By Sarah Stevenson
Do you ever feel like your to-do list is overflowing, or as if each day somehow has fewer hours in it than the previous one? Everyone feels that way from time to time, but when a busy lifestyle clashes with self-improvement goals such as educational and career advancement, it can be especially frustrating.
For people who already have a family and a full-time job, figuring out how to kick-start your existing career or begin a new one by attending college classes can seem like the impossible dream. But there are solutions—such as taking a class at a college online.
Getting a college education, or adding to your skill set through professional development, can lead to a more rewarding career or a higher-paying, more stable job, but only if you can figure out how to fit those classes into your already-busy schedule. Many traditional college classes take place during hours when working people are on the clock, and evening classes can conflict with family and non-work obligations.
Options for Fitting College into Your Schedule
The good news is that universities, community colleges and other postsecondary institutions are coming up with innovative ways of addressing the needs of working students. Taking class at a college online is the most popular option, but one strategy recently reported in the New York Times is to schedule classes during early morning or late night hours—and we're talking very late night.
It may sound strange, but for someone like a taxi dispatcher or a landscaper, a class that starts after 11 p.m. or before 7 a.m. might be perfect. What are the advantages to being on campus in the dead of night or in the wee hours of the morning? No competition for parking spaces, for one thing! Check the schedule at your local community college for classes scheduled outside of your work hours.
Taking a Class at a College Online
Thanks to increasingly sophisticated technology, you'll find traditional and cutting-edge educational techniques at your fingertips when you enroll in an online class. Online environments offer chat rooms, discussion boards and mail features. Taking class at college online also offers greater flexibility because lecture materials and assignments can be accessed and completed at any time of day and from any location.
Taking a class at a college online also means you don't need to spend hours commuting to campus; you can tackle coursework from the comfort of your home and still have time to accomplish other things. Online courses are offered through a variety of accredited institutions, including public colleges and universities, private postsecondary schools and vocational training programs. If the course you want isn't offered by a school in your area, don't fret. Most colleges with online programs admit students regardless of their geographic location.
Options for education, like distance online learning and late-night or early-morning classes are not only good for working students with busy lifestyles, they're also good for the colleges themselves. Community colleges and other public institutions, in particular, are finding that offering online or off-hours education courses has increased their enrollment. With many people now deciding to return to school and gain additional skills or retrain in a different career, some colleges don't have enough room to accommodate everyone in daytime or evening classes. Scheduling less conventional class times and offering classes at the college online can allow more students to take classes, which also benefits the educational institution.