Balancing Online College with Work

Balancing Online School With Work

Many reports state students who enroll full-time, even for one or more semesters, in college are more likely to graduate than those who enroll part-time. But not everyone can afford to go full-time every semester. Many students must hold a job as well as attend college.

While attending college online is making it easier for some to pace themselves and complete college in a time frame fitting to their busy lives, others are struggling to find balance.

Life, especially work, can occasionally get in the way of us reaching our educational goals, creating an unwanted imbalance.

This does not have to be the case, however. There are ways you can balance online college with your work. Keep reading to find out what you can do to meet both college and work-related goals.


Support System

Building a support system means to form relationships with people who can provide positive help to you when needed. Some people in your support system may offer you encouragement when you are feeling down. Others may provide transportation to work if your car breaks down.

Support people are those who want to see you succeed in both your education and your work. They want you reach your goals. They respect you and appreciate your efforts to gain knowledge and maintain your own finances by working.

Support systems can include family members, friends, co-workers, teachers, pastors, and anyone else who brings positive influence on your life.

Steps to building a support system starts with figuring out what it is you need exactly. You can’t know who to ask for support until you know the areas that are lacking. Next, be specific in telling your potential supports what you need from them.

Finally, use your support resources. Follow through. Meaning, when you need help, contact your support person. They cannot help you if you do not let them.



There are areas of your life that can be more flexible than others. Socializing at a club every Friday night is not as important as studying for a final exam. It is up to you to figure the specific things in your life that are non-negotiable. Those are your top priority.

Each specific area of your life will also have priorities. For example, your work life will have priorities such as show up on time or get a promotion. Your online college duties can be prioritized as well. From completing courses to getting a diploma, determine what is most important.

Once finished, set up your calendar and lifestyle so that it helps you maintain your priorities. And continue to improve or tweak your priorities as needed.



You may be thinking sleep is the last thing you have time to do between work, online college courses, family responsibilities and a social life. Sleep, however, is one of the best ways to help you stay balanced while working and attending school.

Sleep is the time in which the body restores itself. Sleep is a time when hormones are regulated, and healing takes place.

It has been noted that college students do not get the necessary sleep needed for the body. Lack of sleep makes it hard for students to concentrate, impaired mood and can eventually have a negative impact on grades and job performance.

Sleep gives the body a chance to rebalance itself from the day’s stressors, allowing balance in all other areas of your life.


Stay Organized

The more cluttered your schedule, the more chaotic your life can feel. From the very beginning, when you first enroll in online college, start organizing everything. The more structured your life, the better. Many find having set routines are beneficial when trying to balance work and school.

With coursework, write every important date on a calendar as a reminder of what is upcoming. Write down each exam day and time, when projects are due, and even when you need to log into your course.

With work, make note of days on and days off. Compare those dates and times with your college calendar to see if any overlap. Are you scheduled to work at the same time a research paper is due? If so, you may want to reschedule one of these to avoid interference.

Keeping a daily calendar and to-do list can help you feel rewarded each time you cross an item off your list. That feeling of reward is motivation to continue completing tasks.



It’s easy to get caught up in your every day responsibilities. You go to work, complete online coursework, manage relationships with family and friends. What you may not be doing is listening to the needs of your physical and mental health.

Achieving balance within your mind and body is essential to achieving balance in college and work.

Address the areas that need attention. If you are experiencing headaches, you may have too much stress. This stress can lead to poor work performance. It can also lead to skipping classes and failing to complete coursework.

Make time for yourself, to do something enjoyable. This does not have to be a week-long vacation to the islands. It can be simple activities like going for a walk, getting a massage, or going to lunch with a friend. If you aren’t taking care of your needs, you may start to feel too drained to do your best in school and at work.

Be open with your boss and your support system as to how you are feeling and what you need to feel better. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Go one step further and find a mentor, one who can hold you accountable while also helping you find solutions to problems.

Mentors can also be people who have been through and survived attending online college and working. They can serve as role models, proof that your goals are realistic and achievable.

Most importantly, be proud of yourself for having the maturity to attend both online college classes and maintain a job.