For adults who are going back to school to start or finish a degree, quitting their job is often not an option. With family responsibilities on top of a school bill, you need to keep working, – often full-time, – in order to manage going back to school.
Is this possible?
Yes, it is, but you are going to need the right plan to make it work.
How Do I Go to School and Work Full Time?
If you are going to go to school full-time while working, you are in good company. As many as 70% of college students enrolled in full-time degree programs also work at least 20 hours a week. Many of those employed college students will work full-time jobs. The cost of education and your daily needs make working a necessity.
Is it possible to go to school and work full –time successfully, or will one of the two have to suffer?
It is possible to succeed in school while working, but it takes a little bit of creativity and a lot of hard work. Today’s higher education environment makes it possible with online courses for certificates and degree programs, but you are still going to need to be very structured and deliberate in the choices you make.
Here are 11 proven strategies you can implement to go to school while you work a full-time job:
- Pursue a Job with Flexibility
Flexibility is the name of the game when you’re going to school and working, so look for a job that offers scheduling flexibility. Full-time jobs do not have to be 9-to-5. Sometimes, overnight shifts or project-based jobs can give you the flexibility to complete schoolwork and attend classes while also working. Consider a position that may allow you to do some schoolwork on the clock, such as childcare that offers nap time or overnight care settings.
- Find a Job with a Work from Home/Anywhere Policy
The pandemic has created a new focus on work from home or work from anywhere jobs. Many office-type jobs now allow their workers to do their jobs remotely, which can provide some flexibility. While you will still need to clock in for the required number of hours to complete your tasks, you can eliminate commuting times and squeeze in schoolwork more easily during your off-the-clock hours.
- Work Close to Campus
If you do need to go to work, choose an employer with a location close to campus. The less time you spend driving to and from work, the more time you can spend on your schoolwork. A close location also makes it easier to take shifts that are close in time to your classes because you won’t have to worry about the time it takes to commute there.
Even better, look for a job directly on campus. Work-study opportunities are plentiful at MSU Denver and can provide you with real-world experience in your field of study.
- Keep Your Career Goals in Mind
When working and going to school, keep your primary focus on your overarching career goals. Can you find work that would look good on your resume? If you keep your career goals in mind even while working full-time during school, you can graduate with some work experience alongside your education.
For example, if you are studying education, you may be able to find work in a daycare setting that lets you work directly with children, even before graduation.
- Speak to Your Boss
If you are considering going back to school and already have a job, then talk to your employer before you enroll. If your education is going to serve as an asset to your company, your boss may be willing to work with you to create some of the flexibility you need to make it work.
- Be Selective When Choosing What School to Attend
Some schools are more accommodative for adult learners and people who are working full-time, offering online and evening classes to accommodate working adults. Others are not so adaptable.
Choose a school that has these types of programs and is known for innovation and flexibility.
- Consider Online Degree Programs
One of the best ways to get the flexibility you need to work full time and go to school is with an online degree program. These programs let you tap into the expertise of any school that has online education, eliminating the need to travel to campus. Many are structured so that you don’t have to log on at set times, giving you the ability to fit your schoolwork around your work schedule.
- Take Time for Your Mental Health Every Day
Balancing full-time work and full-time school can be stressful. You will need to schedule mental health breaks often. Have something you do every day for your mental health, like taking a walk or working out at the gym. Find an activity that does not take a big-time commitment but commit to doing it daily to keep your mental health in a good place.
- Ask for Help When Needed
You are going to need help from time to time when you are trying to go to school and work full-time. Whether it’s someone to help take care of some of your family and household responsibilities or help with studying for a big test, you need to be willing to ask for assistance when you need it. Surround yourself with a village willing to support your educational and career goals for this short period while you are overloaded. You can greatly increase your chances of success with a support system.
- Create a Daily Schedule to Stay Organized
Organization and good time management are essential when balancing work and school responsibilities. One of the best ways to get through this unique time is to have a set daily schedule. Have specific times you use for study, work, and household responsibilities. By setting up a schedule in this way, you will find that you can carve out time for everything. If you just try to wing it, you will struggle to accomplish your tasks each week.
- Make Time to Do Things that Make You Happy
All work and no play makes you a dull college student, so make sure you schedule some time for things that make you truly happy. This may be a hobby, or it may just be spending some time with your friends and family. Perhaps you enjoy reading for fun, or maybe you do best if you spend some time in nature. You are the only one who knows what truly makes you happy. Give yourself permission to do those things.
How to Go to College and Work Full Time
Going to college and working full-time is hard, but with online degree programs, the right learning environment and flexible work options now available to most people, you can do it.
Metropolitan State University of Denver offers flexible online degree programs that make it possible for you to continue your career while pursuing your education. With programs that make it so that you never have to set foot on campus, you can continue dedicating yourself to your work while also expanding your knowledge and credentials through continuing education. MSU Denver’s dedication to online learning earned it the accolade of being the Most Innovative University in the area. With over 90 majors and the option to create your own degree, MSU Denver offers true flexibility.
To learn more about available degree programs, online education, and enrollment in MSU Denver, reach out to an admissions counselor today.