If you want to get a high-paying job or advance in the job you already have, you probably won’t manage to do so without a college degree. Even though it was once enough to have a high school diploma to be employed, the times have changed. If you really want to succeed nowadays, you most probably need a college degree.
However, college lasts for at least for years and not everyone has the opportunity or means to spend that much time studying. Luckily, there is an alternative way to get a college degree in a much shorter time. If you’re prepared to work hard to achieve your goal, you could enrol in an accelerated degree program.
What is an accelerated degree program?
An accelerated degree program, as its name would suggest, is the quickest way to earn a college diploma. It was designed to allow people to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in three years or less. The purpose of this program is to get people out of school as soon as possible so they can join the workforce.
Not everyone is able to get a traditional college education, but there are many benefits to earning a college degree. Not only does it offer better career opportunities and the ability to make more money, but it can also be beneficial for you and your family in the long run.
Even though this isn’t the traditional way of getting a degree, it still retains the same benefits. However, it’s important to note that these types of programs aren’t well-suited for everyone. They can be stressful, and they also take a lot of hard work and effort. But if you want to earn your degree as soon as possible, it will be worth it.
Accelerated vs. traditional programs – what’s the difference?
As we’ve already mentioned, the biggest difference is the short time it takes to earn your diploma. Traditional bachelor’s degrees consist of 8-16 week semesters with summer and interterm classes, and they take four years to complete.
Aside from the duration of the course, there are three major differences between traditional college and accelerated programs:
- Admission Requirements. Most accelerated programs have higher admission requirements than traditional ones. If you’re looking to enroll in an accelerated bachelor’s degree program, you will need to have a minimum of 60 college credits or an associate’s degree.
- Course Format. Instead of participating in traditional college class sessions that usually start in fall, students can start their accelerated program at any time of year. Additionally, classes usually occur one night per week, but last for four hours, instead of the traditional one-hour classes.
- Absence of breaks. While traditional colleges offer breaks throughout the year, students taking an accelerating program don’t have this option. There are no breaks in between semesters or academic years, so the time can be spent as efficiently as possible.
Different types of accelerated degree programs
There are a few different types of these programs, and they vary depending on the educational institution a student chooses to attend. As for the type of degree you want to receive, there are two types of programs:
- Single-degree program. People who are only after their bachelor’s or master’s degree choose this option. The program focuses on only one course at a time and there are short breaks in between courses.
- Dual-degree program. If you want to get both of these degrees simultaneously, you can choose this program. It will take more time to complete, but some credits that were earned for a bachelor’s degree could also count for the master’s.
There is one more choice a student has to make when they’re starting an accelerated degree program, and it depends on how they want to attend classes.
There are two options:
- On-campus program. This option is a great choice for those who still want to attend college classes and attend with other students.
- Online program. If you are not interested in physically attending classes, you could also get a fast online degree. This option is also better if you have obligations during daytime school hours, such as a part-time job.
Alternative ways of getting your degree sooner
There are a few ways someone who is enrolled in a traditional college can get their degree in less than four years as well. If you are interested in going to college, but still spend less than four years there, some of the ways you can get your degree sooner are:
- Extra classes during the semesters. During a typical semester, a student will usually earn 15 credits. If you decide to add three credits per semester, you will graduate in three instead of four years.
- Summer classes. Those who are looking to graduate sooner can take summer classes that usually earn them up to nine credits per summer. It’s important to keep in mind that these courses are much quicker-paced, so they can be completed by the end of the summer.
- Internships. Start an internship program to earn credits that will cut down on your time spent in school, while also providing potential employment opportunities. This way, you won’t need to choose between education and experience because you will have both.
Why you should choose this type of studying
You might be wondering why it would be a good idea to get your college degree this way. Well, there are a number of benefits you will enjoy if you choose to enroll in an accelerated degree program.
Some of these benefits include:
- Faster career changes and advancements. The biggest advantage of getting a degree more quickly than usual is getting into the workforce as soon as possible. If it’s your goal to get a promotion or a job you still aren’t qualified for, this is the quickest way to achieve your goals.
- Lower cost. Accelerated degree programs cost less than enrolling in a traditional college. So, if you aren’t financially stable enough to get a degree through traditional programs, this is a great alternative.
- Better class-scheduling choices. While traditional programs require you to take classes at a certain time, accelerated degree programs are designed with convenient and flexible scheduling. This allows even people who already have full-time jobs to earn a degree.
How to succeed
While they do have many benefits, accelerated degree programs might be overwhelming to some students. Due to their fast and intensive regime, it takes a lot of dedication and perseverance for someone to succeed.
But there’s no need to feel intimidated because, with enough patience and self-motivation, you can find success. Here are a few tips that can help you along the way:
- Transfer credits. This tip only works if you have already attended traditional college courses before you decide to get an accelerated degree. If you manage to do this, the time it will take you to complete your program will be even shorter.
- Use your time wisely. Create a schedule that will give you time to take in such an immense workload. Additionally, if you realize that the schedule you’ve created isn’t working out as planned, make adjustments to it in time.
- Start the program at the right time. The perfect time to enroll in this type of program is when you don’t have a jam-packed schedule. If other areas of your life are taking up too much of your time, it probably wouldn’t be smart to take on this kind of responsibility.
- Reach out to professors. Find out what professors are willing to work one-on-one with you. This could help you understand the material better or even get you extra credit through special assignments.
- Take time off. It’s sometimes easy to forget that self-care and relaxation are very important, especially if you’re under a lot of stress. Make sure to take well-deserved breaks occasionally to do things that will benefit your health and lifestyle.