The decision of whether to study part time or full time usually boils down to two things – time and money. Re-entering the education system as an adult can be tough, because the chances are you have more responsibilities and financial commitments than you had during your teenage years and early twenties. When youngsters decide to go to college they can throw themselves into student life, but this generally isn’t an option when you’re married with a mortgage. Thus, your focus has to be on which kind of course structure is going to suit you better – part time or full time.
The chances are that if you have a job and a family, studying full time is not going to be an option unless you suddenly come into some money. If you still have to work to earn a living then you have to be able to manage your time so that you can complete your course assignments to a decent standard and hand them in on time without missing out on other areas in your life. It will be difficult to study full time whilst holding down a job and making time for friends and family, which why it might be worth studying part time, instead.
Of course, it depends on where you intend to study and which course you plan on taking. Some colleges and universities may only offer a small selection of courses part time, which could limit your options. However, most educational institutions are aware of the time and financial pressures that adults looking to go back to school face and so are willing to be flexible.
You may be impatient to obtain a qualification, but on the positive side; by opting to study part time you will have double the amount of time to complete your academic work than if you had become a full-time student. Consequently, you will have more time to concentrate on producing high quality work, rather than rushing everything so that you don’t fall behind. Clearly, if you’re paying to go back to school you don’t want to fail because you spread yourself too thinly.
As a part-time adult education student you don’t have to worry about finding a large chunk of money to pay for your course fees, because you will be paying over a longer period. This is useful when you already have household bills and other financial arrangements that could make it tricky for you to meet the cost of studying.
Although studying full time might sound tempting, because you want to be able to immerse yourself in student life, when you’re an adult your priorities tend to be different from those of younger students. When you have to combine a job, family life and your studies the chances are that studying part time is the only way you’re going to be able to achieve your academic aims and live your normal life.