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Advantages of Going To College Part Time While Working Full Time

Updated on June 10, 2011

There are a many advantages to going to college part time while working full time. I learned this first hand... as I received an Associate's Degree, Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree while attending college part time, and working full time. The whole shebang was definitely challenging, had some starts and stops and took more than 10 years, but it was worth it.

Here is a recap of what I view as the top 5 advantages of going to college part time while working full time:

1) It’s Much Cheaper: Since most companies offer tuition reimbursement, the average part time student who is also working full time, should be able to cover a majority of their courses using these benefits, especially at the undergraduate level. In my experience, my companies’ tuition reimbursement plans covered about 80% of my college education. Since my Master’s program was on the expensive side, that’s where I had to fork out more of the expense. In the end , I did not have to take out any loans and am PIF while many of my friends are still paying them back from classes they took 20 years ago.

2) You’ll Be More Effective In Your Day Job: If you have some work experience, college classes will be more relevant. If they’re more relevant, they’ll hopefully be more interesting, you’ll be more engaged as a student and ultimately learn more. Then, you can immediately apply what you’ve learned to your day job.

While I was attending classes, I learned some great project management, presentation, writing and team building techniques. One class on business ethics, was very relevant at a time where my company had made some difficult layoff decisions. If you want to move up to management, there are many “how to” classes available as part of standard degree programs

I also found that taking classes was a nice break from my “day to day routine” and helped spur some creative thoughts and ideas- related to my day job. Frequently, I’d be sitting in class and have one of those aha moments and jot down ideas to look a the next day at work.

3) Offers Great Networking Opportunities: Part time college classes are a great way to make new friends, meet new business associates and even strike up some romance. Over the course of several years, you’ll have the opportunity to meet hundreds of other students and faculty. (When you go to college full time, you tend to stay with the same class of students for your entire degree program. Part-time, you have different mixes of students in every class.)

There are some college professors who are experts in their field of study- and they know all the other experts in their field of study. They can be instrumental in helping you connect with the right people and may be willing to give you job recommendations.

Once you graduate, Linked In is a great tool to stay in touch with your classmates and faculty.

How To Choose A MBA Program

4) Protects Your Income In This Down Economy: We all know that we are in the midst of a challenging and unpredictable economy. In the past, a husband, wife or domestic partner, may have considered quitting their job to pursue their MBA full -time, while their significant other continued to pay the bills and support the household.

Today, 401K and investment balances are plummeting and more layoffs are announced daily. Quitting your day job to go to school could be very risky. Your partner might lose their job and there may not be another job for you after you graduate.

5) You Can Make Your Own Schedule: Many top colleges are offering part-time degree programs online. You can work at your own pace, and complete college work almost anywhere by leveraging online tools.

In addition, you can choose exactly which on site classes you want and what nights or weekend days you want to take them. You can design a part time schedule around your unique requirements.

An alternative view.. To present a balanced picture, there are definitely some challenges when you work full time and go to school part time. The number one issue is time management. It’s a challenge to fit in the homework, time with your family, time for hobbies- AND the time you spend at work or in classes.

It can be very stressful when big tests are coming up or papers are due and you have something big going on at work. Lots of pressure!

And, the whole process to get your degrees will take longer.

What Is/Was Your Part Time College Experience Like??

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    • profile image

      Keora 4 years ago

      This was so useful..I'm currently working in my bachelor degree taking two classes per semester..I plan on being in the nursing program starting aug 2015 where I'll be going me enough time to save money..and work part time

    • profile image

      Angel 7 years ago

      I needed to read this, I'm currently enrolled full time at the school of my dreams and finances are not looking good. I was about to opt out from this semester and start next year. The payment plans available would hurt me more than help me. So attendind part-time is best and would give me peace. Lord knows I'd be stressing on how I'll make the next payment.

      This was a very useful article, and have change my perspective. I want this, and I'm going to do it.

      Thank you so much.

      God bless you

    • profile image

      Jasmin 8 years ago

      I work full time and am attending college full time as well. It's an intense work load but I'm pushing myself to get through it. I read this with hopes that I would see how long it would take if I went part time and if this would make my life any easier and I now have mixed emotions. On one hand I feel this is my quicker root to get a degree and get into a job where the pay is better and I can move up in the company. On the other hand I think how much time I don't have to myself, my family, boyfriend, and friends. How I don't get to put as much time and focus on each subject so I don't full get all the information I could be getting out of these classes. I at a cross road with staying full time and starting to go part time. This article is helping in making that decision. Thanks.

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      Wong 8 years ago

      thks a lot for the information..

      helps a lot in my presentation.^^

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      Tammy Salisbury 8 years ago

      You're right on target! I'm working on my bachelor's and have been taking at least one class each semester since 2000, have about 13 classes yet to finish. It has been very helpful to my job, to my analysis skills and outlook on life. Has been challenging with the full-time job, children, husband and church commitments. But very worthwhile, love meeting students of all ages and backgrounds!

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      Twin XL 8 years ago

      Great post with some useful information. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Abhi 8 years ago

      Very Informative post. Really helpful for people interested in doing MBA. Below are few more resources that I found would be helpful for people:

      Distance learning:

      Regular Colleges:

    • Reynolds_Writing profile image

      Reynolds_Writing 9 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Glad this article on going to college at night while working full time was helpful!

    • Ray Saunders profile image

      Ray Saunders 9 years ago from Raleigh

      Great. I need something like this. I finished my undergraduate a year ago and have yet to start for my Master's. I do have a full-time job (and part-time at the moment...lucky me!). Eventually I will have to drop the part-time and head to school again. At least I know what to expect...thanks!