Choosing between part-time and full-time study

When looking into study, there can be lots of things to consider: What kind of career am I looking for? What degree will give me the best chance of getting a job? What discounts can I get using a student card?

These are all important factors (…some bigger than others), but one thing you want to get right from the get-go is the amount of time you can allocate to your studies.

In order to be fully engaged and excited about your course, you need to give yourself the time to meet deadlines and also enjoy the process. So what exactly should you take into account when you’re selecting your study load?

Choosing between full time and part time study

Assess yourself

Whether you jump in to a full-time course or space your studies out over a part-time schedule, you need to work out what option best suits your life right now. Study can compete with family activities and work, so it’s important to understand how much time you’ll realistically be able to assign to it without it encroaching on other elements of your life.

SEEK Learning Consultant Katelyn Roberts says one of her first questions to potential students is about their other commitments.

“While full-time study may sound easy, when students really think about their week they may not be able to keep to that pace,” Katelyn explains.

It’s essential you think about what you’re trying to get out of the course, both during the studying process and once you have your qualification. If finishing your course quickly is the main priority, then studying full-time may be worth the re-scheduling of commitments so you finish your studies earlier. On the other hand, taking on a part-time study load may mean you can maintain your usual work hours.

The best way to plan ahead? “Create a weekly calendar of your schedule and see where you can fit in study, and then see whether full or part-time is more suitable,” Katelyn recommends.

How flexible are you?

While part-time courses do technically take longer to complete, the benefits of taking on a smaller study load could mean you’ll have more flexibility for other activities.

As Katelyn explains, “With part-time study you can work and spend time with your family while also studying, so you really can have it all.” Another way to make study work for you is doing the course online. Online courses are often self-paced, meaning you can set your schedule and complete your coursework during the hours of the day that best suit you.

Balancing it all out

Once you’ve assessed your weekly list of activities and worked out where study can fit, it’s also a good idea to sit down with the people who might be affected by your new workload to discuss your study options.

Whatever study load you choose, Katelyn suggests keeping the mantra of ‘Be flexible’ at the front of your mind, then taking the plunge and giving it a go. There also might be the option of changing your study load partway through your course if circumstances change.

“Understand life can be unpredictable so if you’re unsure, try either one and see how you go,” she says. And with a myriad of study choices available, there’s really no reason why you can’t work, study and play, all in one day.

Worried about balancing study with your other commitments? Check out these 5 tips that will help you achieve better work-life balance

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