Barrier 1: Competing Demands of Multiple Responsibilities
By Dr. Kimberly Van Horne, Ed.D.


Competing Demands of Family Responsibilities

(Quotes by students: M=Male F= Female)

College students often have many responsibilities and obligations other than school. Many students work full or part-time jobs, take care of family members, raise children, and have friends and other relationships that need their on-going attention. Students provided specific examples of some barriers they faced with competing demands of family responsibilities.

·         “Like me, because there’s no time, I sometimes have to take my kids to the doctor or go to work, so I have to sometimes leave other things to come to school” (F).

·         “I have three kids, and I need to work, and my husband, he’s had some health problems so that’s been kind of hard not working and going to school” (F).

·         “I would stay up late after I helped them with anything they needed help with, as late as I had to in order to finish my work” (F).

·         “The situation that I have is with my kids. A lot of the times I have to wait until I put them to sleep… and then to study after I put them to sleep, and I’m tired, and it’s hard for me to even read” (M).

·         “Figuring out, like, when I have time to study and days that I could get my baby sitter was hard, so when I had to come the whole week to school it was hard for me because I didn’t really have time to study” (F).


Competing Demands of Work

(Quotes by students: M=Male F= Female)

Students described work-related distractions and issues they experienced while attending BC.

·         “Because I run my own business, it does affect you in the way where like if parts don’t come in and your contracts are about to expire… sometimes you don’t even want to think about things like that” (F).

·         “… My job always varied. So it ended up becoming a problem, you know, having to figure out how to do school, how to do work, so I ended up having to quit my job” (F).

·         “Like I want to take classes here and at the same time work part time, but it’s hard to find jobs” (F).


Competing Demands of Social Activities

(Quotes by students: M=Male F= Female)

Students attending college usually have to balance school and study time with time spent with friends and other people they socialize with in their lives. Scheduling time for social activities is a barrier shared by several students.

Overcoming Barrier 1: Managing Competing Demands of Multiple Responsibilities

(Quotes by students: M=Male F= Female)

Although it may seem difficult or even impossible some days, there are several ways college students can learn to manage their time when faced with multiple responsibilities and obligations involving family, work, and their social life. Some workshops and classes offered at BC can help students learn to manage their time and develop stronger study skills habits. Students shared some strategies that helped them to manage demands of multiple responsibilities. Common strategies students shared to manage family demands were (a) to make school a scheduling priority and (b) to use available time wisely.


Strategies to cope with job-related issues included (a) to apply for set hours, (b) to schedule work around school schedule, and (c) to get a campus job. To manage scheduling demands for social activities, students suggested (a) to plan and (b) to schedule social events around school responsibilities.

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Managing Family Responsibilities

(Quotes by students: M=Male F= Female)

Students shared strategies for managing family obligations and school responsibilities. They said it was important to plan and make school a scheduling priority and to use ALL available time wisely.


Managing Work-Related Responsibilities

(Quotes by students: M=Male F= Female)

Students who have to balance working and going to school can also benefit from reading about how other students in their same situation have learned to manage work-related responsibilities. Students shared several strategies that helped them manage job-related issues in order to achieve at BC: (a) apply for set job hours, (b) make school scheduling priority, and (c) get a campus job.


Managing Social Life Issues

(Quotes by students: M=Male F= Female)

Many college students feel a great deal of time pressure from friends and other relationships. Often, people in college students’ lives do not understand why college students have to spend so much time doing homework, studying, and attending classes. It is important for college students to help friends and others understand their new college schedule and responsibilities. It is also important for college students to make sure they are planning their lives around their school obligations if they want to achieve academic successes. Students described strategies for effectively scheduling social events around school demands: (a) plan and (b) schedule social events around school schedule.

1. Competing Demands 2. Financial Issues 3. Cultural Beliefs, Values, & Attitudes about Education 4. Transitions to College
5. Failing or Repeating a Course 6. Starting College in Developmental Courses 7. Personal Attitudes about College  

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