Part Time Pays Off
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 01:10
Many students fantasize about prolonging their years spent on the Hilltop, but the reality of some undergraduates’ finances and futures can make studying part time as a senior a more practical option. The university could do more to make part-time accommodations easily accessible to these upperclassmen.
There are two main motivations for taking fewer than 12 credits in a semester: monetary savings and pursuit of professional opportunities in the city. Whether it requires racking up debt before graduation or paying Georgetown’s hefty tuition upfront, a full-time situation for four years takes a toll on many families. Some students may opt for a part-time alternative to shorten their time at college; others might use it to stretch the process out. In any case, when so much money is on the line, students deserve to have a full array of options on the table.
A more flexible part-time policy would also allow for complementary out-of-classroom experiences. Transitioning to a job during senior year, for instance, would be made easier with a part-time class schedule, and juniors would have the opportunity to work at off-campus jobs that are too demanding to balance with a full class schedule. Studying part time may not be the ideal Georgetown experience, but neither is graduating early or taking time off from school, which some students elect to do in the absence of a part-time option. The District has an incredible range of educational opportunities, and students should have the ability to take advantage of these resources in the same way that students who study abroad can.
Given the possibilities that a more comprehensive part-time program would entail, Georgetown’s current policies fall short. Only seniors are allowed to take fewer than 12 credits, and they can only be part time for a single semester. There are clear reasons why the dean’s office would be wary of part-time students. There are financial concerns: Students who live in university housing and use club resources must pay full tuition. There are also curricular concerns to be addressed: There is value in students’ immersion in their studies without distractions from the other activities that a part-time schedule might encourage.
Despite these reservations, the university should consider making part-time course loads a more feasible option. The option may not be heavily utilized, but the ability to choose a part-time experience could contribute to a learning environment that serves each student’s needs and interests.