College can be downright intimidating for adult learners, especially if they have never stepped foot into a college classroom. If this sounds like your situation, this post will break down why an accelerated bachelor degree online might just be your saving grace if you’re thinking about pursuing an online education. Not only will you feel comfortable, confident, and at ease while completing your degree, but you’ll also get the chance to finish your degree in faster time than your younger peers who are attending college on campus. With an accelerated online degree, you can forget about feeling like the oldest in your class, and instead feel ready to take on the degree you have always wanted to finish.
Top 10 Accelerated Bachelor Degrees Online
Before diving into the specifics of how exactly you can go about pursuing your bachelor degree online, here’s a list of the top 10 most popular accelerated and online bachelor degrees:
- Bachelor’s in Accounting
- Bachelor’s in Business/Business Administration
- Bachelor’s in Communications
- Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice
- Bachelor’s in Information Systems/Technology
- Bachelor’s in Education
- Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration
- Bachelor’s in Psychology
- Bachelor’s in Nursing (for current RN’s)
- Bachelor’s in Religion
As you can see, there are a variety of online bachelor degrees offered in an accelerated format. No matter what field you currently work in or what field you dream of working in, you can probably find a program online that can help you reach your career goals. Most programs only require that you hold a high school diploma or GED before getting started.
Work, Family, and Your Degree
Chances are you have responsibilities outside of pursuing your degree. Maybe you have a full-time job, a spouse and children, or other obligations in life that take up a majority of your time. Fear not! You can still pursue an accelerated bachelor degree online without having to neglect any of those responsibilities. In fact, so many adult learners just like you pursue this specific type of degree because it caters to students in those situations. Rest assured that you’ll be surrounded by other adult learners who have jobs and families that take up most of their time and energy.
Because many accelerated online degree programs have students who can’t commit full-time to their studies, they are designed to be completed in a more part-time format. Instructors and professors will have a good sense of the outside demands on their students. That’s not to say that these programs are any easier, but there’s more of an awareness of the fact that many students are completing courses after they’ve finished work and other commitments for the day. Because of this, you may likely find more flexible deadlines and assignments in accelerated degree programs online. This flexibility will most definitely allow you to continue your life as it is, as long as you can seriously dedicate your spare time to your studies.
Transfer Credit Opportunities
You might not believe that, despite the fact that you’ve never completed a college course before, you could possibly enter your degree program with some credits already toward your degree. Accelerated bachelor degree online programs are quite popular among adult learners because they accept a variety of different forms of transfer credit. For example, if you spent any time in the military or have received training like fire and rescue or EMT, you might be able to get some credit for your core courses. Some programs might even accept work experience you have as credit hours or allow you to complete a placement test in certain subjects like Math to help you earn credit.
If you feel like brushing up on core subjects like History, you can take the CLEP or DSST national exams. These exams are 90 minute exams that anyone can take. They are quite affordable, too, at about $80 per exam. Plus, many programs will allow you to receive between 3 and 12 hours of credit for a single exam. These exams, if your program accepts credit for them, are a great way to breeze past the core courses that any bachelor degree program will require and get right into taking classes within your major. Why start from scratch and spend more money when you don’t have to?
Taking Courses Online
There’s no reason to be scared about taking your courses online. Colleges and universities have gotten so efficient at offering courses and degrees online that they make the process pretty easy and even enjoyable for students. Each course will be different, but you can expect to watch lectures or read materials online (or through print books you have to purchase for the course). Once you’ve mastered the information, you’ll be required to take assessments (quizzes and exams) online to prove your knowledge. Some courses may require projects or papers that are also submitted online. You will have access to your instructor via email or another online tool so that you can get the help you need during the course of the semester.
Even though you can complete your courses from your home and during your spare time, it’s important to remember that you will be required to follow deadlines and complete lessons and assessments within a pre-set time period. You’ll have to dedicate hours per week toward your degree in order to complete it in a timely manner. Withdrawing from courses in the middle or taking semesters at a time off can become quite costly and time-consuming, so only commit to the number of classes you can comfortably handle at one time. If you’ve never been in a higher education setting before, maybe start out with just one class to get a feel for it and increase the number once you learn what online education is all about.
An accelerated bachelor degree online program means you will have the opportunity to complete more courses per year than you would in a non-accelerated online degree program. Semesters will probably be shorter than the typical 16 week semester of an on campus program. You may take courses for only 5 to 8 weeks at a time. You’ll still be responsible for learning the same amount of information, though, but in a more fast-paced environment. You also may have shorter breaks than the average college student and will often have to complete courses over the summer. All of this will ensure that you complete your degree in the fastest time possible. If you come into your program with no transfer credits, you should be able to finish your degree in about 3 years (1 year shorter than the 4 year average in an on campus program). If you are able to transfer in credits, you might be able to finish your degree in as little as 2 years. While the accelerated format can be grueling and demanding, you’ll be on your way much faster to starting a job in your dream career field. It’ll be worth it in the end. Plus, chances are you’ll save money over pursuing your degree at a more traditional program.
Where to Go from Here
If this all sounds great and you want to get started right away, there are a few more things you should know. Consider the following before applying to any program:
- Start date(s)
- Application fee
- Application requirements (transcript, recommendations, minimum GPA, etc.)
- Accreditation of the program (choose an accredited program)
- Total hours to complete the program
- Transfer credit opportunities
- Total cost of the program (including tuition and fees)
- Loan or financial aid opportunities
Go into your search knowing what you’re looking for and what you hope to get out of your degree. With a plan and focus, you’ll be well on your way to not only completing your very first degree but also landing a satisfying and rewarding job.