Part-Time Student: Is the Walk Worth the Wait?

We all know the drill: earn your high school diploma, enroll in a four year institution, and graduate with your bachelor’s degree no later than the prime age of 22. Today, it’s practically taboo to approach the situation in any other way. But there are hidden perks to breaking the norm, and here are five of them:

1. Graduate with less student debt
We all know that the country’s student debt situation is a crisis spiraling rapidly out of control. Deciding to pursue your education at a part-time pace can ease the pain of the dreaded tuition bill. In addition, being a part-time student gives you the luxury of time. It is up to you what you want to do with that extra time, but use it wisely and in a way that you can benefit from in the future. Instead of taking a 16-20 credit course load (and paying that price!), opt to get a job to help finance your own education. Take it from me, I balanced a full time job, a part-time job, and a part-time college schedule for the first four years of being an undergrad. I chose the pay-as-you-go route and was able to make it to junior status until being in need of financial aid. Even still, when I finally walk across that stage, I know that my relationship with Sallie-Mae will be short lived.

2. Intimate night classes
If you can get past the idea of spending three hours in a night class once a week, you will see the value in taking one in the first place. The cliche is that undergrads want to go to classes during the day and party the nights away. However, the best part about being enrolled in these classes is that you are surrounded by people who truly want to be there (see reason three!). Even better, the class roster will generally be on the small side. I was once in an accounting night class with only three other people, three! Not only did we all get to know each other fairly well, but we were also able to speak up more freely and without fear.

I find that the overall learning experience at night is simply different. In addition, institutions realize that these classes are not typically as desired. Because of that, universities need to find ways to entice students to enroll in them. What better way is there to do that than with a discounted tuition rate? Often times, night classes are priced at a serious deal. For example, according to their tuition page, a class at the day school at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA costs $3,375 versus a credit at the Wescoe School, Muhlenberg’s night school, which will cost you about half the price at $1,575.

3. Classmates are usually older, went back to school by choice
My favorite part about being a part time night student was having the opportunity to sit in class with several older students. Hear me out: adults who choose to go back to school are clearly dedicated and passionate about learning. While a normal undergrad can certainly contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way, older students who may have worked in the field already can add valuable insights to the conversation. Not only that, but our older classmates are typically there by choice. That seemingly insignificant factor can make all the difference.

4. More time to find your passion
How is an eighteen-year-old supposed to know what they were meant to do for the rest of their life? It was not until my fourth year of undergrad (I had junior status), when I realized that I was born for the communication field. After a lengthy trial and error period, I am more confident than ever in my major of choice. As I approach the end of my B.S. at Drexel, I know with certainty that I am where I was meant to be. I couldn’t say that four years ago, and that means everything.

5. Employers will admire the dedication you have to your education, and your resume will flourish
Not only will being a part-time student allow you to work and finance your education on your own, but potential employers will respect you for your absolute commitment to your education. Working while being student is an admirable and daunting task, and it speaks volumes about your character. You’ll graduate with a resume that’ll have legitimate employment history and a lengthy list of soft skills that can only be taught with life experiences. Your time management abilities will impress any hiring manager, and you’ll be well on your way to landing your dream gig.

I did this. I’m still doing this, and it isn’t easy. But, employers and college advisors alike have both praised me for my dedication, passion, and hard work ethic. I dare you not to enroll full-time. Work a part time job to finance your education and gain connections that you wouldn’t have had otherwise.

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