Barriers, Enablers, and Strategies for Success Identified by Undergraduate Student Parents


  • Tricia M van Rhijn University of Guelph


student parents, non-traditional students, role conflict, post-secondary education


This qualitative study explores the experiences of undergraduate student parents balancing school and family roles. A thematic analysis is used to examine the unique barriers and enablers faced by post-secondary student parents, as well as the success strategies they use. Ten participants attending university were interviewed. Several unique barriers emerged from the analysis, including time constraints, stress, lack of resources, and perceived social exclusion. Unique enablers include perceived benefits, social support, and the ability to maintain motivation to continue. Student parents use many strategies in order to successfully balance their roles, including selective scheduling, asking for assistance, and making explicit choices, such as making personal sacrifices to be able to complete their schoolwork.

Author Biography

Tricia M van Rhijn, University of Guelph

Department of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition PhD Student






Research Study/Recherche