Perhaps you went straight into work at eighteen rather than going to university. Maybe you have a degree but have found yourself in another area of work that would benefit from a formal qualification. Or maybe you want to indulge yourself by studying a lifelong passion.
Whatever your reason for choosing to study while working, developments in technology, availability and variety of courses mean it’s never been easier to fit it around work. Here are some easy steps to help you make your dream a reality.
Choose the right mode of study
If you’re working full-time it will be very hard indeed, if not impossible, to study a full-time course. That means you’ll be looking at part-time options.
There are a lot of different ways this can be done: some courses are run on evenings, some on weekends, and some, like ours, are delivered flexibly online. The online method is the easiest to fit around demanding or unpredictable schedules, and you can study any time of the day or night that you need to.
Work out your schedule
Have a look at the amount of time you will need to commit to studying each week. Depending on the type of course you choose, and the intensity, you may need anything from 5-30 hours per week for your studying! Shorter courses are usually a lot more intensive, so you need to weigh up finishing your course quickly against the amount of time you’ll have available.
Our courses require 10-15 hours of work per week per module, so you’ll want to have a think about when you’ll be able to fit that into your lifestyle – remembering that you’ll be able to access online learning materials on your lunch break or commute as well as when you’re at home.
Get your employer on board
If you hope to study a degree that will be relevant for your current job, speaking to your employer should be one of the first things you do! Many employers have training and development budgets that they could use to fund or part-fund your studies.
Even if your degree is not relevant, it’s a good idea to give your employer a heads up and reassure them that you will be able to manage your work schedule around your studies. Having support from colleagues is a great way to keep you motivated, and you might need to take time off to finish your final project or attend graduation.
Take care of yourself
Studying part-time alongside a full-time job can be very hard work, so it’s even more important to practice good self-care. Not only will you be happier and more relaxed, your time spent studying will be more focused.
Ensure you take regular breaks, including time away from your study space, and make sure you are eating well and staying hydrated. Make sure you allow yourself at least one night off from studying a week to completely disconnect and unwind. And make the most of breaks between modules.
Studying a degree is a massive commitment, and you will only get to the end if you pace yourself. Some courses, including ours, may have the option of doubling up on modules, but overcommitting could sabotage your chances of completing at all.
Start out by taking the course at the regular rate and, if you find you’re handling the pressures well, speak to your Student Adviser, who will be able to give you guidance about taking the course at a more accelerated rate.
Get family and friends onboard
Support from those around you is key to getting you through a demanding project. If you have a hard day at work and then have to come home to study, the load is lifted a little if someone is there to make you dinner.
If you are a working parent, adding a degree into the mix is possible – but support becomes even more important. Depending on the age of your children, you can encourage them to take more responsibility for chores while you’re studying. And working on your degree alongside their homework is a lovely way to build a connection with your children and get them to see the importance of lifelong learning.
Thinking about taking on the exciting challenge of studying alongside your job? Download a prospectus to choose your course and get started!