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Study and Work: Can You Do Both?

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Perhaps you’re great at your job, but you feel ready for the next step up — or maybe you’ve realised that you’re ready to pivot your career path. Either way, you’ve decided you want to go back to school. But education can be time-consuming, and perhaps you’re not quite ready to put your professional track on hold while you pursue a further degree. 

But is it possible to do both? Thanks to increased flexible study plans and remote working options, aspiring professionals can study and work simultaneously more than ever before.

Here are the key steps to guarantee success on both your personal and academic journeys.

study and work

Choose Which Type of Work-Study Format is Right for You

In today’s world, there are many different options for someone looking to work while studying.

First, establish the reason you’re looking to do both simultaneously. Are you working to support yourself financially throughout your studies? Or are you seeking to maintain your current professional status from start to finish? 

Your response to these questions will determine which type of programme is best for you, and how much time you are willing to dedicate to advancing your education. 

There are a few main schooling options for working students:

Full-Time

A full-time programme includes at least 20 hours of weekly coursework, and are often held in person. Many students who go to school full-time also support themselves and their studies by working, and studies have shown that students who work between 10 and 15 hours per week can manage both their full-time study and their work. 

If your primary goal is advancing your education, and you have the ability to dedicate the majority of your time towards a degree, a comprehensive full-time programme is the right choice for you.

 

Part-Time

Some students, on the other hand, choose a part-time schooling option to create a healthy balance between their study and work. Many schools — though not all — offer part-time programmes for students wishing to pursue a degree and their profession simultaneously. Advanced courses are often particularly accommodating to this type of student, and can be organised in various organisational and time structures, both in-person and online

Generally, a full degree programme taken on a part-time basis will take twice as long as completing it full-time (although there are exceptions, depending on the programme).

 

Flexible Learning

For the student that is dedicated to their current professional life, or who has multiple personal commitments, flexible learning is the best choice for pursuing additional certifications, degrees or qualifications

These programmes are almost always offered online in order to maximise flexibility, although the structure of online learning varies from school to school. These programmes often allow you to maintain a full-time work schedule while participating in coursework requirements on your own time.

Select the Right Programme

Once you’ve determined which format best suits your needs, it’s imperative to choose a programme that will support you in your career advancement. There are thousands of programmes in 2022 which claim to offer you advanced education, but not all offer decent quality for the price.

Whether a full degree or a specific certificate, courses organised by properly accredited schools are always the best option. 

It’s also important to consider how your learning style will fit in with a school’s academic environment. If you’re a strong individual learner and prefer to study on your own time, a highly structured course with regular meeting times might not be the best choice for you. On the other hand, if you prefer to have a more structured approach, scheduled lessons are a great way to keep your learning on track. 

What does the school’s learning system look like? What materials will you be using? Who will comprise the teaching staff? And what techniques is the school using to innovate and invigorate your education? 

EDHEC’s online programmes combine pedagogical and digital teaching resources to bring new research and knowledge from around the globe to its students. Asking these questions will help you narrow down the right course of study for you and your needs.

 

Organise Ahead of Time

Choosing to go back to school while still working is a large endeavour, and while it is an entirely obtainable goal, you will have to prepare thoroughly for the additional time commitment. 

The following time-management tips will keep you on track:

  • Keep everything on the same calendar. Write out all important dates in your personal, professional, and academic life in a single place to get an accurate outline of each week. Include due dates and how long important assignments will take.
  • Make a habit of constantly prioritising the urgency and importance of your activities to make sure everything gets done on time. Final exam? Important, but not urgent. Answering your boss’s email about tomorrow’s meeting? Urgent, but less important.
  • Get used to maximising smaller amounts of time. If you have some time before a meeting starts, do some revisions instead of going on social media. Get up half an hour earlier and use that for review/study time — it might not seem like much, but it comes out to over three hours a week.
  • When creating your weekly calendar, physically schedule personal time for yourself. As difficult as it might seem sometimes, you will perform worse in both your coursework and professional life without any time for yourself to unwind. So “me-time,” is just as important as study time for your overall success!

 

Ultimately, it takes someone strong both professionally and personally to make the choice to study and work at the same time. While certainly a challenge, tackling heads on the two will stimulate and challenge you, preparing you for complex, high-paced work environments in the future. And with the right thought, selection, and preparation, it will be an incredibly rewarding experience that will permanently improve your professional life!

 

Want to know more about our online programmes and certifications and how to best manage your work schedule while going back to school?