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while you learn’ is becoming increasingly popular. Gaining a postgraduate qualification will open up many more doors. On top of this, potential employers look favourably upon applicants who have gained qualifications via part-time study. Part- time students not only gain valuable experience from work, but studying part-time develops many of the skills sought out by employers. These include organizational skills, time management, work-load prioritization, self- motivation and problem solving skills. Studying part-time also demonstrates that you are adaptable, and determined to succeed.

The Challenges

The biggest challenge for part-time students is finding time (quality and quantity) to study. People who have spent time away from the education system may find the process of starting an essay again a very difficult and daunting task. Even if essay writing is not a problem; fitting university work in and around your working life is the biggest area of concern for most people about to embark on a part-time course. This could be caused by many things, such as difficulty in effectively organizing their time; job demands; family commitments; competing demands of hobbies and other

interests etc. All of

these things can make part- time study difficult.

With these in mind, you need to already be thinking about likely problems and their potential solutions in advance. Some people find it useful to make precise plans or a personal timetable. This is a good idea as long as it is made flexible. Understand that life sometimes gets in the way and some days you might not be able to do the work you had set out. Be prepared for some tasks take longer than you had planned. You will need to be able to make adjustments to your study plans.

Make the most of otherwise ‘dead’ time. You could be reading or listening to an audio books or pod cast during your commute to work, or on a lunch break, at the hairdressers, etc. (although don’t rely on these times as your only study periods!) Learn what works for you – longer periods of study, or sessions broken up into smaller spells. Try to do a little everyday – on days you haven’t set out to study, even a few minutes reading or talking with fellow students helps keep your mind focused.

Part time courses are usually flexible, so you might be able to take on more or less modules

each semester, depending on your changing circumstances.

Other difficulties include travelling to university, making new friends, or keeping up with the work load. Whatever difficulties you may face as a part-time student, it is important to remember why you are taking the courser in the first place. Keep this reason (or reasons) in mind when things get tough. This will keep you motivated and focused on overcoming your own personal barriers to learning.

The Rewards Wanting to further you education but needing to work is just one of many reasons people choose to study part time. Perhaps studying for a course will be useful for your job, or for future career advancement; or maybe you just need a new challenge, want a deeper knowledge of a particular subject, or an interest in learning something new. For most people, leaning new things and enhancing career prospects are huge benefits to studying. Making new friends, and using your mind in a different ways are also appealing aspects of studying. You will not only gain a qualification, but you will gain confidence; satisfaction; respect from your peers, and a sense of achievement.

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