In this day and age, personalization is the name of the game. We want a customized experience at nearly every turn, from media streaming to finances to travel. Higher education is no exception. Today’s scholars want the freedom to learn what, when, and how they want to, which is why many turn to a polytechnic like BCIT.

Choosing the post-secondary experience that’s right for you involves a number of decisions. You’ll consider which subjects interest you, how much of your budget can be dedicated to education, and whether you’d prefer to learn virtually or in-person, just to name a few.

One of the most important factors is your schedule—how long do you plan to study for and when are you able to attend classes? In this article, we’re breaking down the pros and cons of full-time and part-time course loads at BCIT to help determine which option is best for you.

Full-time studies at BCIT

To be considered full-time status, BCIT students must be registered in either a Regular Credential program or a minimum of nine Flexible Learning credits each term. Those planning to focus most of their time on school, or who want to achieve a specific degree or diploma, often gravitate towards full-time enrollment.

Full-time students working towards the same degree tackle the curriculum as a team. Not only will you collaborate with your cohort on projects and celebrate each other’s accomplishments, you’ll also forge connections that can be professionally valuable after graduation.

You’ll take all your classes with your cohort—a group of 16–24 students—giving you the experience of working with a team on projects, just like you will in the workplace. Typically, you’ll have classes and hands-on training 5-7 hours a day, five days a week.

Your program will be divided almost equally between classroom learning and practical training, so you master the theory and the skills you need for your profession. You’ll tackle practical projects in groups of 2–10 students, which will help you develop teamwork, interpersonal and communication skills. Student projects are often sponsored by industry partners, giving you a chance to work with real issues in your field.

As a full-time student you are automatically registered into all the courses you need to complete your program, so you never have to worry about scheduling. You can focus completely on your studies—and entering the workforce when you graduate.

Flexible part-time courses

BCIT Flexible Learning can include as little as a half-credit each term or as many as your schedule allows, and is designed to fit your priorities. Curious about a topic but don’t want to commit to a full program? Pick and choose singular classes that pique your interest—and, if you choose, stack more to add up to a credential.

Flexible Learning is also ideal for those who have commitments that prevent them from attending regular full-time classes. If you’re managing a family or working during the day, BCIT allows you to forgo the traditional post-secondary schedule and work towards credentials at your own pace.

This part-time approach is also available in online or hybrid formats—opening up a world of possibilities for anyone who may not be able to join a physical classroom.

Hands-on experience at any pace

Whether you choose full-time or part-time, you’ll get the same quality curriculum and hireable skills from instructors who are experts in their field. Every course—from microcredentials to diploma and degree programs—combines academic and applied learning. You’ll learn by doing, and apply what you’ve learned in your classroom through hands-on training in labs, work placements, or sponsored projects.

Future-proofing your career path

With new professions emerging in Canada’s job market, many workers are looking to reskill and make a career change. They’ll often attend BCIT full-time in order to earn the necessary credits and get prepared for employment sooner. Those looking to build on their existing knowledge may choose to upskill with a few Flexible Learning courses, many of which offer digital badges, to enhance their resume.

To land your dream job, you’ll need the latest in-demand skills. As British Columbia’s only post-secondary with a mandate for workforce development, BCIT has its finger on the pulse of what local employers are seeking. We regularly consult with industry leaders to develop relevant courses that respond to the needs of today and tomorrow.

For those looking to drive innovation in their industry, interdisciplinary learning is key. Even if you’re working in one field, you can co-skill with part-time classes that broaden your knowledge  beyond your day-to-day work. For instance, how will buildings of the future function when architects gain a better understanding of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning?

Education that fits your budget

Saving for post-secondary a little at a time? With part-time Flexible Learning, you can pay for select courses as you go instead of investing in longer-term programs.

Students in either full-time or part-time course loads can also be eligible for government-funded student loans and grants. Of course, specific criteria must be met in order to qualify for each. If you’re considering this option, make sure you understand which BCIT programs and courses are permitted for financial aid and how many credits you’ll need to apply for assistance.

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Create your own learning pathway

There are many entry points to post-secondary learning at BCIT that recognize and accommodate different life stages. If circumstances change, you can transition your full-time curriculum into flexible part-time studies. Or you can start with just a few credits and ladder into full-time when it suits you.

Meet us at BCIT Big Info on Feb 15

If you’re still weighing the pros and cons of full-time versus part-time classes, register to attend Big Info in-person on February 15 from 4-7 pm at the BCIT Burnaby Campus.

Big Info is the largest program expo and information session at BCIT. It’s your chance to meet instructors and students from over 300 programs – from business and media, computing and IT, engineering, health sciences, trades and apprenticeships, and applied and natural sciences.

Can’t make Big Info in-person? You can still join Big Info online on February 22 from 4-7:20 pm. Register to attend online.