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5 Myths About Going to College Part Time – DEBUNKED!

CollegeStudentBlindly believing the often-negative publicity about attending college part-time isn’t wise. Let’s bust some myths and look at how being a part-time college student may be a better fit for you, both financially and academically, than attending university full-time.

Myth 1. Finishing college in four years makes you more employable.

Companies prefer, almost to the point of exclusion, applicants age 25 and younger who will spend their entire career at a single firm. Your major is not particularly important. Instead, you need to earn your degree quickly, after which your employer will find the right place for you within the company.

Whoops, wait. That’s Japan.

Here in the U.S., companies seek applicants who have the right combination of education and experience. If you’re looking to attend graduate school, in fact, real-world experience may be more important than your academic background.

Working full-time while you attend school part-time can be the best way to build your network, hone your organization and time management skills, and learn how to be productive as part of a team.

Yes, it will take you longer to finish your degree. When you do, however, you’ll have a competitive edge over those who rushed through school without gaining relevant experience. Once you’re hired and using your degree, no one will ever ask you how quickly you graduated. It doesn’t matter.

Myth 2. Going to college part-time costs more.

When you look at the most basic numbers from one perspective, the statement above may be correct… technically. In reality, though, factoring in student loan interest with an even remotely competitive job market (where securing employment can take time) tilts the equation the other way.

Pursuing your education part-time can be a great way to minimize debt and build your career step-by-step, paying as you go in some respects. This can help you avoid the sobering scenario many students face at the end of their degree program: no income and facing imminent payments on a student loan portfolio the size of a mortgage.

Myth 3. It’s going to take forever. You’ll give up and drop out.

Not if you have a plan. If you choose to go to college part-time, recognize that you need a solid long-term education path as much, if not more, than as full-time students.

Write everything out. What classes will you take each semester to achieve your goal of earning your degree? How will you order prerequisites to ensure you progress at the right pace? Since you won’t be burned out from taking a full course load each semester, consider going to school in the summer to help move things along.

Also, you can often test out of lower-level courses, which is particularly helpful to fulfill graduation requirements that aren’t part of your major. For example, say you plan to major in biology and you aced English in high school. Many schools will let you test out (or use AP scores to skip) freshman-level English. You get the credit you need without having to waste time rehashing what you already know.

Myth 4. You’ll miss out on college life.

The extent to which you are involved in campus life is up to you, whether you’re a full-time or part-time student. For full-time enrollees, balancing a packed course load, part-time work and the extracurricular/campus activities of your choice can stretch you so thin that you barely have time to run from class to job to gym and so on. For many students, “college life” is simply “being busy all the time.”

If you’re a part-time college student, simply swap the time commitments of classes and work. You’ll have to manage full-time work, part-time classes and then make time to participate in the campus organizations or opportunities that interest you most.

Myth 5. Your employer won’t give you the flexibility you need for your studies.

While some employers may be sticklers when it comes to scheduling around studies, others are more than accommodating. Allowing employees to further their educations often benefits companies, as hiring and retaining individuals with strong education backgrounds contributes to corporate success.

Certain positions in certain types of firms are most definitely more conducive to pairing with part-time education. These include employers such as large corporations, the government, or school districts and positions in sales, customer support, or flexible shift work.

Speak with your supervisor and Human Resources to see what may be available to you. Ask if your company has policies in place covering employee education; with proper planning, you will be surprised how realistic it can be to blend school and professional responsibilities. Some employers will even help you pay for school with employees-only scholarships or debt-forgiveness programs!

Ultimately, there are many benefits to part-time college. Don’t simply believe the myths or hype; instead, examine facts and choose the path that is best for you!

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Ryan Hickey. He is the Managing Editor of Peterson’s & EssayEdge and is an expert in many aspects of college, graduate, and professional admissions. A graduate of Yale University, Ryan has worked in various admissions capacities for nearly a decade, including writing test-prep material for the SAT, AP exams, and TOEFL, editing essays and personal statements, and consulting directly with applicants.

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One Response to “5 Myths About Going to College Part Time – DEBUNKED!”

  1. Damien C. Hocutt says:

    Thank you this helped a lot.

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