5 Transferable Skills Parents in College Didn't Know They Already Have

parents in college skills

You know deep down that you’re not currently working the job you were meant to. You also know that the only thing standing in your way is a college education … but something keeps holding you back.

Your days are already busy enough juggling your kids, current job and other responsibilities – how will class and homework fit into the picture? What if you’re not prepared for the challenges you’ll face in the classroom?

Before making such a commitment, you need to be sure it’s the right choice for you and your family. You may think having a family puts you at a disadvantage, but parents in college actually have an arsenal of real-life skills that can give them a leg up in the classroom.

Believe it or not, all of those days spent calming temper tantrums and getting everyone out the door on time have been silently preparing you for your college career. Find out how you can leverage your parenting skills in the college classroom.

Double duty: Using parenting skills in the classroom

We connected with two parents who say their jobs as mom and dad helped propel them to academic success. We identified five skills you can transfer from your life as a parent to your life as a student.

1. Organization

You know that you need to have all your ducks in a row ahead of time if you want your family’s busy schedule to run smoothly. From packing lunches to coordinating carpools, you have plenty of experience making sure things get done on time.

Any student can tell you organization is one of the keys to success in the academic world—it’s even one of the top learning skills of the 21st century. Juggling papers, presentations and other homework is no small feat. A student who can keep track of their workload without letting any details fall through the cracks is poised for success in college.

2. Prioritization

Parents know they can’t do everything—at least not all at once. Between a preschooler who wants to wear a tutu every day and a toddler who won’t eat anything green, you’ve had plenty of practice picking your battles. You’re confident in your ability to accomplish the most important tasks without getting sidetracked.

Prioritization is a valuable trait for students facing multiple projects and deadlines. Luckily as a parent, you’re already skilled in the art of choosing what to tackle now and what can wait until later.

“I realized that not everything was the end of the world. I had to pick my battles for what really mattered,” says author and mother Dr. Froswa' Booker-Drew. Prioritization helps students take care of first things first without stressing about less urgent assignments.

3. Stress management

Your kids may be the light of your life, but they come with plenty of stressful situations. The next time your young one nearly gives you a heart attack by trying to “fly,” just remember that it’s good training for your college career.

Ask a student about a time she felt stressed, and she’ll tell you about finals week . . . and writing a 15-page research paper . . . and giving a group presentation . . . and fitting in an internship. It’s no secret that a college education comes with a lot of pressure. You can’t always avoid the stress, but you can learn how to handle it.

Having kids taught John Huntinghouse, father of three and blogger/content marketer for LDS Smile, everything he needed to know about coping with stress. Facing situations like his children’s surgeries taught him to deal with it instead of being overwhelmed by it. After everything he went through with his kids, “taking a final in accounting seemed relatively easy to deal with.”

4. Perseverance

Moms and dads who have potty-trained a toddler understand the importance of perseverance. Parenting offers plenty of opportunities for you to try, try … and try again, no matter how difficult the circumstances.

Students don’t always get things right on the first try. It’s tempting to give up when you’re revising a paper for the third time. Thankfully, perseverance keeps you going.

“In the classroom, it was so easy to get discouraged if research papers were not perfect,” says Brooker-Drew.  She didn’t let that discouragement keep her from pursing success, though. Raising her 10-year-old daughter had already taught her a thing or two about pushing forward when things get tough.

It’s a lesson that paid off: “In retrospect, the papers served as the foundation for something bigger. If I had given up, I would have not been able to endure when I had to prepare and write my dissertation,” says Brooker-Drew.

5. Adaptability

Even the best-laid plans aren’t immune to change when kids are involved. Parents know how important it is to be flexible. Adaptable parents can handle any type of change and use it to their advantage, both at home and in the classroom.

It pays for students to be flexible and open to change. Adaptable students can meet new people, adjust to a new professor and handle a last-minute schedule change without breaking a sweat.

Being able to take change in stride will make your college days much more peaceful—and your adaptability is a skill that will serve you well in the workplace, too.

Are you ready to take your parenting skills to the classroom?

Thanks to your parenting skills, you’re more prepared for a college career than you may have thought! Now that you know which skills came in handy for these parents in college, here are more tips for parents continuing their education.

Ashley Brooks

Ashley is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. She believes in the power of words and knowledge and enjoys using both to encourage others on their learning journeys

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