College students have options. You can go to school as a full-time student or take just one to two classes per semester. A typical full-time schedule means that you take at least 12 credit hours during the fall and spring semesters. While part-time students have some flexibility for work and family, full-time students have advantages specific to that format.
One of the most inherent benefits of being a full-time student over a part-timer is that you get to graduation day faster, assuming you pass your classes. A full-time student taking 15 credits per semester can normally graduate with a bachelor degree in the traditional four years. Similarly, a full-time associate degree student can graduate within two years. The sooner you graduate, the sooner you can reap the economic value of holding a degree.
While part-timers have more time to balance classes with work and family life, a full-time student is dedicated to learning while in school. This means more of your schedule centers on classes and studies, but it can make it easier for you to get into active school mode. Dedication to being a full-time student means you can experience the synergy of concentrating on classes, studies, preparing for tests and other academic responsibilities. Full-time students also have more convenient access to advisers, professors and academic support services.
Greater Completion Rates
Full-time students are significantly more likely to graduate or complete a degree program than part-time peers, according to a November 2012 study released by the National Student Clearinghouse. Nearly 75 percent of full-time students earned a degree, compared to just one-third of part-time students in the final year of the study. Juggling school with work, family and other commitments may explain part of the reason for lower part-time completion rates. Full-time students also tend to make a firmer commitment toward their education.
Access to More Extra Activities
Colleges, programs and instructors offer extra learning opportunities and activities that are typically more accessible for full-time students. Some degree programs have student clubs, for instance. The meetings often take place in the afternoons, when part-time students may have to leave for work. Similarly, full-time students who live on campus and have a dedicated college lifestyle have easier access to intramural sports, seminars and campus activities.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.