5 Ways to Stay Motivated as a Part-Time College Student


Remember the old saying “It takes money to make money?” Well, for students, the statement is altered to, “It takes money for the chance to make money!” Unfortunately, a number of college students simply can’t afford full-time tuition cost. College Data states, “According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2014–2015 school year was $31,231 at private colleges, $9,139 for state residents at public colleges; and $22,958 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.” This is the reality for students who opt for the traditional path of attending college right after high school graduation.

However, there are alternative paths leading to college. Some people have full-time jobs, but still need a degree to advance in their careers. While others have to postpone going back to school in order to care for families or tend to other personal matters.

Being a part-time college student can become very stressful and discouraging. Long days filled with school, a job, and family can take away from having a social life. Taking fewer classes means that it’ll take longer to graduate, and it’s a known fact that many part-time students never graduate.

While the media shines light on the negative, the truth is that many current and prospective students are shifting toward the option of part-time studies. According to Complete College America, “Only 25% of today’s college students live on a residential campus and attend school full-time.” The true key to achieving success in graduating isn’t about how long it takes; the keys are remaining positive and motivated.

Here are 5 ways to stay motivated while working toward your degree part-time!

1. Set Attainable Goals: Try to set academic and personal goals. One way to visually see your goals is to create a vision board. Create a board with photos of things you desire, such as a person graduating. Seeing this every day will be a constant reminder of what you’re working towards!

2. Join a Campus Organization: Many students feel like they're "too busy" or "too old" to join campus organizations. You'd be surprised to know that most organizations only meet two to three times a month; however, those few meetings can have a huge impact on how you view college. You can develop networking, leadership, and social skills. Creating a bond with people who share the same passions as you can also inspire you to keep pushing for your degree!

3. Take Summer Courses: We know that being a part-time student can prolong the time it takes to graduate. Taking a summer course or 2 is a great way to make up those lost credit hours from the school year! Summer classes are typically more relaxed and the smaller class size allows you more interaction with your instructors for additional help.

4. Find a Mentor or Support Network: Talking out your concerns with a mentor can be both therapeutic and informative. You’re able to share your concerns as well as receive advice on how to move forward. Another great way to remain motivated is by joining a support network. Find other part-time students who juggle the same things as you. Knowing you’re not alone, and seeing how others handle and succeed in your same situation will inspire you to continue.

5. Do What Makes You Happy: Attending College should be a choice you’ve made for yourself. So if you didn’t make that choice for yourself, chances are you don’t have the motivation to complete your studies. The same concept applies when it comes to declaring your major. Everyone in your family may be a doctor, but if you want to be a History teacher then go for it! The purpose for obtaining your degree should be to elevate your passions for the way YOU want to impact the world, not anyone else’s!