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 finish it as soon as possible, so they can truly start their real life.
That’s why so many students ask themselves, “which is the fastest way to get a degree”?
Pursuing an associate degree and earning it in two years is a possibility, but what you need is a Bachelor’s degree, which done perfectly takes four years to complete, with some full-time students earning their graduate degrees in five or six years.
As a non-traditional student, it may seem as if it was impossible for you to enroll in an online degree program and get your degree fast while still taking care of your family and other responsibilities.
While you can’t just press the skip button and jump to that part, what you can do is schedule your academic journey in a way that requires you the least amount of time possible.
Here at Gradehacker, we are the non-traditional student’s most trusted resource. Because many of our clients ask us to help them with their essays and classes, we know how important it is to earn your degree as fast as possible.
So, we are listing the fastest ways to earn an online degree, so you can spend less time on college and start your real-life sooner.
Test Out Classes
The first tip is to take out 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 that determines, based on your level of knowledge, whether you need to take these lower classes or skip them and go straight to more advanced courses.
However, while most do, not all schools have this option available. Ask the university you are 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 be saving money, as these tests usually cost a fraction of class tuition!
But let’s say you are not 100% ready to pass these competency exams. Well, as they are about general education courses, you can take many free online programs. So, you could take these during summer and come back prepared to take the exam in the fall!
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 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!
Make Your Life Experience Count
Many accredited schools award college students with life experience credits based on their previous work experience. These are very common among adult students, as they recognize that their years of experience are more valuable than some general education courses.
Colleges accept both professional experiences and volunteer work. If you have the 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 are an adult learner with military experience.
Some online schools take military training as practical experience and offer credits for it. They examine the transcript for college-level test scores, military course completions, and military experience. They then determine how much of that experience adds to the student’s knowledge and how many academic credits that expertise is worth.
If you are a military student, find out which are the best scholarships you can apply for!
Find a Fast-Track Program
If you are about to enroll in an online degree program and want to finish it as soon as possible, it is highly recommended that you find an online school with a fast-track option. Because of its accelerated pace, some of its classes let you earn up to three credits in less than two months.
They are an excellent choice for working adults who have a tight schedule and need the flexibility to study in their free time.
These accelerated degree programs are usually offered in an asynchronous format. This way, instead of connecting online at a specific hour to join class, you get all your resources and assignments from the start, and you take your time to complete them!
You study at your own pace!
What’s better is that the asynchronous format might be the best way for non-traditional students, who are normally part-timers, to full-time study!
Thanks to its high flexibility, and because they are offered all year, online learners can take them uninterruptedly, including during summer or winter breaks, and earn their college degree in less than four years.
Enroll In a Competency-Based Program
Similar to fast-track online courses, a competency-based program lets you study at 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 are free to take the courses you wish and work at your own rhythm.
In a competency-based program, you can take care of all of your tasks in the very first week and finish that class earlier. You can also do the opposite and clear your schedule until you are 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 it.
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.”
It's Time To Earn Your Degree Fast!
It’s easy to say that students enrolled in an online bachelors degree want to finish it the fastest way possible, and so do you.
Earning an associate degree in two years is tempting, but the benefits and career opportunities a college graduate gets are way better. 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 there are many ways you can do it.
Enroll in an accelerated program, find an online school that gives credit to students with relevant experience in your field, and take out the first general education classes by passing the competency exam.
Do all of these things, and you’ll be able to finish your online degree program in less than four years. It might seem challenging, but you can do it!
In case you want some help to accelerate your degree, you can trust Gradehacker to assist you. We have helped many online students like you finish their college programs sooner, and we’ll be happy to help you too!
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