Degree In Sight

Many student-parents say having a good support system-whether it's family, neighbors, friends, church or fellow students and faculty-can be a boon. Notre Dame University student-parent Crystal Blount, for example, teamed with her neighbors, many of whom are also in school or are working parents. They organized a car pool for school and activity pickups, and they pool their money for a joint babysitter for holiday school breaks, half-days and late-start days. Some other potential sources of support:

  • Extended family. University of Denver clinical child psychology graduate student Steven Branstetter-now on internship at Harvard-says he and his wife relied on her mother to watch their son, Aden, several days during the week when they were in Denver.

  • Faculty. Professors often encouraged Branstetter to bring his son to school. In fact, then 18-month-old Aden was asked to give a few "guest lectures," such as by helping the professor demonstrate object permanence in a developmental psychology course, says Branstetter.

  • Fellow student-parents. Texas A&M University counseling psychology student Darcy McMaughan Moudouni says having fellow student-parent Jeanette Madkins in her cohort offers comfort and guidance. "We are constantly bouncing ideas and schedules off of each other," she says.

  • Formal parenting resources. Some schools have organized student-parent groups, such as Michigan State University's Student Parents on a Mission, which offers parenting classes and opportunities for student-parents to connect with each other and to community and university parent resources. The University of Wisconsin-Madison, has similar offerings, such as grants for child care specifically for student-parents, parent workshops and university-organized activities for the children of graduate students.

-J. CHAMBERLIN