How To Balance Grad School And Work A Full-Time Job

As anyone with a full-time job knows, a 40-hour (or more) work week can be very demanding. When you work, making time for simple activities can become a task in itself, so it's understandable that the idea of attending graduate school while continuing to work full time would seem impractical. However, many people simply can't quit their jobs and become full-time graduate students. Finding out how to balance grad school and work certainly isn't easy, but it doesn't have to be impossible, either. By following these tips, you'll be able to simultaneously work and pursue your academic goals.

Talk To Your Employer

Many employers provide employees with tuition assistance for academic programs that will aid professional growth. If you are pursuing a degree in a field related to your current job, discussing graduate school and how it will positively impact your career goals with your employer can help you secure funding for your education. Be sure to emphasize how you will balance your job and your studies without sacrificing productivity at work.

Don't Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Make note of all current obligations (financial, personal, professional) when considering graduate school and how much time you will have to commit to classes and studying. If your schedule and finances permit only one course, take one course. Yes, this will lengthen the time you spend in school, but with a realistic course load, you will be able to dedicate the necessary time and focus to your schoolwork while maintaining the quality of your work on the job.

Find The Right Program For You

As a working student, choosing an accommodating program for your lifestyle can ensure graduate school success. Many schools offer part-time graduate programs that meet once or twice during the week or solely on Saturdays. Some schools also offer part-time summer classes, allowing students to have lighter course loads during the year or shorten their time in school. In addition to schedule flexibility, take your commute to and from the school into consideration when picking a program. Many working students find that an online program is the most accommodating.

Create A Schedule

With a full-time job and school, a well-organized schedule can be the difference between a manageable graduate school experience and an overwhelming one. Dedicate specific blocks of time throughout the week to your studies, and be sure to use them specifically for schoolwork. If you choose to study at home and live with other people, share your schedule with them so they know when you are on academic lock-down. Also, get into the habit of doing schoolwork in advance rather than completing assignments the day before or on the day they're due. Avoiding all-nighters is a great way to eliminate stress and help you keep a positive outlook on your graduate school experience.

Make Time For Yourself

Attending graduate school while working full time is a sizable undertaking, one that can be overwhelming and frustrating. To maintain your emotional and mental well-being during this process, allot small chunks of time during the week to yourself. From reading something other than a textbook to actually enjoying lunch on your lunch break, little respites from the pressures of your day can help you stay grounded.
This article was written by Social Media Outreach Coordinator Harrison Kratz on behalf of CAREEREALISM-Approved Partner, 2tor — an education technology company that partners with institutions of higher education such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to deliver one of the top online MBA programs in the world.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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