Full-time school and work can throw anyone off balance. But every day, students make it happen without letting either responsibility suffer. Go into it with a plan, and you’re more likely to be among those who succeed. Wing it, and you’re asking for trouble.
According to a 2015 Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce study, 70 percent of college students also have a job.
- One-third of employed students are over 30
- Nearly 20 percent have children
- Twenty-five percent work and study full time
Here’s how you can be like them and keep work/study life on track for the long haul.
Make Flexibility Work For You
The whole point of online study is accessibility for more people. Online programs are more flexible than brick-and-mortar counterparts as a general rule. And that’s a major benefit for people who work full time.
Self-paced online programs take flexible study one step further. Whatever your work schedule, even if it changes every week, your education doesn’t have to conflict with it. You create your own learning pace, and it doesn’t have to be the same as anyone else’s.
Plan Study Time in Advance
With all of that flexibility, some students might be tempted to wing it. What should study time matter if there’s plenty of time to finish? Unfortunately, that approach asks for problems that you can easily avoid with a study plan.
The College Board says the most successful online students map out study time in advance. Even if you only know your weekly work schedule a few days early, you can pencil in dedicated study time to further your new career goals. Keep a calendar that lets you see your work/study balance at a glance.
Spend Break Time Studying
Successful online students grab extra study time wherever it presents itself. That doesn’t just mean studying after work, but also studying on break times. Every little bit helps, even if breaks are only used for review. If your online program is accessible with a mobile device, school can be anywhere.
LifeHack recommends breaking up reading times into smaller chunks and keeping review materials handy. You can read small bits of your course materials on a 15-, 30- or 1-hour break. If you can get up earlier to pack in more study time, even better.
Don’t Wait to Ask for Help
Straighterline says too many online students wait instead of asking for help when it’s needed. That can put you behind schedule, which might not seem to matter in a self-paced course. But you might also learn less from a module if you try to squeak by without help.
The best online education programs offer help from instructors when students need it. That’s how ICA School operates. As Straighterline says, “It’s a key to online learning success.” So take advantage of it.
Don’t Assume it’s Easy
If we had to rank the reasons students drop out or fail, underestimating online education would be near the top. It’s not easy, even with a self-paced program. It’s just a lot more convenient than driving to a campus 5 days a week.
Regents University of Colorado explains that online courses are not a cakewalk. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, they say:
“Do whatever it takes to convince yourself! Think of your online classes as easy-peasy, a walk in the park, requiring no special effort and no expenditure of time. Failure, my friend, is within your reach. Don’t let it slip through your fingers now by taking your coursework seriously.”
The flexible nature of online study doesn’t mean it’s easy to balance with a full-time job. It only gives you something to work with. Creating that balance is up to you.
You’ll make sacrifices. You’ll rearrange things like heading to the gym and spending time in front of the TV on weekends. But the most successful students know that sacrifice leads to success. Enroll now with ICA School home inspection training and watch those sacrifices turn into a brand new career in 2017.