWPRI), more than one in every five college students are parents. That is, 22 percent of all undergraduates, or nearly 3.8 million students, are raising children while attending school.

Given the large share of parents who are students in college, promoting college success among them, including single parents, is also vital to achieving national and state goals to increase the number of adults with postsecondary credentials substantially.

In line with this, this article has been written to provide tips to help single parents succeed and survive in college. Also, you will find links to advocacy groups, help, & resources available for single parents in college.

Here is a table of what to expect.

Who Is A Single Parent?

According to Wikipedia, a single parent is a person who lives with a child or children and who does not have a spouse or live-in partner.

Reasons for becoming a single parent include:

  • Divorce
  • Break-up
  • Abandonment
  • Death of the other parent
  • Childbirth by a single woman
  • Single-person adoption.

A single-parent family is a family with children headed by a single parent.

It can be difficult to combine your single-parent family with attending college. In fact, for many single parents, earning a college degree may seem like an insurmountable feat.

So, to help you survive and excel academically as a single parent in college, we have developed some tips to help you.

Every student needs a guide. Check out these numerous tips for students available on our platform.

What Are The Survival Tips For Single Parents In College In 2024?

Certainly, no amount of advice could make being a single parent in college a simple experience. However, these survival tips will help you achieve a bit more balance.

In no particular order, here are the tips that will help you survive and succeed in college as a single parent:

  • Don’t Feel Guilty
  • Don’t Neglect Self-Care
  • Find A Support System
  • Evaluate Your Study Habits
  • Make Homeworks A Family Event
  • Consider Other Alternate Learning Options
  • Prioritize
  • Join Forces with Other Single Parents
  • Get Creative With Childcare
  • Plan Ahead For Emergencies
  • Create A Routine
  • Be Consistent With Rules And Discipline

#1. Don’t Feel Guilty

Schools generally require our time and attention. Due to this, many single parents feel guilty for even considering college.

As a single parent, it’s vital that you remember the short time you spend in college is just a fraction of your child’s life.

Also, the benefits you’ll enjoy upon completing your degree will be well worth the sacrifices you (and your child) make during school.

Therefore, explain to your child or children why you are going to school. Yes, they may miss you occasionally, but they will understand why you are doing it.

#2. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

You will be at your best for your kids only when you are healthy and relaxed. So, before anything else can be done, ensure that you adequately care for your needs.

Many parents tend to put their children’s needs first and theirs last, which often results in a never-ending cycle of exhaustion and feelings of inadequacy.

As a parent, take time to eat regularly and healthfully, get plenty of rest, and exercise whenever you can. Also, a short walk around the neighborhood will do you good as it helps your body get much-needed movement and fresh air.

Your kids depend on you, so ensure you are well-equipped and ready to take on that responsibility.

#3. Find A Support System

No man is an island, and no one stands alone. Everyone needs help occasionally, so as a single parent, ensure you have reliable help. Don’t try to be a superhero and do it all yourself.

All college students benefit from a support system; these relationships are essential for single parents. You need to find and set up your support system, including those who have always been your biggest cheerleaders.

Some probably care about you and your children and want to help you. Let them know what types of things would be most appreciated, when, and how often they will need help. Whether it’s bringing meals once a week, helping with rides to school, or giving you time to yourself.

You need people in your life who will encourage you to go the distance and help you get there. Remember that there is no shame in asking for help and accepting assistance from loved ones. 

You will be surprised to know more people are committed to your success than you probably realize. So, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

#4. Evaluate Your Study Habits 

Many things change once you start having children. In the same vein, the time and manner in which you studied before having a child will probably have to change as a single parent.

Try to find pockets of time that little impact quality time with your child to study. Always remember that school only lasts for a set period.

#5. Make Homeworks A Family Event

Always make out time for your kids as a single parent in college. If you have a child in school, do well to make studying and homework a bonding experience.

You can do your homework at the same time as your child. This way, you get to spend quality time with them, and in turn, they get a first-hand example of how to study appropriately.

Check out these 10 Homework Helper Apps For International Students

#6. Consider Other Alternate Learning Options

Nowadays, you don’t have to be physically present in a classroom to earn a degree, as most colleges and universities offer online programs. So you can take the classes at home and work around your schedule instead of having to be in the classroom at a specific time.

This, in turn, gives you more flexibility, convenience, and the freedom to be at home with your children.

#7 Prioritize

Generally, the top 4 priorities for most single parents in college are family, work, school, and sleep. Make sure you don’t ignore any of them, especially the final priority, sleep.

As a parent, you’re already used to functioning with little sleep. Combining this with college work may not cut it in on your sleep. However, your mind and body need more rest to function as a student. So, find times to grab a nap or two, as it’ll go a long way toward your sanity.

#8 Join Forces with Other Single Parents

You may sometimes feel left alone as a single parent in college. However, the statistics show that many others know exactly what you’re going through.

However, you can find single parents locally, through your children’s school, through extracurricular activities, online, or even through an app. In addition, many online communities can offer support and advice through Facebook or sites like Single Mom Nation.

Typically single moms make up most single parents; however, there are more than 2.6 million single dads in the USA.

Another great way to connect is through Meetup. Several single parents will be more than happy to arrange babysitting swaps, playdates, and carpools.

So, ensure you join forces to form mutually beneficial relationships.

#9 Get Creative With Childcare

Raising a child as a single parent with a single income is a challenge, especially with the high cost of daycares, nannies, and other conventional childcare services. However, there are more affordable options if you go a less traditional route.

So, if you have space and live in a college town, you can offer college student housing for regular childcare.

You can also swap kids with other single parents (like those you met in communities or meetups), so your kids can have friends to play with while the parents get time to themselves.

This makes the parents’ job much easier and a win-win situation for the children and single parents in college.

#10 Plan Ahead For Emergencies

Basically, as a single parent, you need to have a backup plan or two in emergencies.

Make sure you have a list of people you know you can call at a moment’s notice. This is because times will come when you need help, and knowing who you can rely on is essential.

Also, determine whether your area offers emergency babysitting services or a drop-in daycare.

Knowing that someone will be able to care for your child in an emergency can relieve one potential source of anxiety for you as a single parent in stressful situations.

#11 Create A Routine

Generally, routines are crucial for young children because knowing what to expect gives them a semblance of control. This is even more important for you as a single parent who combines college work with running the home.

For instance, life can seem extremely chaotic and unpredictable if your child has multiple caretakers or travels between homes.

So, establish a routine and schedule for your child as much as possible. The routine can include bedtime, before/after school, chores, meal times, and even a weekend routine, to mention but a few.

Also, remember having a routine does not mean things cannot change. Rather, it is merely a default schedule to fall back on when no additional events or activities occur.

Furthermore, when your children have a routine, they will be less resistant because they know what to expect. This will make the days run much more smoothly.

#12 Be Consistent With Rules And Discipline

As a single parent in college, ensure you are consistent with the rules and disciplinary measures you’ve set up for your children.

When your child has multiple caretakers, such as another parent, grandparent, or babysitter, make sure you clearly communicate how discipline will be handled.

If you share custody with your ex, talk to him/her and any other caretakers about the rules and the agreed-upon approach to discipline.

This is because when a child realizes that certain rules can be bent with certain people, he/she will use them to his/her advantage, causing additional issues with limits, behavior, and discipline down the road.

Advocacy, Help, & Resources For Single Parents In College In 2024

Because college is challenging for most students, many resources are available. However, many of these resources are not tailored for single-parent students or the issues many single parents face in college.

Not to worry, various resources are available for single-parent college students to support them.

Single Parent Advocacy Organizations

Many organizations have been established to assist single parents who are struggling. 

Here is a list of organizations that recognize how important it is for single parents to get an education and therefore focus only on helping those students. Click on any of them to know more.

  • Extended Family
  • Helping Hands for Single Moms
  • Parents Without Partners
  • Single Parent Alliance & Resource Center (SPARC)
  • Single Parents Alliance of America (SPAOA)

Help & Resources For Single Parents In School

The following resources are focused on helping college students who are also single parents:

For Food & Living Expenses

  • UC Berkeley’s Short-Term Emergency Loans
  • Montclair State University’s Red Hawk Pantry
  • Phillips Charitable Organizations


  • College of Saint Mary’s Mothers Living & Learning
  • Housing Choice Vouchers
  • National Low-Income Housing Coalition

For Childcare

  • State University of New York 
  • Child Care Development Fund
  • Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program

Mental Health

  • University of Houston’s Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Mental Health America
  • Mental
  • ULifeline
  • Rutgers University
  • National Center for State Courts (NCSC) – Marriage/Divorce/Custody/Support
  • FindLaw – Child Support

You may also like to see Organizations And Programs That Provide Help for Single Moms

FAQs On Survival Tips For Single Parents In College In 2024

Who is a single parent?

A single parent is a person who lives with a child or children and who does not have a spouse or live-in partner.
Here are the tips that will help you survive and succeed in college as a single parent:

1. Don’t Feel Guilty
2. Don’t Neglect Self-Care
3. Find A Support System
4. Evaluate Your Study Habits
5. Make Homeworks A Family Event
6. Consider Other Alternate Learning Options
7. Prioritize
8. Join Forces with Other Single Parents
9. Get Creative With Childcare
10. Plan Ahead for Emergencies
11. Create A Routine
12. Be Consistent With Rules And Discipline
Reasons for becoming a single parent include:

What can make someone a single parent?

2. Break-up
3. Abandonment
4. Death of the other parent
5. Childbirth by a single woman
6. Single-person adoption.


The article above highlights some survival tips that will help you balance caring for the kids and your schoolwork as a student and a single parent in college.

I hope this helps you in your decision-making.

Good Luck And Success!!!



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