One of the biggest fears that working adults face is whether or not they’ll be able to complete their Master’s Degree while working full-time. If this is you, then you can put your fears to rest because it is absolutely possible to complete your Master’s while holding a job.
It may not be an easy task, but it certainly is possible. There are some helpful tips and strategies that you can follow that will help you make the most of your time back at school, making it is definitely in the realm of possibilities.
So if you’ve been toying with the idea of pursuing an advanced degree while still managing to earn money, take this as your sign - you can do it! Let’s go over some all the things you can do to guarantee your path to success.
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Is it Possible to Your Master’s While Working Full Time?
It’s absolutely possible to get your master’s while holding a job, especially because many Master’s programs are specifically designed with workers in mind. Of course, this isn’t universally true, but for programs that are designed to deepen your knowledge within your specific field, like a Master’s in Business Administration or a Master’s in Leadership, they usually are created with a certain flexibility in mind so that working professionals can also obtain the degree.
For example, if you were going for a Master’s in Biochemistry, it might be difficult to work full time and achieve the degree because most people are expected to have the degree before working as a biochemist. So, for that reason, the degree program is unlikely to be designed to be very flexible with working students.
On the other hand, for a degree in Business Administration, most schools will realize that it’s entirely possible for an adult working in a company to want to go back to school and continue their education so that they may apply it to their career. For that reason, many of these types of programs will be flexible enough for students to make it doable. That doesn’t mean it will be a piece of cake, but it does mean that it’s certainly possible.
Important Factors to Consider
Like mentioned, the short answer is - yes, you can get a Master’s while working! But while it is certainly possible, there are some things to consider before enrolling in the first program you find. You want to make sure that the program you choose is right for you. You’ll also need to do some introspection and think about your study habits and how much work your body can handle.
The goal is to improve the quality of your education and reduce the amount of stress by planning well and taking some time to think about what will work best for you. With that in mind, consider the following factors:
This is the first and most important factor to consider. Your lifestyle is going to determine how many classes you can take each term and how much time you’ll be able to realistically devote to your education.
For example, if you are working full-time and taking care of a family, you’ll want to take fewer classic than someone is able able to dedicate themselves to being a full-time student. That’s because you’re going to have other priorities, so it would be wise to take it a bit slower.
Luckily for most programs, especially online ones, you’ll be able to customize your course load to fit your lifestyle. To that end, you should also consider other factors in your life: your ability to work long hours, how much stress you can handle, the amount of free time you need, etc. Everything that takes up time in your life or affects the quality of your life is something you should consider when it comes to choosing to take on a Master’s degree.
Next, the program itself is something you should consider. If you are working a full-time job at a company and you want to enroll in a Master’s degree that is directly relevant to your job, it might be easier for you to handle and, subsequently, your boss will likely be more understanding and flexible with your needs.
This means that it’s important to make sure you choose the right program that works for you. In most cases, choosing an online program might be the best option since it will allow you to work from home, so you don’t need to worry about adding an additional commute into the mix. This is especially great for anyone who lives in a rural area or simply lives far away from any local universities with the right program.
The program you choose is going to make a big impact on your educational experience. From the number of classes you’ll need to take to the quality of each individual lesson, it’s important to make sure you choose a program that will help you achieve your goals. Ultimately, the decision to enroll in a higher education program is based on a specific objective you have, so make sure that that objective will be accomplished by registering in that program.
Finally, it’s essential to weigh all your options. Make sure you take some time to see what you are able to move around to fit your schedule. If you are working towards a degree that will improve your career path, then maybe your employer will allow you to work from home some days in order to reduce your commute time.
If you have the option to take intensive 8-week online courses, then that might be a great option for you as well, since you’ll be able to finish your degree in record time. But on the other hand, you might want to take it slow and choose to only take one class per term - and that’s perfectly fine, too!
In the end, you have to explore all the options you have available to you and choose whatever is going to work best for you. It’s your life and you’re in control, so take some time to make the right decision.
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The Best Strategies to Get Your Master’s While Holding a Job
Let’s say you’ve finally gone ahead and made that move to register for classes. Now what? Are you sure you have the right mindset to succeed?
You might be a natural-born genius when it comes to getting a Master’s, but just in case you’re not, let’s go over some of the best strategies you can employ to make sure you’re degree program will be a complete success.
Finish Assignments Early
The very first strategy is one that is easier said than done. Getting a head start on your work right at the beginning of the term is going to make sure that the entire process goes a lot more smoothly. It also means that you’re going to be less stressed about deadlines when something unexpected comes up.
Surprises are something that happens all too often. You have an assignment due on Friday, and so you think “I’ll have plenty of time to complete it on Thursday”. But then, you have to work late on Thursday because of a work-related emergency and when you get home, the internet goes out. That’s when the panic sets in. If you wait until Friday morning to email your professor and explain the situation, they might be sympathetic, but they might not.
If you had started working on that assignment on Monday, then it’s okay if your internet goes out on Monday night, you’ll have the rest of the week to complete the assignment. Even if the case that you know you won’t have time to complete it by Friday, (most) teachers will be much more open to extending deadlines if you give them an advanced warning.
By completing your assignments early, not only are you setting yourself up for success academically, you’ll be developing a proactive approach that will serve you for the rest of your life. Procrastination is only going to cause you problems and stress in your life, so it’s much better to take charge, do things early, and be prepared to handle any unforeseen circumstances.
This is another strategy that not a lot of people actually consider. Many people will plan work times, but not many will plan times to rest, although breaks are equally as important. By setting aside time for resting, you’re working towards developing good habits for your mental and physical health.
In the case that you don’t plan for breaks, it’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of working 24/7 and then going through burnout. In fact, so many people think that graduate school is synonymous with burnout precisely because it’s such a difficult process. A Master’s program is mentally and emotionally challenging, not to mention that it can be incredibly time-consuming. So if you end up studying constantly, plus needing to work a 9 to 5, it’s easy to end up being exhausted.
The problem with grad school burnout is that it makes everything for naught. If you’ve spent an entire term working overtime to get good grades, but in the second term you’re just too exhausted to do anything, that makes all that original work for nothing.
Therefore, instead of working yourself to the bone constantly, make sure you plan some time for yourself. Give yourself the guarantee that you’ll take a rest and do something you enjoy. Go for a walk on the beach every Tuesday or get a coffee with friends on Thursday, for example. These little moments of happiness will ultimately lead you to success.
Use a schedule
This is a tip you’ve likely heard before, but you’ve heard it so much because it’s so essential. Planning a consistent schedule makes sure that you never get behind your studies. Plan time for work, for school, and for free time. This helps you make a promise to yourself that you’ll have a healthy work-life balance as you go through the program.
This is also especially helpful for anyone who is taking asynchronous classes. When all your materials are online and you can complete it whenever you want, the downside is that you don’t have any pressure from anyone making you do your work. In these cases, you need to be self-driven and be able to motivate yourself to do the work so you don’t fall behind.
A schedule makes sure that you stay on top of everything guarantees that you’re getting the most out of your degree.
Don’t be scared to ask for help
Grad school is hard. And a Master’s program is even harder when you’re working full time. So make sure that you reach out to people who can help you. This level of support can come in many forms and isn’t always going to be the same for every person.
If you struggle with understanding the educational content, reach out to the professor and ask if they can schedule a tutoring session with you. You can also try to schedule a meet-up with fellow classmates in order to form a study group. If everyone else in your class is busy, you could always do this online, too! This way you don’t need to worry about commuting to the library.
If you live with a significant other, this can also come in the form of domestic support. Asking your partner to help you with some of the housework is a great way to make sure that you’re not constantly struggling to juggle everything.
And if you’re having problems balancing work and school, try reaching out to a guidance counselor from the university or to an HR representative at your job, both of these professionals may be able to give you the emotional support and the resources to help you make everything work.
Go for an online degree
In case you weren’t already considering it, an online degree is a great way to attend a higher-education institution while avoiding being limited by time constraints. Most online degrees are more flexible, so you don’t need to worry about time conflicts. Usually, you’ll be able to complete your course work on your own time, this way you don’t need to stress about missing work.
Another great benefit of online education is that you don’t need to worry about where you live. If you already need to commute for work, then with an online program, you won’t have to throw in an extra commute into the mix. This is a huge benefit for anyone really worried about the amount of time they have, i.e, full-time workers.
Try productivity techniques
Finally, there are a lot of different techniques out there that can improve your productivity. In fact, most productivity experts nowadays are moving away from “how to squeeze every minute out of your day” to “how to improve the quality of the time you do have”.
As an example, the Pomodoro study method connects back to planning breaks. You set a timer, work for 25 minutes nonstop, then take a short 5-minute rest, then repeat. For many people, this is a great way to improve your level of concentration while working.
Of course, that’s not the only productivity method available to the world and there may be strategies that work better for you. Regardless, the goal is to improve the quality and efficiency of your time. If you working 40 hours a week and completing an intensive degree program, then you’ll want to make sure that the time you spend isn’t being wasted.
Create healthy habits
This next strategy links back to planning time for breaks. It’s fundamental for students to develop healthy habits as they go through their studies. Not only for your overall health and well-being but also because it’s shown to improve your academic proficiency.
If you take the time every week to do some exercise, eat properly, and take a mental rest, this ensures that you are rested and prepared for whatever the world throws at you. So even if you have a jam-packed schedule, you’ll be fully capable of any obstacle that comes in your way.
Healthy habits can come in many forms including exercising, eating fruits and vegetables, setting boundaries, establishing a routine, making room for a social life, taking care of your budget, cleaning your house, etc. In the end, completing a Master’s program while working full-time requires a lot of effort and determination. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that you are developing healthy habits that will make sure your life and your well-being don’t suffer.
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It’s Time To Get Studying
No one ever said this is going to be easy. But good things in life often don’t come easily. You’ll need the determination and drive to make your dreams come reality.
If your goal is to finally complete that Master’s degree you’ve always talked about, then the only thing that’s stopping you is you. It’s perfectly possible to get a Master’s while working a full-time job, especially with the opportunities available to you from online intensive programs, like the ones at the University of the Virgin Islands.
In many cases, you can complete your coursework in as little as 8 weeks, meaning that you’re just a few weeks away from that next step in your career. So don’t let that fear stop you, check out which online programs work for you and register today!