It doesn’t matter whether you’re just leaving high school or have taken years off from schooling. There are different ways of learning and some suit people better than others. To make the most of your higher education, you need to find the best form of studying. This could be in a classroom environment with lots of other students around or it could be in your own time through distance learning.

Before you make a decision, you need to understand all the options available to you. This is the only way you can work out the pros and cons and determine the one that is right for your style of studying and your needs.

How Will You Study Best?
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What's the best way for you to study?

Full-Time Study Through an Institution

This is the most common option, especially for those leaving high school. It offers the most range of courses and you can study anywhere in the country – or even the world! This is the traditional method of learning, where a tutor or lecturer will teach you the material and set assignments for you to hand in. You will receive feedback and can ask questions easily and quickly. It follows a structure so you know when you’ll have class and then have spare time to study, socialise and work.

This is suited to those with no other commitments, apart from possibly a partner. It is great for young adults who want to leave their home and learn how to live on their own. However, it can mean relocated hundreds of miles away, depending on where you choose to study. Full-time studying makes it possible to make new friends quickly – some for life – but will also mean that you cannot work full-time. If you have financial commitments, you may find that this isn’t quite for you.

One of the benefits that many students find is the structure. Younger adults can find it difficult to set time for themselves to do their school work, especially if they have been so used to a strict timetable at school. This may not be a problem as you get older and have life experience of time management and arranging to do things in your own time.

Part-Time Study Through an Institution

Part-time study is a great option for those who need to work while study but still want the benefits of full-time learning. Students who opt for this time will still find that they have the structure and someone teaching the material but it is usually around their working hours. The classes may be in the evening or weekends and it is not taught under the same time constraints as it is at full-time institutions.

There is more chance for people to work, allowing those with financial commitments and a family to look after to study at the same time. However, there are still exam dates and lessons to think about. Part-time study doesn’t work for everyone. Not all employers will be happy to arrange for a certain day off in the week and may not be able to honour holidays.

This is something that employees need to talk to their bosses about. Doing this before applying for a course will help to make sure the time commitment is feasible. This often depends on the reason for studying and the type of job that you do.

Studying Through Distance Learning

A third option that is becoming popular is distance learning. One of the biggest institutions for distance learning in the UK is the Open University. There is a wide range of courses available at the many different institutions offering this form of study and it is perfect for those who need to work and study in their own time.

Studying through distance learning does require a lot of self-motivation and time management. There are no strict lessons to attend but there are some deadlines and exams. The tutorials – both online and offline – are often voluntarily if you can fit them around your schedule. One of the downsides is that the tutors differ in their experience and ability to help students. Some students will have tutors that are easy to contact and will help every step of the way while others aren’t so lucky.

The lack of schedule is a pro and a con. It is great for students who need to work around their job. They can study on the train to work, in their lunch break or even late at night when the kid’s have gone to bed. However, it is really easy to push off a night of study onto the next night and get behind on the course. There are also exam dates that you will have to book off and hope that there isn’t a problem with your boss.

Before you choose a form of learning, you need to think about your needs and the way that you learn best. Distance learning may sound great to fit around your own schedule but you will need to have the motivation and skills to study on your own. For some fresh out of high school, distance learning has a steep learning curve but is extremely rewarding when you pass your exams and get your degree.