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Should you consider studying part-time?

Talya Honebeek
Last Updated: 17 July 2021 • 3 min read

Have you ever considered studying part-time?

Every year, more and more universities are offering more part-time degree courses. This is great news for people who want to attend university but have other commitments or those who want to spread out tuition and living costs.

There are a number of things to consider when choosing whether to study full-time or part-time. 

How much time you want to commit to studying, how quickly you want to graduate, and whether you want to work at the same time are all important factors.

Working out which option is best for you can be difficult. To help, here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages of studying part-time, so you can choose which route best suits you.

4 things to consider about studying part-time

  1. Flexible study
  2. Spread out study costs and continue working
  3. Others will graduate before you
  4. Study with a diverse group of people

1. Flexible study

One of the biggest benefits of being a part-time student is being able to be a lot more flexible in the way you structure your weeks. 

Studying part-time is a great solution for if you have other commitments outside of university. It allows you to achieve a better balance between study, work and leisure time, without one taking over your life.

Part-time study often entails working through one or two modules at any one time, rather than three or even four. This means that you have more time to dedicate to individual modules and assessments without being overloaded with work from multiple modules. 

The advantage of this is you will likely be able to produce better coursework and spend more time revising for exams. 

It also gives you time to fit in some work experience alongside studying. This is a great way to gain some industry experience before graduating, and can help you stand out to employers.

2. Spread out study costs and continue working

An important factor for a lot of people when choosing whether to study part-time or full-time is the cost, and whether they will be able to earn alongside studying. 

Studying part-time gives increased flexibility to work more often and earn more money. Generally speaking, full-time students can only work evenings and weekends, whereas part-time students can often manage to work a full-time job alongside studying.  

This can work for people who want to want to spread out the cost of studying over a longer period of time, and would rather pay for living costs themselves rather than use a maintenance loan.

3. Others will graduate before you

Most full-time degree courses last around three to four years. If you choose to take it part-time, this usually means it will last double that time.

Before choosing to study part-time, you need to be sure that you are ready for the commitment of studying for up to eight years. Remember that your personal circumstances may change in that time, and you will need to keep up your motivation.

Another thing to consider is that you will still be at university even after other friends have graduated. You will likely be studying alongside some part-timers and lots of full-timers, so some of the people you meet in your first few years will move on.

It can sometimes feel a little isolating to be left behind, but if you look at the positive side of it, you’ll have made double or even triple the amount of friends and connections whilst at university

4. Study with a diverse group of people

People choose to study part-time for a wide range of reasons.  As a consequence, the part-time student population is generally more diverse than the full-time cohort.

Studying part-time will mean you have a totally different university experience to full-time students. It also means you could end up sharing a class with people at various stages of their lives and careers. 

Is it better to study part-time or full-time?

When you think of the traditional student experience, studying full-time whilst living in halls and going out every other night probably comes to mind. Everyone is different, however, and there are now so many more modes of studying. 

It doesn’t matter to employers whether you studied part-time or full-time. They may see that fact you chose to study part-time whilst juggling other commitments as a sign of drive, determination and good time management skills. 

To truly enjoy your course and make the most of your time at university, it is important that you take some time to figure out which way of studying fits your current situation and future ambitions.

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Talya Honebeek
Written By
Talya Honebeek

Talya is a part-time journalism master's student living in North Yorkshire.

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