If you are a part-time student, chances are you are taking classes at a slower pace because you are limited on time due to other obligations. For some people a full-time course load is too much to balance with other things going on in life.
Whether your obligations are family- or job-related, you likely have a lot on your plate to balance. Even with a smaller course load this can be a little overwhelming to juggle if you’ve got a lot of other responsibilities.
The trick to being successful as a part-time student is accepting support, good planning, practicing strong time management, and focus. Here are a few tips for what you should do to help you succeed in your pursuit of a college education on a part-time basis:
*Talk to an Academic Counselor
The best route to take before you even enroll for courses is to sit down and go over your game plan with an academic advisor. You may have previous credits which may transfer, and you don’t want to repeat courses that may transfer to your current degree program.
It is also a good idea to talk with your counselor about what it is you want to do. This conversation is of value because if your primary objective to pursue a degree is for career purposes, you may want to learn more about where job trends are heading and to ensure the track you’re planning to pursue will have opportunities for you.
Your academic advisor is a great person to touch base with for both long- and short-term planning for your college education. This is important for part-time students because curriculums often evolve as technology progresses, and you don’t want your classes to become outdated before you have a chance to use your new skills in the job market.
*Selecting Classes in Orderly Fashion
Once you decide to enroll as part-time status, the next step you want to take is to select your courses in an orderly fashion. Again, this is another area where an academic advisor can really help you out to ensure you choose your classes wisely.
Many classes have prerequisites, and this could be problematic for you if you don’t take the fundamental courses first. This is wise for any student because sometimes students excitedly jump into their specialized degree courses, leave the general education classes for last, and find along their educational journey that they don’t want the same degree program. By taking generalized courses first, this gives you time to contemplate and be sure your specialty is what you want.
Another aspect to consider is some classes are not offered every semester, and since time is likely at a premium, you want to make sure you take your courses sequentially. You don’t want to end up having to miss a semester because you are down to your last few credits, and the last couple of courses your need aren’t available every semester.
Colleges today offer a variety of ways you can take classes. You can attend part-time during the day, at night or on weekends. Most universities even offer an online platform for you to study. Many part-time students like yourself find their niche where they can successfully take classes.
If you evaluate all aspects of your life, you can better decide which avenue of part-time study to pursue. Some students function better in the traditional classroom environment, while others are structured enough to work independently from home. If you evaluate your own attributes, this will help you institute good planning for how you want to attend college.
Time management is a vital part of college success. This is doubly true for the part-time student who may have a job or family responsibilities to fit into the hours of the day. The best way to accomplish this is to begin to use a calendar and a planner. This will help you better keep track of assignments and balance them with the other responsibilities in your life.
Multi-tasking can be useful. If you are taking your kids to the playground, bring your textbook or study some notes. You can also bring work to your job and work on it during breaks or lunch hours. If you commute to your job and take a bus or a train, this is a great avenue to multi-task to help keep on top of your work.
Focus is probably one of the biggest hurdles for busy part-time students to overcome. With so many responsibilities and probable interruptions in your life, it can be hard to focus. While you can’t extend the hours in the day, you can make the most of the hours you have by scheduling aside specific time blocks to dedicate to your studies.
Another positive way to help you focus is to make sure you eat healthy and get enough rest. If you have a poor diet and don’t get enough sleep, this will hinder your ability to focus.
If you are unable to attend school with a full-time load, you can evaluate your time and take courses that fit into your schedule and routine. Going to school part-time is a terrific opportunity to pursue that college degree you’ve always wanted.