So, the idea of juggling both full-time study and work might seem a little crazy. However, anything is possible with the right strategies, and the increase in older learners today has made it easier than ever to access work-friendly study programs.
Whether you’re hoping to gain a qualification to make a promotion, want to change your career entirely or are hoping to improve your future job prospects by gaining a college degree, here are our top tips to help you successfully balance studying full-time with a full-time job.
Tip #1. Study Online:
If you’re going to be working full-time, the last thing that you want is to enroll in a college degree or other study program that has class times that will clash with your hours of employment. Unless you are a shift worker who’s able to tailor your working hours to suit your study commitments, an online degree program will make everything a lot easier.
Studying online gives you the freedom to pursue your education at home, allowing you to put together your own schedule and work from your living room, kitchen, or bedroom. In addition, tuition fees for online degree programs tend to be around one-third cheaper than standard campus-based study, meaning that you’ll also save money in the process.
Follow the link to learn more about online degree programs designed to fit around a full-time career.
Tip #2. Utilize Vacations:
The job that you do will determine how many vacations you are able to take throughout the year. As a student, it’s a good idea to utilize any vacation time that you have by using it to get ahead with your studies. Take advantage of any breaks that you have to study more than usual, meet up with a study group, or spend some time speaking to your tutor.
Getting ahead of the program is a great way to take some of the stress off, and many colleges will offer accelerated courses or modules between semesters or during vacations. If you’re studying online, you’ll generally be allowed to go at your own pace, making getting ahead even easier.
Tip #3. Make the Most of Your Commute:
Unless you work from home, chances are you’ll need to commute to work. Whether your journey is a short one or you spend at least an hour commuting every day, it’s a good idea to take advantage of this time to catch up with revision and learning.
For example, whilst driving to work, you could play lecture recordings or download audio versions of your key textbooks to listen to. If you commute on public transport, consider downloading a study app to your smartphone or have digital copies of your notes that you can read through during the trip.
Tip #4. Create a Schedule:
As humans, we’re creatures of routine – and it’s always easier to get into good habits if you’re doing the same thing at the same time each day. Once you’ve enrolled in your program of study, it’s a wise idea to look through your current schedule and work out where you’re going to fit learning in. If you have decided to study online, you will have total freedom when it comes to putting together a schedule that suits you best.
If you work different days each week or have an otherwise unreliable working pattern, it’s important to keep on top of your schedule regularly. For example, shift workers can put together a different schedule for each week depending on the shifts that they will be working, if needed. No matter what your situation is, the more you plan ahead, the better!
Tip #5. Keep Your Manager in the Loop:
Talking to your boss about your study commitments can be tricky, but the good news is that most employers today are happy to support their employees in improving their education, particularly if it means that your performance at work will be improved. In fact, some employers are dedicated to helping their employees improve and will even help by funding all or some of your degree – it’s definitely worth the ask.
Keeping your manager in the loop will allow them to work with you to help you get the most from your studies. For example, your manager may help by altering your working times if needed to allow for classes or cutting down your hours if necessary to help you catch up.
Tip #6. Improve Your Multi-Tasking Skills:
If you are studying full-time whilst working in a full-time career, you’ll need to become extra good at multi-tasking. Whilst it’s a good idea to focus on studying along with something else that takes up a lot of your brain power, there are several things that you likely do throughout the day which don’t require a lot of concentration.
For example, you could listen to audio textbooks or lecture recordings whilst doing housework chores or go over your flashcards when you’re waiting for your dinner to cook. If you work out regularly, you could skip the music every so often and listen to relevant podcasts, audiobooks, or recorded lectures instead.
Tip #7. Plan Your Sacrifices:
The bad news is that in order to succeed when studying and working full-time, you’ll need to be prepared to make a lot of sacrifices. Take a look at your typical day and determine what you can do to make more time for yourself to study. For example, instead of watching Netflix for a whole hour, you could stop at just one episode and study for the rest of the time instead.
Today, many people waste a lot more time than they realize on social media. You may find that restricting your use of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will free up more time for studying and being productive. However, bear in mind that some things, such as spending time with family and friends or working out, shouldn’t be sacrificed since they’re essential to your well-being.
Tip #8. Get a Study Buddy:
Buddying up with another student or group of students can be a great way to keep yourself going whilst studying and working full-time. This is especially good for online students who may not always benefit from the same social interaction as those based on campus. Today, you can find like-minded students using your school’s social media groups and pages, or by being active on popular student blogs, websites, and forums. If you’re based on campus, ask around in class. Studying with others gives you the opportunity to discuss the topics you’re learning and get much-needed social support.
Tip #9. Commit to a Study Day:
Having one day a week or month that’s totally dedicated to studying will help you keep on top of your progress and allow for any catching up that’s needed after a busy period. This is especially important if you have a big test or assignment coming up; dedicating a day to studying and revising will help you ensure all the important information is fresh in your mind. As a result, you’re less likely to become unnecessarily stressed out.
If you work Monday-Friday, you might want to consider having Saturday or Sunday as your study day – even if you only study for the morning or afternoon. If you’re struggling to motivate yourself, why not make this the day that you meet up with your study group?
Tip #10. Cut Down Your Expenses:
There’s nothing worse than juggling full-time work and study if you’re struggling with finances on top of it all. To help avoid any unnecessary financial stress, it’s a good idea to start cutting down your expenses as soon as possible. For example, if you can, you might find it useful to move into cheaper accommodation, trade in your car for a cheaper or more economical model and cut back on any unnecessary or unused expenses such as a monthly gym membership or even your daily morning trip to Starbucks. Money worries can quickly take over and cause your studies to suffer, so try to eliminate as many costs as you can. Any savings that you make can be put towards paying tuition fees.
Tip #11. Improve Your Reading Speed:
Lastly, speeding up your reading abilities can make it easier for you to take in information in shorter amounts of time, allowing you to get more done on a tight schedule. It’s not uncommon for college students to face pages and pages of reading every week, so the faster you can get through it all, the better.
There are several great strategies that you might want to consider to help you improve your reading speed, such as using a finger or a pen to track the sentences, and working to eliminate fixations and back-skipping when reading. If you are more of an auditory learner, you may be able to get through your reading material faster by downloading audio versions instead.
If you found these tips useful, let us know in the comments!
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