Your Guide to Working Full Time and Going to School

May 21, 2021

Working full-time and going to school can be a challenge. After all, there are so many tasks one person can juggle. Still, there are plenty of students who have figured out a way to make it work.

According to a 2018 report conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 43 percent of college students were employed while attending school full time. These individuals can be credited with finding creative ways to balance a full-time work schedule with academic demands. Check out the information below to find out more.

8 Ways to Manage When Working Full Time and Going to School

going to college full time is difficult with a job

Time management is key when it comes to finding a balance between school and work. Read the eight tips below to learn how to manage your course load while going to work full time.

1. Create a Schedule You Can Stick To

The good thing about college courses is that they’re often accommodating to existing schedules. Many schools offer evening classes, weekend classes, or hybrid programs that allow you to do a good chunk of your school work remotely. You can also look at gaps in your work schedule and dedicate those days to going to school.

Talk to your boss and see if they’re willing to make adjustments to your schedule while working full time and going to school. They might allow you to leave early some days or start later than usual so that you can make it to class.

2. Find a Program That Works For You

Make sure to do your homework before deciding on a program. Research what’s available near you and see what kinds of accommodations they can provide for working students. If you can’t find anything suitable in your area, then see what kinds of programs are available online.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges will likely experience more demand for remote learning opportunities. These programs allow individuals working full time a significant amount of flexibility. They also cost just a fraction of what campus-based institutions typically charge.

New England Tech has been a pioneer in professionally-focused, industry-based education designed for working professionals and adult learners who may have weekday responsibilities. Learn more about our wide range of degree program options with flexibility for adults.

3. Take Advantage of Your PTO

If your work provides paid time off (PTO), then don’t just use it for vacation or sick days. Take a day off every now and then to prepare for a major exam or finish up an important project. You can also leverage holiday time off to get ahead of your course schedule or plan for the upcoming semester.

Don’t forget to look for additional opportunities to squeeze in some study time, too. Long commutes, meal breaks, and even a quick trip to the gym can provide a window to review notes or listen to a lecture.

4. Find a Support System On and Off-Campus

Working full time and going to school is a pretty demanding routine. It can be hard to ensure you’re meeting all responsibilities and getting them done on time. Try to think of solutions before the school year begins, and don’t be afraid to discuss the situation with your boss and your professors.

You can also use calendar and reminder apps to help you manage your schedule when school’s in session. These resources can help you anticipate professional commitments that may interfere with your school work and plan ways around them.

Of course, you should also consult with family and friends. See what they can do to help out when you’re especially busy, whether that means delivering a home-cooked meal, helping you study before a big exam, or simply lending an ear when you need it.

working full time at college

5. Stay Organized

The pressure to meet academic and professional deadlines can cause a lot of anxiety. Do yourself a favor and maintain an organized schedule. That way, you won’t have to worry about walking into class during an exam or showing up to work unprepared.

Think about the amount of time it takes you to complete an assignment. Schedule your tasks so that you get everything done on time and without getting stressed out.

Of course, mistakes do happen. If you fail to get something in on time, own up, apologize, and move on. Don’t fixate on the problem too long. Instead, use it as an opportunity to revisit and revamp your current process.

6. Don’t Burn Yourself Out

You’ll need to carve out some fun between working full time and going to school, but try to keep it to the weekends, or when you have time to rest and recover. In other words, be respectful of your school nights.

Try to eat a balanced diet and go to sleep at a decent hour. Doing so will help preserve both your physical and mental health.

7. Utilize Your Internal Clock

Some people thrive in the early morning, others find themselves more productive at night. Think about where you fall on the spectrum and how you should schedule your high-priority items.

Of course, allow yourself some flexibility here. If you find you aren’t being productive even during this window, then take a break and try to refocus.

8. Don’t Forget to Reward Yourself

Working full time while going to school is a major achievement. Don’t forget to celebrate yourself for it. Besides, everyone needs to let loose once in a while. Check in with your friends regularly.

See if you can arrange a time to get together during one of your days off. Even if you can’t get together in person, a video chat or phone call can operate as the social break you need to get through a challenging week.

The Benefits of Working While Going to School

There are certain benefits to maintaining professional commitments while in school. Check out the list below to learn more.

You’ll Have More Money to Help Pay Your Tuition

According to recent statistics, of the 42.9 million Americans with student debt, each owes an average of $36,406 in federal loans. Working students are in a better position to avoid this kind of debt.

The money they earn while in school can go towards covering the cost of their education. That way, they can avoid taking out such large loans – and paying interest on those loans – in attempts to cover their tuition.

You Can Keep Your Employee Benefits

A lot of employers offer full-time employees tuition assistance or reimbursement so long as it  goes towards degrees that will help them advance in their current career. You can also take advantage of your existing employee benefits like health insurance and your 401 (k).

If your tuition includes on-campus health coverage, you could be eligible for a waiver or reimbursement. Meanwhile, continued contributions to your 401(k) account mean you’ll have already started preparing for retirement by the time you graduate.

You’ll Be Able to Leverage Real-World Skills

Your college experience is meant to prepare you for the professional world. Having already made that jump means you possess the skills, experience, and knowledge needed to succeed in your position.

Those qualities are sure to help you stand out from other applicants and could be the push needed to get you the offer.

How New England Tech Can Help

going to school full time can be difficult with a job. Here's how to cope.

NEIT’s associate’s and bachelor’s degree options offer evening class schedules and can be completed in 18 months or as little as three years. In addition, all of our master’s degree programs are designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals.

Many of our graduate programs have now moved online. We look forward to evolving our hi-flex options as we continue moving towards the future. 

Our support services are designed to meet your needs. Tutoring is available to help you ace your coursework, and you will have a student advisor assigned to you to help you stay on track for graduation and get you all the help you need as you get ready for your new career.


Should I quit my full-time job to go to school?

If you have the resources to go to school full-time without working, then you can certainly entertain that option. But if you need the money, you can continue working while attending college.

In fact, according to a report conducted by the NCES, most undergraduate students aged 16 to 64 are employed at the same time they are enrolled in school.

Is it possible to do school and work full time?

It is possible to attend school while working. In fact, it is quite common. According to a 2018 report, 81% of part-time students reported working while getting their education. Another 43 percent of full-time students reported the same.

How many hours should a full-time college student work at a job?

Though it is possible to maintain a full work schedule at university, it can be difficult to balance. For that reason, certain individuals recommend working no more than 12 hours a week. That schedule seems to provide students with enough incentive to remain disciplined while giving them the time needed to adequately focus on their studies.