Campus-based learning has its benefits — it’s an immersive experience that blends educational elements with a busy social calendar, friendships and sometimes even romance.

And if you live in onsite accommodation or share a flat in a nearby city centre, you’ll relish the sublime sense of freedom that’s rarely repeated later in life.

Despite these attractive features, it’s not ideal for everyone — those with family and financial commitments sometimes feel they have to abandon academic plans indefinitely, while others don’t feel ready to commit to full-time higher education straight away.

But there’s always a workaround if you’re prepared to learn flexibly — here are three alternative ways to educate yourself

Volunteering

If you’ve just left high school and aren’t sure whether the best route to a fulfilling future is committing to a full-time job or continuing with education, doing some temping work while volunteering at a range of organisations might help you decide.

There are plenty of worthwhile local or national groups that allow you to volunteer on everything from environmental projects to youth work.

But to really broaden your horizons and give you a fresh perspective on life, committing to a gap year volunteering with GVI is a great idea.

You could end up completing a conservation internship in exotic Costa Rica, becoming a safari field guide in South Africa or even helping remote communities in Nepal with education, healthcare and teaching.

Philosophical Training

Philosophy has been a mandatory part of the French school curriculum for generations — with every student required to sit a 4 hour exam on the subject at aged 18.

So in theory, French school leavers might leave high school feeling more serene, secure and balanced than non-philosophical counterparts in other nations.

Academic qualifications should have vocational value, but a rounded education should also enhance the intellect in wider ways that prepare you for the slings and arrows of life.

With that in mind, registering for short life skill courses at The School of Life might prove invaluable — you’ll learn priceless lessons on making love last, coping with failure, conquering fear and developing self-knowledge.

Distance Learning

When you have children of your own, are a young carer or have to support yourself financially, a full-time university course might seem like a pipe dream — regardless of your academic potential.

But it doesn’t have to be that way — studying for an online degree with Anglia Ruskin Distance Learning allows you to flexibly fit studies around your commitments and earn a life-enhancing qualification.

There are several excellent course choices on offer, from project management to football coaching and MBAs, so pick one that fits you best and work towards your dream career.

So there are three alternative ways flexible learners can educate themselves — pick the most appropriate choice for you and prepare to expand your mind.

Did you have an alternative education? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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About Author

Charles Whitworth is the Editor of the Young Academic publications. Graduating from the University of Liverpool with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 2008, Charles learnt his trade in newsrooms such as IPC Media and Sky. He has now developed as a top sports, music and current affairs journalist and has been printed in a range of publications including The Guardian. His interests include Cricket, Football, Rugby, Music and Current Affairs. Fresh from the editorship of Student Times he now takes the reins at Young Academic - the premier student news portal. Connect with me on Google+

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