Life as a Part Time Student

Part-Time Students - What to Expect?

There is an increasing amount of young adults who study part-time. Not only does it allow you to accommodate your studies in your already busy life, but it also lets you improve your education whilst working full-time.

According to the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the Statistics on Post-School Education and Training in South Africa report, there are thousands of South African students who enrolled for part-time studies in 2013. Of this faction, 62.1% is female and 37.9% is male.  

With the current economic crisis and high unemployment rate, young adults from both sexes are searching for ways to maintain their households. The best way to do this, is through further education and job advancements.

Why study a part-time course?

There are many reasons you should study a part-time course. First, you can upskill yourself without having to take time off work and second, you can study something different and do a career change.

Part-time courses also work well for people who have never studied due to financial constraints. For example, many Matric students do not have the funds to go to college or university straight out of school. So, their only option is to get a job. Once they earn their own money, they can afford to further their studies. A part-time course then allows them to work full-time and pay for their own studies.

Things to consider when studying part-time

Just like everything else, part-time studies also has its advantages and disadvantages. Take a look at the lists below. This should give you a better idea whether part-time education is for you or not.

The advantages of studying part-time

  • You can apply what you have learned in the workplace.
  • You can work and study at the same time.
  • You can improve your career prospects without having to take a break from work.
  • You do not have to apply for a student loan (pay for your studies with your salary).
  •  Your part-time studies can fit into your busy work and life schedule.
  • It will take you longer to complete your course.
  • You will have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends.
  • If you have a child, you will have to find someone to babysit on the days you have to attend class.
  • You will require discipline and motivation, as you have to complete some of the coursework on your own.

The disadvantages of studying part-time

  • It will take you longer to complete your course.
  • You will have to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends.
  • If you have a child, you will have to find someone to babysit on the days you have to attend class.
  • You will require discipline and motivation, as you have to complete some of the coursework on your own. 

A day in the life of a part-time student with a full-time job

Here is an example of what a day in the life of a part-time student looks like. Pantelis Fouli is a part-time ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) student and full-time employee, husband and father. 

05.30am – Have breakfast and prepare lunches for the family.

07.15am – At the gym.

08.30am – At the office.

18.00pm – Leave the office and head for college.

21.15pm – On the way home from college.

22.15pm – Arrive home, have dinner and head for bed.

To some, this might seem a bit extreme, but remember that evening classes don’t take place every single night.

Also, if you study part-time through a distance learning college, you will not have to attend any classes. You will be in control of when and for how long you study at a time. 

Where can I study part-time courses in South Africa?

Here is a short list of learning institutions in South Africa that offer part-time studies.

Short Courses, Certificates and Diplomas

  • College SA
  • Damelin
  • Oxbridge Academy
  • Lyceum

National Certificates and Diplomas

  • College SA
  • Damelin
  • College of Cape Town

Advanced Diplomas and Degrees

  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • University of the Western Cape
  • Cape Peninsula University of Technology
  • The Business School
  • UNISA

What does it cost to study part-time?

Because part-time courses use the same course material as full-time study programmes, there will not be a price difference. The only differentiation is that it will take you longer to complete the part-time course. You will get the same qualification as the student who studied full-time.

In general, distance learning courses are more affordable than traditional class-based study programmes.