We highlight six ways athletes can continue their studies while still dedicating time to training and competition

Between training, travelling and competing, life as an athlete doesn’t give you much time for anything else. But if you still want to pursue your education alongside your sporting career, there are a number of flexible options to make achieving your academic goals a reality…

Split your time

Part-time study is one of the most common ways that athletes can balance their education with their sporting career. Some schools and universities do offer some type of part-time study option, which will usually involve spreading the study commitments over an extended period of time.

Go the distance

Distance learning is perfect for athletes who travel regularly and aren’t able to regularly attend classes on campus. Some higher education institutions allow students to complete certain subjects through distance learning, while there are also many dedicated distance education centres. These options will allow you to complete the same course as on-campus students by studying at your own pace, wherever you are in the world.

Go online

Similar to distance learning, there are also many courses available that can be completed exclusively online. These can range from degrees and postgraduate studies to industry qualifications and even short academic courses, such as those available on the Athlete Learning Gateway.

Be a night owl

Evening classes enable you to keep your daytime hours free for training, with both full-time and part-time options usually available. In particular, many postgraduate and industry-specific courses will be offered through part-time evening classes, as they are often aimed at professionals who are already working full-time jobs.

Get intense

Many courses may also be available through intensive or “block” studying. This will usually involve condensing all your required learning into concentrated “blocks” over a shorter period of time. This could be a series of weekends or two or three scheduled weeks over the course of a semester. Studying like this means that you can complete your studies quickly while minimising the impact on your training.

Take a break

While deferring your studies enables you to simply start your course at a later date, if you are already studying and finding it hard to balance your education with your training, you may be able to suspend or pause your studies – for a semester or even an entire academic year – without losing your place on the course. This means you can focus entirely on your training and then pick up your studies again when you’ve got more time.