What Is A PartTime Course?

Part-time studies make courses accessible to working people who cannot get time off, or entrepreneurs who own businesses and cannot afford to stay away from them. They are more flexible than full-time studies and offer students the opportunity to plan their own programmes.

While high school graduates often enroll in higher learning institutions on a full-time basis, many non-traditional students attend college courses only part-time. There are many reasons why you may be thinking about studying part-time. You might work part- or full-time; you may have a family or other responsibilities; or you may prefer to study at a slower pace than full-time study demands.

Part-time classes are designed for the working, mature person who is looking to improve their qualifications by studying for a full degree, or to build expertise by doing a short course and as part of their continuous professional development. You can study a part time course in many different ways:


Alternatives to full time studies

Not all graduates are able to pursue a postgraduate qualification through the traditional method of full-time study on campus, so many institutions now offer alternatives. These options are particularly popular for those students who want to combine studying with other commitments.


  • Distance Learning

If you are unable to attend classes on campus, distance learning is an ideal way to earn a qualification. You can study online from any location throughout the world. They designed these programs specially help best meet the needs and requirements that arise when learning is taking place outside of a traditional classroom setting.


  • Online Studies

Online learning, also known as e-learning, is a learning experience delivered via a computer and the Internet. Course work is conducted through electronic forums, discussion groups, external resources, quizzes, social rooms, and online-submitted assignments.


  • Evening Classes

Most part-time programs are offered in the evening, allowing students to maintain full-time employment during the day. Evening programs make studies possible for many students with employment and family obligations that would otherwise prevent them from attending college.


  • Flexible Learning

When people enter college, they fall into the categories of part-time or full-time students. The designation of part-time and full-time students depends on the number of credit hours enrolled each semester, so students can fluctuate between part-time and full-time throughout their college career. Students often follow a conventional qualification but negotiate with their tutor an individual path to completion (this could even include the time taken to complete the qualification). Study can stop and start according to time available for a student to pursue independent study. They usually consider an individual part-time if he or she is taking a course load or educational programme that requires less than 75 per cent of a full-time commitment of time and resources.


  • On-the-job training

Workplace training can be a good alternative to tertiary study. You can earn money and pick up skills. In many cases, you can also work toward a national certificate, or gain credits as part of the National Qualifications Framework. Trainees learn by doing; they learn continuously and over a long period. The reason for on-the-job training this is to allow employees to practise skills, make mistakes and learn from their mistakes under the guidance of an experienced, competent superior.

There are different ways to do on-the-job training such as Instructor-led training, Computer-based training, Virtual Classrooms & webcasts and apprenticeships. An apprenticeship is a paid job. Someone who is new to the field (the apprentice) learns the skills needed for the job. Master artisans, who are experts in their field, train apprentices. They share their skills and knowledge to help the apprentice become an expert too. An apprenticeship is also a school. Apprenticeships include classroom lessons to make sure the apprentice masters all aspects of the job.


Reasons many people choose the part-time student path


  • Money

Pursuing a qualification can be an expensive investment, and going to school part-time gives you the opportunity to manage your college budget over a longer period and with smaller payments.


  • Grades

Some college students choose the part-time route to make higher grades. The philosophy behind this is that if you have only one or two classes a semester, you can focus your energy on studies on them to earn better grades than if your study time was divided among five or six intensive subjects. If you are afraid that your tuition will be wasted if you cannot handle a full-time class load, you can ease into your degree program on a part-time basis.


  • Life Balance

If you are returning to college after establishing other areas in your life, such as a career and family, going to class part-time could be the only way to keep a consistent balance in your life. Part-time class schedules allow you to pursue your educational dreams and stay on top of your family and personal obligations at the same time.


  • You need additional qualifications but you don’t want to stop work while you get them.
  • You need to update skills or acquire new ones.
  • You are thinking about changing your career so need different qualifications, but you want to get these gradually rather than do anything too dramatic.
  • Parts of a course are of special interest to you, but not the whole course.
  • You suddenly find that you have to stop studying for a while but want to return to it at a later date – part time study is more flexible in these circumstances.
  • You quite like the idea of getting a ‘taste’ of what studying might involve.


Whatever your particular reason for opting for part time study, for most people its overriding benefits are that it enables you to ‘learn and earn’ at the same time.


Advantages and Disadvantages of part time courses

Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of being a part-time student may help you determine whether the rewards outweigh the risks for your specific situation.


Advantages Disadvantages
Reduced course load. Part time course programmes allow students to carry fewer credits and take fewer classes than full-time students. Time commitment. Studies even part-time, is an enormous time commitment.  The demands of lectures, assignments, tests and exams, combined with the demands of family and/or a full-time job leaves little time for other activities.
Lower admissions criteria. Part-time admissions programs are often more forgiving with previous grades an place greater weight on students’ professional experience and accomplishments. Less prestige. Since some part time admissions programs place more weight on work experience and accomplishments and less emphasis on prior learning, employers may view these programs as less prestigious. In some cases, attending a part time college program can limit one’s post-graduate employment options.
Reduced financial burden. Since you can complete part-time programs over more years, students can spread the financial burden out over a greater period. Furthermore, working during studies may help offset the costs of an education and allow students to take out fewer loans. Higher cost. Since most part time programs require an extra year in school, the cost of a part time college education is usually greater than the cost of a three-year fulltime program. Part-time students may also be ineligible for academic scholarships.
You will be more effective in your day job: If you have some work experience, college classes will be more relevant. If they are more relevant, they will hopefully be more interesting, you’ll be more engaged as a student and ultimately learn more. Then, you can immediately apply what you have learned to your day job. Missed opportunities Part-time students may miss out on opportunities afforded to full-time students. These opportunities include externships, workshops, on-campus interviews, journals, student organisations and other extracurricular activities. In addition, part time students who work full-time may not have the opportunity to do vacation work/clerkship/internship, which is the most common path to big-firm employment.
Offers great networking opportunities. Part time college classes are a great way to make new friends, meet new business and personal associates. Over the course of several years, you will have the opportunity to meet hundreds of other students and faculty. (When you go to college full time, you tend to stay with the same class of students for your entire degree program. Part time, you have different mixes of students in every class.)  





You can make your own schedule. Many top colleges are offering part time degree programs. You can work at your own pace, and complete college work almost anywhere by correspondence study. In addition, you can choose exactly which on-site classes you want and what nights or weekend days you want to take them. You can design a part time schedule around your unique requirements.  



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