If you are contemplating the idea of going back to school as an adult, you may have started to look at whether studying part-time would be a good option for you. For certain people, studying part-time could indeed allow them to up their current credentials or embark on a new career path. But not everyone will be able to strive in these types of programs and some students could lose motivation after a while. Studying part-time is not as easy as some people imagine either. Let’s take a closer look at whether studying part-time or full-time would be better depending on your situation.
Studying Part-Time Could Prepare You for a Full-Time Program
If you’re not sure if you’ll be able to handle a full-time program, going for part-time classes could be a great way to prepare yourself. If you choose to specialize yourself or go for a new career, this will allow you to know if you actually like that specialty or field. This could save a lot of money and get you back in the habit of attending classes.
Studying Part-Time Could be a Good Option if You Have a Packed Schedule
If your schedule is tight and you have family obligations on top of it, then going for full-time classes might be a good option. You might still have trouble staying focused and might get discouraged by the time it will take to get your full credentials, however.
Time is something you’ll have to pay very special attention to when considering studying part-time. You might have all the motivation in the world right now but you don’t know where you’ll be two years from now when you realize that you still have two more years to go. You have to check how long you have left for your career and the cost-benefit of waiting additional years while opportunities are passing you by.
You should also know that studying part-time is not the only option if you have a tough or hectic schedule. Another option you could choose is online learning. If you want to go into a field like nursing, for instance, online learning will not only allow you to follow classes on your own time but also get your credentials much faster than usual through accelerated BSN programs.
Schools like Baylor University have accelerated BSN programs that will allow you to get your degree in as little as 12 months. And you’ll be able to take your classes from wherever you are, whether it’s your living room, a library, or your favorite coffee shop. Not having to be physically present for classes could give you the space needed to keep everything else in your life together.
Also, know that nothing is stopping you from following part-time online classes. This will be even more convenient than traditional part-time classes and will give you more time to dedicate to your professional and personal life.
Part-Time Classes Are Easier on Your Wallet
Lots of people would love to go back to school but don’t because it’s simply too expensive. With part-time classes, however, they can pay less tuition and still keep their ability to earn. You’ll also be able to save on all the costs related to full-time studies like additional commute and study materials.
You’ll be able to take advantage of financial aid and grants as well, which is something not all adult students are aware of. As a matter, it has been estimated that about 30% of adults who go back to school do not know that they’re eligible for financial aid and end up not applying because of it.
You should know, however, that you won’t be eligible for the same limits. If you want to get a Pell grant, for instance, you’ll only be able to get a fraction of the $3,135 per year full-time students get, but that will still be more than enough to alleviate your burden and make your part-time studies even more affordable. So, we suggest you start looking at different grants today, especially those that are aimed specifically at adult students.
Part-Time Students Still Get Networking Benefits
If one of your reasons for going back to school is the networking opportunities, know that you’ll still have access to those when you study part-time. As a matter of fact, some students take part-time classes just so they can get closer to like-minded students.
This could be a great option for you if you are a business owner, for instance, and want to go for the MBA to increase your network. If that is your goal, you could always take one or two classes that pique your interest or you feel would be the most beneficial to you, and attend all the networking events or incubators the school has. You’ll also get access to their counselors and alumni network. So, this is definitely something you should consider if you want to make contacts.
Part-Time Classes Allow You to Learn Specific Skills
Part-time classes are also a great way to develop specific skills you need without having to go for the whole degree. If we take our business owner example, you could choose to take a specific class on accounting or online marketing, for instance. Or someone in a field like web analytics could take graphic or website design classes to add more feathers to their cap.
You could use part-time classes to set yourself apart from the competition or get access to more advancement opportunities as well. An engineer who wants to get into a leadership role may not need to go for a full engineering management program and only pick the classes that are about leadership. Part-time classes could be a great tool to perfect yourself and become more well-rounded.
Before you decide to study part-time, you have to take a long hard look at the pros and cons of both options. You should also speak with a few students who have studied part-time and hear what they have to say about the experience.