NEW YORK — With children back in the full swing at school, plenty of parents are also planning to hit the books and put their dreams into action. A survey of 2,000 parents looked at how many are thinking about furthering their education, particularly during the pandemic. Results show that COVID-19 prompted 62 percent to realize life’s too short to procrastinate when accomplishing their dreams.
In fact, 44 percent of parents plan to return to college to learn something completely new. Over half (56%) believe that more education could help refresh their perspective on life.
Chasing your dreams isn’t easy
Parents cited prioritizing their finances (49%) or starting a family (40%) as the top reasons for not achieving their goals sooner. Only three in 10 have completed a degree related to their dream job in college. However, some tried to go after their dream career but didn’t finish (11%). Another 17 percent say they chose a realistic job option instead.
The study also reveals that three in four parents would now find it difficult to juggle school and family life. Although many parents want to go or return to college, three in five worry that furthering their education would limit the time they get to spend with their loved ones.
To find a balance, 77 percent of parents would feel most comfortable enrolling in programs that are either entirely online (47%) or hybrid classes (30%).
“It’s never too late to dust off an unrealized dream,” says UMass Global Chancellor Gary Brahm in a statement. “Parents who are contemplating an online education for themselves will benefit most from faculty and student support teams who know how to guide a busy parent from enrollment to commencement.”
Parents also agree that professional coaching is important, with 65 percent saying that they’d be more likely to consider enrolling in college if they had someone by their side to help them navigate the process.
Returning to college can help reignite a former passion
While browsing for schools, half of moms and dads have rediscovered their old passions, such as “working with children,” “pursuing a career in culinary and pastry arts,” “interior decorating,” or “owning my own bar and bartending.”
“Starting and running one’s dream business is a complex endeavor,” Brahm says. “You might be able to mix the best drinks in the world, but if you want to open your own bar, you need to make payroll. To be successful, entrepreneurs need relevant skills like business management, data analysis, information technology, leadership and marketing.”
Parents listed other reasons why they want to further their education – saying “I want to complete my major, which I stepped away from to have children,” “I need advancement in my current career,” and “I need my kids to know education is important and how can I teach that if I don’t do it myself?”