You’ve taken the pregnancy test, and the result isn’t what you’d hoped for. In an instant, everything has changed, and you might not know the next steps to take.
As you work your way through the shock, you’ll find out that you have some time to ask questions, to get answers, and to sort through what it all means to you as you make some important decisions.
Can you go to high school while pregnant? Can you go to college while pregnant? The short answer is yes. The long answer is still yes, but it gives you information that can help you juggle both your future and academics successfully.
Can You Go to High School While Pregnant?
Yes, you can go to high school while you’re pregnant. Whether you choose parenting or adoption, there is assistance available to you. On the academic front, New York City’s Department of Education is committed to helping you succeed by offering supportive services while you’re enrolled in high school and pregnant (or parenting). You have the right to stay at your current school or consider a high school alternative, such as taking a General Educational Development test (GED). Guidance counselors at your school will help guide you and connect you with the support services you need.
New York City offers a fabulous program for student parents and their children called Living for the Young Family Through Education (LYFE). There are thirty LYFE classroom locations across every borough in New York City and are staffed with guidance counselors, social workers, and academic intervention specialists who are ready to help you. The vision of the LYFE Program is to give student parents opportunities to graduate from high school and equip them to pursue college, viable career opportunities, or both. LYFE offers strengths-based support services, so student parents are empowered to sustain a successful academic future.
The NYC Department of Education also provides free meals for you and your child at any of the 400 meal hubs across New York City. No registration or IDs are required, and you can pick up multiple meals at one time.
If you choose to become a parent and have a child between the ages of six weeks to four years old, the LYFE Program provides free, high-quality childhood education to help your child get a solid educational start.
The LYFE Program offers more great services to student parents too. They will help you with referrals to free or low-cost childcare and a support network designed to keep you on track with school.
If you decide your current school or a LYFE classroom is not the right place for you, the NYC Dept. of Education’s Referral Centers for High School Alternatives can help you explore other options to finish your high school education. No matter what you decide is best for you, all of these alternatives are set up to run seamlessly, offering you everything you need to find success as you move on to college or a career.
If you don’t live in NYC, check with your school guidance counselor, who can provide you with programs available in your school district.
Can You Go to College While Pregnant?
Yes, you can also go to college while you’re pregnant, and many women do it successfully. Becoming unexpectedly pregnant while in college may not be any easier on the emotional front, but a college pregnancy can give you even more flexibility because of the many options and way classes are scheduled in college.
You’ll need to think about whether you want to attend classes every day, three days per week, or only two days. Another practical consideration may be to schedule time between classes rather than load them back-to-back, giving yourself time to rest or grab a bite to eat.
Also, give thought to which classes you register for, and their location on or off-campus. Will science classes include experiments with components that smell and could make you nauseous? Will the location of the class require a long or tedious walk that later in your pregnancy would be uncomfortable? Do you have the option of taking online courses?
Affording College as a Parent
If you choose to parent after your pregnancy, there are programs and financial grants available to help you complete your degree.
Meet with a financial aid counselor at your college; they can give you leads to grants unique to your area. Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form as soon as you can. You may qualify for low-interest government loans that you don’t start paying back until about six months after you graduate from college.
Government grants are different from loans and are money given to you to complete your education, and you don’t have to pay it back. Check to see if you’re eligible for a government Pell Grant.
If you don’t have family members to help you out, childcare can be expensive. Do some research and check into high-quality free or affordable childcare. Eligible families in NYC can receive free or low-cost child care from the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS). If you don’t live in New York, you can check the list and eligibility guidelines of child care assistance programs that are available in your state.
You can absolutely have a successful pregnancy in college (or parent in college) with the right resources.
Need Someone to Talk To?
Regardless of your age, if you are unexpectedly pregnant and wondering if you can still be a student while pregnant, be assured you can. You will need to make sure you have a healthy support system in place. Friends, family, doctors, and staff at your school are all part of a good support system. Sometimes, though, it can help to have someone in your corner that you know has only your best interest in mind.
At Avail NYC, we can help you prepare. If you need personal support, our compassionate advocates are available to talk with you without judgment or bias of any kind. We can guide you to the resources you need to be a successful student while you’re pregnant. Contact us today for a remote appointment on Google Meet.
To protect our clients and staff during the outbreak of COVID-19, all appointments are being conducted online. If you are in need of a pregnancy test, we can send one to your home, free of charge. We know this is a challenging time, especially if you are facing the uncertainty of an unexpected pregnancy. Click the Make an Appointment button to schedule a call with a compassionate client advocate today.
Avail NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.