Being a part-time student might be a good option for those who have already begun pursuing a career and are on their way to becoming financially independent. You can also take care of any family responsibilities while simultaneously working towards a degree. According to research conducted by Times Higher Education, part-time students gain higher pay, new skills, and greater responsibilities in the workplace.
However, when comparing the benefits side by side – there are many challenges and often overlooked pitfalls.
Pro: Being a part-time student gives you a flexible schedule
When you’re a part-time student, you have more time flexibility as you slow down the pace of your learning. You take fewer classes per semester so you can focus on other things in life. The majority of full-time workers choose to become part-time students as it allows them to progress through college while enjoying the financial benefits of employment. Also, the variety of online part-time study programs has made advanced education more accessible to a wider number of people—right from the comfort of their homes.
Con: The overall duration of studies increases
It can take twice as much time to finish a particular study program as a part-time student – it all depends on how many credits you decide to register for. A potential downside is experiencing a lack of motivation to continue pursuing a degree which can prolong studies even further. This can be a huge setback if you wish to use your degree to move up the career ladder and perhaps obtain your dream job.
Pro: You can find a fresh new direction
College is a precious period in life when people get to explore their interests and find out new parts of their identities. It consists of many steps that lead towards finding a true calling or discovering something you care deeply about. By becoming a part-time student, you can experience all of this while ensuring you’re not overwhelmed by the transition to a new environment. It can be a less stressful way to step into an unknown life phase.
Con: You’ll need a good support system
People often feel at ease when they focus on one particular area of life and invest their time and energy into it. As a part-time student, you’ll likely be juggling lots of tasks and priorities. Most of the professors who teach part-time students understand their intense life tempo but it’s also advisable to find a good support system at home and have your family and friends close by.
Pro: Lower tuition costs
When you’re a part-time student, you naturally have lower fees as you take fewer courses than full-time students. This creates less financial burden as you spread out the costs throughout a longer time frame, whereas full-time students have to pay a larger amount of money at one time and might even bury themselves in student loan debt.
Con: Fewer scholarship opportunities
Scholarships are typically intended for those with low financial need. If you are a part-time student who happens to be working full-time, you may not have as many chances of getting financial aid. In addition to this, on-campus housing is typically unavailable to part-time students and they don’t get to enjoy many of the privileges of campus life.
In any case, being a part-time student is not easy. It takes a lot of time-management skills, commitment, and determination. Although the dynamics of part-time study programs are a bit different and possibly less overwhelming, every course has deadlines you have to meet. Weigh the pros and cons and figure out what suits you the best.
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