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Extra-occupational study: First career, then university?

The choice of a career or study you meet at a young age is often no longer valid for life. Therefore, extra-occupational study can improve career opportunities. An overview.

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Back to university - first career, then university

At the age of eighteen I'm doing my Abitur, then at the most one year FSJ and then I should go to university. In a similar way, studying the system seems to be considered, which is confirmed at first glance by the average freshman. The adjustments both internationally to Bologna and the move to the high school after only eight years high school aim in the same direction.

The average age of undergraduates has consequently fallen steadily over the last few years. It is currently something over 21 years. But not every student, luckily, is. For a variety of reasons, many start their studies at a later date in life, for example, after training or after some time in the workday.

Why should you study after starting your career?

There are many different reasons for this. Often it is simply professional interest or the desire to take another step in the career. A course of study is then often the right way to develop or further develop in the professional context - for example, if a paralegal employee decides to study law.

A big argument is that unfortunately in reality with an academic degree certificate you often have job hunting advantages. Those who have a university certificate can often be more attractive to the job market.

Study as a possibility for specialization

The breadth of basic knowledge that is taught during a course often goes further than the partially company-specific work experience that can be gained in a few years on the job. Therefore, they often see the possibility that the basics of learning for the new job are more likely to exist.

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There are many good apprenticeship occupations in Germany, which is why even people who develop a deeper interest do not choose to study at the beginning. Then later it may be determined that without a degree program the desired specialization or further education is not possible. An under-demand from a job without training opportunities may well lead to the need for new challenges.

Study without Abitur - planned from the beginning?

The university entrance qualification in Germany is obtained in most cases by a high school diploma. However, there is also the possibility of a general university entrance right for continuing vocational training.

  1. Depending on the state, different rules apply. In Baden-Württemberg, for example, you can also study without a high school diploma - but only in a related field after having completed vocational training and at least three years' professional experience.
  2. In addition, an aptitude test is required after a counseling session at the university. In North Rhine-Westphalia, however, such an examination is not required if the subject corresponds to the professional experience.

So if you are interested in studying without a (Fach-) Hochschulreife, you should inform yourself urgently about the requirements in your own and surrounding federal states. It may also be a good plan, instead of completing secondary school education to gain entry to the university.

First training, then studies

Basically, this is a good idea, because right after leaving school, the horizon for both topics and ideas for working life is often not given. Then one can first decide on a career choice, in order then to make the decision to study at a later date dependent on more personal experience.

The common fear of being too old to study is usually completely unfounded. Above all, if you already have an education and work experience, you often have advantages in the application process.

Various possibilities

Studying does not always mean being on campus from Monday to Friday and tackling post-graduation and study projects at the weekend - there are many different forms and models that can be taken to study. Depending on the life situation and your own preferences, these have various advantages and disadvantages.

Ordinary full-time study

An attendance study at a university with morning courses in the weekly cycle is the norm. If you have no other obligations and maybe want to get to know the real student life, this is recommended.

Extra-occupational part time

Who is further education If you want to, but can not or do not want to give up the current position, you can do both with a part-time degree course. The programs offered in this form often have a longer standard period of study. So they are also feasible with less weekday hours with the same scope. Personal priorities are important here.

There are several different models for this:

  1. Evening courses: Many face-to-face events, mostly after 18: 00 pm until late in the evening. After work it goes to the university.
  2. Weekend Study: TheCourses take place on weekends, so that in addition to work on weekdays can still be completed the study.
  3. Block Studies: Seminars and lectures are offered in intensive blocks, for example four days at a time, up to nine hours a day (with breaks). So only occasionally a few days leave to be used to attend these block courses.
  4. Up study: A large part of the study takes place on a specific day of the week (often on Fridays). On that day, a free day must be agreed with the employer - for example, by working up the missing hours during the rest of the week.
  5. Distance learning: With absolutely free timing, but more demands on self-discipline, since almost everything has to be learned in self-study. Unfortunately, not every course of study is offered as distance learning, but job-related is quite common.

Coping with the extra-occupational study

Many forms of part-time studies consist at least to some extent of self-study. Depending on the life situation and the flexibility that results from it, then you have to choose the appropriate one. In most cases, forms can also be combined so that, for example, evening classes are supplemented with courses on Saturdays and online seminars. But even if you do not study extra-occupational, you are often in a different life situation beyond the 20, in which you have to tackle the study differently.

A distance learning program is of course particularly interesting for parents, since then less problems arise in terms of looking after the offspring. Of course, the additional time required is not easy to manage, but no daily stay in an expensive full-time day care center is necessary. Evening lectures may be part of everyday life during part-time studies.

The financing of a study

If one thinks in this country of the financing of the study, one has immediately BAföG, mini job and the family as supporters in the head. However, in many cases these options are no longer possible at a later start of the study.


BAföG is usually only when the Student at the beginning of his studies under 30 years old is. Likewise, you may not have taken more than a vocational qualifying school education. Good news for returnees: If you want to achieve a master's degree in the economy after some time, you can even receive the BAföG grant up to 35 years.

rise scholarship

Anyone who has worked in their profession for several years after completing their education, but would now like to continue training, may consider an upward mobility scholarship as an option. This is a funding offer of the Federal Ministry of Education and is linked to specific requirements, so that the right target group can profit from it:

  1. Completed vocational training and at least two years of professional experience.
  2. Good professional ability, about above average grade in the training examination.
  3. Tied to state recognized colleges and BA, state exam and MBA degrees.

This support can be requested for students full-time, but also extra-occupational. Likewise, you can even apply for it until the end of the second semester.

Parental allowance as a full-time support for parents

Another special feature applies if you already have or have a child as a first-year student. Anyone who does not do a full-time job can do one financial support for parents receive. Even students have the opportunity to apply for parental allowance. For extra-occupational students who continue to work full time, of course, this is not possible, but this case should be the exception rather anyway.

Student loans

A good last resort, which is available up to a study entry age of 44 years, is the Student loan from the development bank KfW, This can be applied for any form of study, extra-occupational or full-time. Thus, even later in life, a study can be financially supported, even if no half is granted as a grant as BAföG.

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