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Part-Time Programs
Information Provided by Kaplan Test Prep

If you need to work while in grad school - particularly while you're in the coursework stage - find out how much flexibility the program affords. Is part-time study even an option?

Carrying two classes per semester instead of four can make balancing work and study possible. However, part-time programs can take quite a long time to complete. Some people find this discouraging.

Ask Questions

Find out how a program accommodates part-timers. Appropriate questions include:

  • Are there night/weekend classes?
  • Is the library open at night and on weekends?
  • What about the campus computer center? The lab?
  • What sort of financial aid, if any, is available for part-timers?
Most important, question students who are currently in the program, especially those who work. Also approach professors. Some can be intolerant of working students' limited study time and work obligations - especially when that means missing class.

Research The Program

Ask a few critical questions about a part-time program's curriculum and standards.

  • Are the course offerings the same as in the full-time program?
  • Do the same faculty members teach as in the full-time program?
  • Do part-time students get the same priority as those in the full-time program when registering for courses. Often full-timers have an earlier registration, meaning some courses could be filled before you get a chance.
  • Are the admissions standards for both the same? If the part-time program has different admissions or faculty standards, investigate the program more carefully. It may not be up to the standards of the full-time version.
Some Questions to Ask of Yourself

  • Does the prestige of a program matter to you?
    If so, find out if a school's part-time program carries the same cachet as the full-time version.

  • Are you hoping to use your grad degree as a stepping-stone for career advancement?
    If so, see what sort of career services are available for part-timers.
In summary, if you're attending a part-time degree solely because you love learning, prestige and job-hunting assistance may not matter to you.

However, if a part-time grad degree is meant to enhance your career, view your enrollment in a program just as you'd regard any big-ticket investment.

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