Whether you’re aware of college’s demands because you’ve attended before or because you’ve watched relatives struggle through the process, you may feel overwhelmed by the thought of attending while you’re also working full-time. While the journey toward a degree is likely to have its challenges, taking on this adventure can provide you with a career that you love.
Take Evening Classes
Quitting your full-time job is probably not an option, especially when you’re trying to afford a college tuition. Fortunately, many schools offer evening classes so that you can obtain an education after your shift is over for the day. In fact, in New York alone, 109 schools offer courses at night or on the weekends. A host of schools understand that students are trying to balance school and work schedules and plan courses accordingly.
Enroll in Community College
Ultimately, you may want to pursue a four-year school or a graduate program to procure the exact position that you want. However, if you’re just starting out on your college journey, consider taking general education courses at a local community college. The low cost is just one of the advantages associated with such a decision. Do keep in mind that you should speak with an admissions counselor at the four-year school or in the graduate program that you ultimately plan to pursue. You want to make sure that your community-college credits will count.
Reduce Travel Time
While you might dream of attending a prestigious college in a big city, ask yourself if doing so is realistic when you work in the suburbs or a rural area far from the urban life. You may need to sacrifice one of your smaller desires in order to achieve the largest one. Perhaps after you have reached a high level of success in your field, you could take some courses at your dream school. Opting for a school that is near your home or job will help you to better balance your responsibilities and plan a schedule.
Consider an Online Program
Another way to reach your goal is to attend college online. In fact, you could even enroll in one of the online colleges that offer laptops. Instead of having to spend money on a new computer for school, you can get one included with your tuition and start to work on your desired degree. While you will still need to complete assignments by a certain deadline, you will likely have a great deal of flexibility as to when you complete those requirements.
Review Residency Requirements
Even if the program in which you are enrolling is primarily online, you may have residency requirements to complete. A residency requirement would mean that you need to take a certain number of classes on campus. Finding out about these obligations as soon as possible is imperative. For example, you may find that you need to spend an entire semester taking multiple credits at the school. You can start to save up money now for the reduced amount of time that you’ll likely be able to work.
Evaluate Possible Cutbacks
Doing everything that you’re currently doing and adding a full-time college schedule onto the load might prove impossible. You may have the ability to work from home a couple of days per week, or if you can afford to do so, your boss may let you start working part-time. When you can’t change your job situation, you can consider reducing the amount of clubs or sports in which you or your children partake. You may also want to hire a babysitter to give you more time to concentrate on your work.
Expect to Work
Since you are returning to school and have a full-time job, you might think that your professors will afford you with certain allowances. For example, you may envision that they will readily give you extensions on your assignments because of your situation. Keep in mind that professors need to treat students fairly. The fact that you are more advanced in your career than other students in the program does not mean that you will get breaks.
Balancing a full-time job with college is difficult. Therefore, you want to make sure you are selecting a program that you love and researching ways to reduce stress.