Fastest Ways To Earn a Degree Online| Essential Tips You Need To Know

Fastest Ways to Earn a Degree Online Gradehacker
Picture of Santiago Mallea

Santiago Mallea

Chief of Content At Gradehacker

Updated July, 2023. 

Fastest Ways to Earn a Degree Online

If you are an online student looking to graduate faster, these are the best strategies you should follow:

Save Time And Finish Your Degree Sooner!

With Gradehacker, you’ll get personalized help to graduate faster and start living the life you dream of as soon as possible!

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Save Time And Finish Your Degree Sooner!

With Gradehacker, you’ll get personalized help to graduate faster and start living the life you dream of as soon as possible!

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Earning a college degree is a must if you want to improve your quality of life. And even if it is an enriching experience, most people want to go on the fastest path to start their real life and meet their career goals sooner.

That’s why many students ask themselves, “Which is the fastest way to get an academic degree”?

Because many of our clients ask us to help them with their college education, like essays and classes, here at Gradehacker, the non-traditional student’s #1 resource, we know how important it is to earn your degree as fast as possible.

So, we list the fastest ways to earn an undergraduate degree, so you can spend less time in college and apply all your professional training and knowledge in real life sooner than expected!

1. Test Out Classes

If you’re pursuing an associate degree, earning it in two years is possible. But if we talk about an undergraduate degree (which done perfectly takes four years), some full-time students earn it five or six years, so you might think there’s no fastest route. 

Still, each situation can have a different approach when considering your degree acceleration options. 

And if you are a non-traditional adult student with experience, our first tip is to take the required classes from the start.

General education classes such as English, Math, and Humanities can be taken out of the way by passing a test to determine whether you need to take the more basic subjects from your education classes or go straight to more advanced courses.

However, while most do, not all academic programs have this option available. Ask the university you’re considering enrolling in if they offer these competency exams before you sign in.

If they have them, make sure to take them!

Plus, you will save money, as these tests usually cost a fraction of class tuition!

But if you’re not 100% ready to pass these competency exams, as they are general education courses, you can take free online programs and prepare yourself. So, you could take these during the summer and come back prepared to take the exam in the fall!

Just make sure you have a deeper understanding of the subject and how the exam works!

There are many accelerated programs to get your bachelor’s degree faster, and you can check our list with the best ones covering different fields!

2. Take up as Many College Credits as You Can

An average full-time student takes at least 12 credit hours per semester, meaning they would need ten semesters to earn their degree in a 120-credit program.

But by taking between 15 and 18 credit hours, you can shorten that time to eight semesters!

One of the best ways to earn additional credits is by taking accelerated courses in the summer, where they teach a full semester’s content in a few weeks. Not all colleges have them, but if you know yours offers them, take advantage of their faster pace!

As a non-traditional student, we know it may seem impossible to get your degree fast while caring for your family and a full-time job. 

In case you don’t know, YouTube has associated with ASU to provide online classes for you to earn credit hours in the fastest and most inexpensive way possible. So, if earning transfer credit is what you’re looking for, check out our review about it!

It might be the solution you were looking for.

3. Make Your Life Experience Count

Many accredited schools award college students with life experience credits based on their previous work experience.

These are common among adult students, who recognize that their years of experience can be as valuable as some general education courses.

Colleges accept both professional experiences and volunteer work. If you have life experience, you’ll have to show proof with a letter of recommendation from an employer or a copy of your resume.

And it’s even better if you’re an adult learner with military experience, as some online schools take military training as practical experience and offer credits.

They examine the transcript for college-level test scores, military course completions, and military experience. Then, they determine how much of that experience adds to the student’s knowledge and how many academic credits that experience is worth.

If you’re a student with a military background and need financial aid, find out the best scholarships you can apply for!

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If one specific class is slowing you down, work with one of our consultants and receive 1-1 assistance on all the assignments!

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Savvy Students Deserve Help With Their Classes

If one specific class is slowing you down, work with one of our consultants and receive 1-1 assistance on all the assignments!

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4. Find a Fast-Track Program

If you’re about to enroll in an online degree program and want to finish it as soon as possible, finding an online school with a fast-track program is an excellent option.

Because of its accelerated pace, some classes let you earn up to three credits in less than two months.

They are a perfect choice for working adults who have a tight schedule and need flexible scheduling to study in their free time. 

These accelerated degree programs are usually offered in an asynchronous format. This way, instead of connecting at a specific time to join the college courses, you get all your resources and assignments from the start and take your time to complete them!

In other words, you study at your own pace!

Their online format might be ideal for non-traditional students, who normally do part-time to full-time study. So if you’re truly considering this learning option, ensure you’re well-prepared and up to date with everything you should know before taking online classes!

Another advantage is that when it comes to accelerated programs, you can find a wide range of options! Whether you want to pursue a degree in education or business administration, you’ll most likely find the field of study you want.

And thanks to its high flexibility and year-long availability, online learners can get ahead with their college education even during summer or winter breaks and earn their college degree in less than four years.

5. Enroll in a Competency-Based Program

Like fast-track online courses, a competency-based program also has an asynchronous format that lets you study on your own time and create your own schedule.

The main difference is that these online degree programs give you an overall deadline to prove your knowledge and complete the assignments. You can take the courses you wish and work at your own rhythm.

In a competency-based program, you can take care of all your tasks in the first week and finish that class earlier.

You can also do the opposite and clear your schedule until you’re close to the end of the course and complete the assignments then. Or you can take the middle ground and progress in the class as your time permits.

Of course, you can’t finish a class in the first week and sign in a new one in the following; but you can enroll in multiple courses throughout the same time frame and finish them as if they were part of that “semester.”

You can learn more about competency-based learning in our blog.

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Time to Earn Your Degree Fast!

Earning an associate degree in two years is tempting, but a college graduate’s benefits and career opportunities are greater!

However, whether you have other responsibilities to fulfill or don’t have the money to pay for more than four years, the sooner you earn your college degree, the better.

It may have seemed like an impossible feat, but now you know you can do it in many ways.