NORTH DENVER TRIBUNE. FEBRUARY 25, 2013. Serving as a role model to their children is a key driver for parents to return to school
Many parents in America are considering higher education to not only help them get ahead in the workplace, but to also set a good example for their children. According to a recent survey from University of Phoenix®, parents are twice as likely as non-parents (60 percent compared to 30 percent) to consider going back to school.
Parents who have plans to head back to school cite salary (60 percent), personal achievement (51 percent) and the desire to make their family proud (46 percent) among the primary factors in deciding if they want to go back to school. Eighty-one percent of parents believe a degree is important in today’s job market.
“It is never too early or too late for either a parent or a child to realize the importance and value of earning a post-secondary education,” said Dr. Meredith Curley, Dean of the College of Education at University of Phoenix. “The University has always been dedicated to providing the access to education that is needed by working adults with families. Evening classes, flexible scheduling, curriculum that reflects the workplace, campus and online classes and the ability to enroll throughout the year, are some of the things that make it possible for adult learners to thrive in the classroom.”
Do as I Say … And As I Do
Nearly four-in-ten (39 percent) parents in America say demonstrating to their children the importance of higher education is key to the decision to earn their own degree. Perhaps this is why two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans with children say they are currently or will take an online class to advance their careers compared to 38 percent without children.
Despite today’s difficult economic climate, nearly nine-in-ten (88 percent) parents say they will encourage their children to pursue a college degree immediately after high school – either full-time or part-time while they work.
University of Phoenix College of Education offers the following tips for heading back to school as an adult and talking to children about education:
1. It is never too early to talk to children about education and careers
Many educators are increasingly encouraging career preparation earlier in students’ education and tying real world activities to classroom learning. Even in elementary schools, teachers are increasingly focused on the real world applications for concepts learned in class. It is never too early to talk to children about long-term education and career goals and help them explore these interests with education-focused projects. Parents can also take a career-centric approach to their own education.
2. Take a career-centric approach to education
“Whether students are heading to college for the first time or going back to school to advance their careers, it is important that they approach their education with the end in mind,” said Curley. “Students who research specific career paths are able to approach their coursework and projects with perspective and can better translate what they learn in the classroom to the workplace. Working adults and parents in particular should consider putting the proper infrastructure in place to balance school, work and family obligations and to help ensure a successful transition to the classroom.”
3. Make education a family affair
A great way for parents to connect with children and instill the importance of education is to set a weekly family study time. Parents and children can sit down and plan the week’s deadlines, share what they are learning and do their homework. Seeing a parent dedicated to studies, sets an important precedent for a child in developing work ethic and setting priorities.
4. Gain the buy-in of key stakeholders.
Parents pursuing education are often balancing family, work and school obligations. It is important to discuss education goals and commitments with key stakeholders, including employers, friends and family members. These individuals can help students stay accountable and carve out important time for classwork and studying. Keeping bosses and family members apprised of deadlines can help students gain needed flexibility. Students who bring classroom learnings to the workplace to benefit their teams may also see career benefits.