Skip to main content

Taking Online Classes While Working Full-Time

WVU Online | Wednesday, April 3, 2024

In recent years, online learning has become a popular, flexible alternative to traditional on-campus education.

In fact, it’s the flexibility, in particular, that is drawing more prospective students to online degree and certificate programs. In the 2022-2023 academic year, 53% of U.S. students were enrolled in at least one online course.

Maybe you’re considering joining them.

If you feel hesitant about balancing online classes and full-time work commitments, you’re not alone.

While the idea of adding online classes to an already busy schedule may seem daunting, with proper planning and support, you can do it!

Benefits of Taking Online Classes While Working Full-Time

Online classes are great alternatives for students who work full-time, have multiple responsibilities, and don’t have the time to drive across town after a full day of work to sit in a classroom for two hours.

Here are a few more reasons why this is a good option for working students:

Flexibility and Self-Paced Learning

Online education is specifically designed to fit into the lives of full-time workers.

With flexibility in scheduling and no need to commute to campus, it affords students the option to learn at their own pace and schedule school work around their professional and personal commitments.

Accredited Online Programs are High Quality

Getting your degree online is a great convenience, but you also don’t have to sacrifice educational quality.

Accreditation guarantees that the program meets recognized benchmarks for excellence in education.

So, if your program is accredited by a reputable institution, your online education is just as valuable as one you would get on campus.

Career Advancement

For many students working full-time, online learning allows students to pursue higher learning without interrupting their professional trajectory.

There is also the added benefit of being able to apply new skills and concepts to your current job. This is great for you, your employer, and your career prospects.

In fact, some employers are willing to provide tuition reimbursement for online courses that are relevant to your current role.

Online School is More Affordable

Online programs tend to be more affordable than their on-campus counterparts.

They lack the overhead costs and expenses associated with traditional brick-and-mortar institutions, so it’s an excellent way to get the same quality education at a lower cost.

Strategies for Success

Making online classes work while juggling a full-time job will come down to your ability to manage, prioritize, and structure these competing priorities.

Here are a few tips to consider:

1. Create a Structured Schedule

Take a look at your current daily and weekly schedule to see your availability.

How many hours can you devote each week to your classes? Are there major projects or assignments coming up for school and/or work? How can you break up the work over a period of time so that it doesn’t pile up on you?

Use a scheduling tool or a physical planner to reserve time in your week for classes and assignments, and then stick to it.

2. Set Clear Goals and Priorities

This is related to the first suggestion, but it’s important to establish the goals you want to accomplish and divide them into more manageable tasks.

Use productivity tools to manage your time and tasks, like Google Calendar or Microsoft To Do.

3. Develop Time Management Skills

To stay on top of your tasks, allocate specific time blocks for each task on your schedule.

You will need dedicated time for focus and productivity. The key to balancing work and school is setting deadlines for yourself and holding yourself accountable to them.

Sometimes that means turning down social events in favor of knocking out 1-2 hours of work on that big class project due next month. But your future self will thank you for it!

4. Seek Employer Support

Share your educational goals with your employer and see if there are ways to adjust your work schedule or tasks to accommodate your studies.

Chances are your employer will be willing to accommodate you, especially if the degree you are pursuing will help you become an even more valuable asset to the company.

5. Stay Engaged with Your Classes

Actively participate in your classes by contributing thoughtful insights, questions, and responses to group discussions and collaborating with your peers.

One of the downsides to online learning is that it is easy to fade into the background and not be fully present during lectures.

You get what you put into it.

Actively work to form relationships and rapport with your classmates and instructors. Form or participate in virtual study groups. You’ll get more out of your program this way.

6. Take Care of Your Health

Whenever you’re juggling full-time work and online courses, there is the risk of burnout and taking on too much.

One way to combat that is by taking care of yourself.

Managing your time well is just one aspect of going back to school. You’ll also need to manage your health, sleep, and stress levels.

7. Don’t Overcommit Yourself in the Beginning

When you’re just starting, try to limit your first semester to 1-2 classes until you get the hang of the workload.

This will give you time to adjust your schedule, figure out what works, and get your systems set up.

Once you’ve got a good system going, you can add more courses in future terms if you’ve got the bandwidth.

8. Lean on Your Support Systems

Don't hesitate to seek help from professors, student support services, and your circle of friends and family when needed.

They can offer guidance, resources, and a supportive ear when you need it.

This includes setting boundaries with loved ones around your study schedule and availability. You may be largely unavailable until your program is finished. That’s okay.

Communicate those needs upfront so that the people in your life understand.

9. Celebrate Milestones

Whether completing a challenging assignment, receiving a high grade, or simply making it through a tough week, celebrate your progress!

It can fuel your motivation to keep moving toward your goals.

Treat yourself to your favorite meal or treat, a movie night to relax and recharge, or quality time with family or friends.

WVU Online’s Degree Programs Are Well-Suited for People Working Full-Time

WVU Online's degree programs are tailored to meet the needs of individuals balancing full-time employment with their educational aspirations.

With flexible scheduling options and a commitment to quality education, WVU Online provides a supportive environment for students to thrive academically while advancing their careers.

For more information, contact our learning engagement center to speak with one of our admission coaches. They are dedicated to helping students succeed and are ready to provide personalized support every step of the way.

We're here for you.

Call us, write us, or fill out the request information form. Whichever communication style you prefer, there will be someone from WVU Online on the other end waiting to help.

(800) 253-2762 Email Us Submit a Contact Request Form

WVU Online

Be a decision maker. First, your degree. World-class academics at an exceptional value.

Occasionally a student will encounter an issue with an online course that he or she doesn’t know how to resolve. Should this occur, please visit the link below.

Internal Student Complaint Process

Contact Us

WVU Online
West Virginia University
PO Box 6800
Morgantown, WV 26506-6800

Phone: (800) 253-2762

Connect with WVU Online

Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn YouTube TicToc Icon