Students in California community colleges are increasing in numbers, specifically in the Bay Area. With an increase in enrollments, the large number of students are coming from being laid off from their jobs, having children to provide for, attending college to provide a better life for their families, or simply enrolled to be a good role model for their children. Additionally, the numbers of students that are parents in today’s educational system has increased.
Brent McBride, a professor at Illinois, wrote about the college drop out rates of traditional undergraduate students who are also full time parents is a growing trend. Specifically, McBride writes:
“The typical scenario is a young 18- to 20-year-old woman who’s away from home for the first time, separated from her familial support system…makes it that much worse for those student-parents, because it tends to make them feel that much more isolated. It’s just a difficult situation all around.”
In the first year of college, students usually experience common stressors that make it challenging to succeed in college. Stressors include:
- Adapting to a new environment. Whether it’s moving to a new city or a new college, the stress of being in a new environment adds a lot of pressure for students.
- Finding the right support. Many times, students try to do it all themselves. From picking their classes, managing their time, and working 20+ hours a week, students tend to realize that they need to reach out to their resources on campus the hard way. Counselors, instructors and fellow classmates can help support students through their educational process.
- Financial aid. Filling out the financial aid application may seem like a daunting task, but students get so overwhelmed with the process that they simply do not complete it. Getting that financial aid application complete is one of the most important things students can do to pay for school.
- The pressures of expecting a child. Being a student is stressful, but having a child while in college can be overbearing. From picking baby names, to figuring out how to attend class with all the pains and appointments related to having a baby, the process is without a doubt stressful. Seeking guidance from a counselor to help figure out the best educational path while expecting a child is important. Plus, you can even bounce ideas for unique names with your counselor.
An additional stressor for those that are expecting babies while in college can be something as simple as thinking of a thoughtful name, well suited for the little person. Some names are planned well in advance, years before the baby is brought in to the world. While others, are a last minute “a-ha moment” (“That nurse in the recovery room was named Natalie, right? Pretty name!”)
Regardless of the college stressor, students are encouraged to use their college resources to help them get through the pressures of being a college student.