One of your biggest decisions after leaving school is whether you want to study full-time or part-time. The decision affects tuition costs, financial aid opportunities, and time commitments. Interestingly, nearly 40% of undergraduate students in the US are registered as part-time1.
Part-time study can offer several benefits and drawbacks, depending on your individual circumstances, goals, and preferences. Here are some pros and cons to consider:
- Time management: Part-time study allows you to balance education with other responsibilities like work, family, and personal commitments. This flexibility can make it easier to manage your time effectively.
However, part-time study usually takes longer to complete, potentially delaying your graduation and entry into the job market. This can also result in missing out on opportunities that require a full-time degree. The duration of your degree depends on how many classes/lectures you’re attending per week, whether you’re studying through distance learning, and how many credits per semester you register for.
- Work Experience: If you’re working while studying part-time, you can gain practical work experience that complements your academic learning. This can enhance your resume and make you more competitive in the job market.
However, with the demands of work and other responsibilities, you might find it harder to fully focus on your studies, leading to a less immersive academic experience. Also, while some employers encourage and support employees’ educational pursuits – and might even pay for all or part of your tuition fees – others might view part-time study as a distraction from your job and not be as supportive.
- Reduced Financial Burden: Part-time study often means lower tuition costs since you’re taking fewer courses per semester. It can also allow you to continue earning an income, reducing the financial strain compared to full-time study.
However, some financial aid packages and scholarships might be designed primarily for full-time students, limiting your options for financial assistance.
- Skill Development: With more time available, you might be able to delve deeper into subjects, conduct thorough research, and truly grasp the material. This can lead to a more profound understanding of your field.
However, not all universities offer part-time degree courses, or may offer such courses only in a limited number of faculties unrelated to your area of interest.
- Less Intense Workload: Part-time students typically have a lighter course load, which can lead to reduced stress and better retention of information. This might also provide more time for extracurricular activities or self-care.
However, balancing work, family, and other commitments with part-time study can be challenging and might lead to burnout if not managed well. It is generally accepted that part-time study is hard work, entailing time management, commitment and determination.
- Online learning: Part-time study lends itself to online learning. Given the advances in technology, online learning continues to grow in popularity and access. EU Business School, for example, offers a full prospectus of online undergraduate and postgraduate study options.
Access to online learning may be synchronous – classes are held virtually on a regular schedule, with teachers and students attending, collaborating and holding discussions in class in real time; or asynchronous – students complete assigned work at their own pace by accessing recorded lectures, readings and homework at any time, as long as they meet deadlines2.
- Flexible entry requirements: Entry requirements for part-time courses may be less stringent, especially for mature students. The institution may recognize prior learning, and relevant training and work experience.
However, this is not always the case, so be sure to check with the faculty advisors at EU Business School.
- Access to resources: Part-time students typically have unrestricted access to the university’s resources such as libraries and internet portals.
However, some universities offer fewer resources and support to part-time students, such as access to research facilities, networking events, and campus activities. Access may also be limited by your own time availability.
- The campus experience: Part-time students might feel isolated and miss out on the social interactions and networking opportunities that full-time students often enjoy on campus. Full-time students, especially those living on campus, enjoy the benefits of all the sports and social activities, clubs and societies that are available to them.
However, as much as full-time engagement with campus life and other students may enhance levels of motivation and enjoyment, these activities may also be a distraction from your primary goal of graduation
The advantages of part-time study include greater freedom with your schedule, working helps to pay for tuition, a lower course load, extra time for other responsibilities, and opportunity to gain work experience or take up internships for practical experience.
When deciding whether to pursue part-time study, carefully consider your personal and professional goals, your financial situation, and your ability to manage the demands of both work and academics. It can be a viable option for those seeking to balance various aspects of their lives, but it’s important to weigh the benefits against the potential challenges.
If studying a business degree with flexibility offered by a part-time program or online studies, EU Business School’s Digital Campus has a wide range of programs on offer, for more information, click here.