Are you considering part-time studies? There is a lot of information on full-time qualifications and distance learning – but what about part-time studies? Before picking this option, find out what it’s all about.
Knowing what to do with yourself after school is probably one of the most difficult things to wrap your mind around. With so many different kinds of qualifications, career directions, and other opportunities, it can all get a little overwhelming. You probably know all about this already, since people love bombarding high school students, like yourself, with questions about ‘your future.’
When it comes to life after school, there is often a pretty linear and traditional expectation of what comes next: a tertiary qualification, followed by a successful career. When it comes to the qualification itself, full-time studies seem to have the loudest reputation for leading to successful employment.
Although this path is without a doubt still the norm and a necessity for certain qualifications (for example a degree in Health Sciences, which requires many years of full-time study to complete), you have many more options for how to get a tertiary education nowadays.
One of these options is part-time study – a very popular choice for many students who can’t or prefer not to study full-time, for various reasons. If you are considering this option for your marvelous self, keep reading.
Part-Time vs. Full-time – What’s the Difference?
As a full-time student, you attend lectures and classes during the day from Monday to Friday. Your studies take up most of your weekly schedule, since you also dedicate a lot of time to readings, assignments, and other tasks.
As a part-time student, the amount of lectures is smaller and less frequent. Part-time courses tend to take place in the evenings or on Saturdays, as many part-time students choose this path so they can continue their regular day jobs. These courses are explicitly designed for students who have other full-time occupations (during the day) such as work, other studies, or caring for a family.
The specific schedule for part-time courses is specific to each institution and course. For example, some colleges offer part-time courses at night or in the mornings, and others may only offer them on Saturdays. Likewise, the amount of lectures or classes you attend as a part-time student can vary greatly, but it’s usually not more than a handful of hours a week.
Are Part-Time and Distance Learning the Same Thing?
Nope, but they are similar. The main difference between part-time studies and distance learning (also known as correspondence or online learning) is that part-time students do indeed attend classes, even though this may be infrequent. Distance learning students attend no classes at all and study completely at their own pace.
Although distance learning is kind of part-time learning, because students can study in their own time while dedicating time to other activities too. Part-time learning is ideal for people who have limited time but appreciate the stability and support of lectures, as well as the personal contact with academic staff.
Are Part-Time Studies for You?
People consider part-time studies for various reasons, but in most cases the biggest appeal lies in the amount flexibility it provides. The convenience of part-time studies allows students to complete a qualification without having to give up their existing occupations, or consuming the majority of their day to day routines.
Here are some common reasons why people opt for the part-time study option. If you can identify with one or more of them, this study route may be perfect for you.
You don’t need to put your job on hold
If you are holding a day job, chances are your availability for any form of class attendance will be after hours, or over the weekend. Part-time courses cater for this situation.
Even if you have a job that requires night shifts, you are very likely to find a slot in a part-time course that can accommodate you.
It can enhance your career
Many professionals understand the value of continuous professional and personal development. In fact, many industries make it compulsory for professionals and employees to complete short courses or part-time studies to enhance themselves – this concept is also known as CPD.
For working professionals who want to further their skills and knowledge, be this in the same field or in a completely new area, part-time studies are a great way to achieve this goal without sacrificing their existing daily routines.
Lee Hitzeroth from Rosebank College says that in her experience, most students that enroll for part-time courses do so in order to fast-track their professional success.
“Many of our part-time students are individuals that have been in the working world for some time and need a formal qualification for promotion purposes.”
It’s more affordable
Part-time courses cost significantly less than full-time courses, which is perfect for students who can’t afford to finance full-time studies (on that note, check out EduFunding for Bursaries and Scholarships).
Given the fact that many people start or continue to work (and earn) while they study part-time, this study path is a really good way not to break the bank.
In a 2013 issue of The Guardian, Joan Bakewell from the University of London writes,
“Young people who might once have seen university as their natural destination are rethinking what it means in hard money terms to spend three years without earning.”
In a time where young people aren’t necessarily required to follow the old-school, linear expectation of what to do after school, many want to make the absolute most of the exciting new chapter. For some, this means that studies alone aren’t enough. Some youngsters want to get more out of their time as students. Often this means getting work experience and starting to earn money beyond the restrictions of student jobs (having said this, student jobs are by all means a great source of income for many students, especially those enrolled in full-time studies).
Lee adds to this point by explaining how, contrary to what people may think, part-time students are not necessarily at a disadvantage when competing for jobs with graduates from full-time degrees.
“Part time students are often at an advantage because they are already working and are studying to advance their career. Full-time students normally come straight out of high school and do not have any working world exposure.”
So, if you’re considering the part-time route and feel that the above information sounds like part-time studies might just be your cup of tea, go for it. Start looking at which institutions offer part-time studies that fit your needs and interests.
Rosebank College offers a selection of part-time courses through the Independent Institute of Education (IIE), an educational brand internationally accredited by the British Accreditation Council (BAC). The college has various campuses across South Africa, offering qualifications that focus on a practical and holistic learning experience.
Examples of part-time courses include studies in:
- Business Management
- Construction and Engineering Drafting
You can view the full selection of part-time courses on the Rosebank College website.
If you’d like to get an idea of what their part-time courses cost, have a look at the Rosebank College 2017 fee breakdown for part-time studies.
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As a part-time student you may not have a lot of lectures and classes to attend, but it’s crucial that you do attend the few you do have. These classes form part of the way a part-time course is structured. If you don’t attend, you will fall behind and your studies will suffer. So, no skipping lectures for you either 😉