If you’re getting ready to go to college and are weighing all of your options, you likely understand that a bachelor’s degree at a traditional college or university will take four years or eight semesters to complete. Some students actually take longer to complete the program by only going to college on a part-time basis or skipping semesters along the way.
However, four years is a long time (especially when you’re 20)! This is why a significant number of students explore the option of earning a respectable bachelor’s degree online without taking four years to do so. Before you apply to attend an online school, you should know that having the option to finish your degree faster than four years doesn’t mean that you automatically will. To better understand how quickly you can obtain a degree at an online school, you should first know more about the type of education that’s available through these schools. Business school degrees, for example, can often be accelerated, because many of the marketable skills involved students already have through work.
Can Online Schools Be Faster?
Most individuals who attend an online school will complete their associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree on the traditional timetable of two and four years respectively. Most of these schools provide students with the ability to learn and study at their own pace. As such, it’s feasible that you can complete your college education more rapidly than you would if you attended a traditional college or university.
In most cases, however, there is a limit to how quickly you can complete a degree at an online school given that you will still be required to gain 60-120 credits. Degree programs like nursing and online computer science degrees pack a lot of information into the credits. This means you are getting a lot for the per-credit-hour price. If you dedicate a significant amount of each day to your coursework, accelerated online programs make it possible to complete an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in half of the usual duration, which means that you could finish your degree in one or two years.
However, the average time that it takes for an online student to complete an associate’s degree program is around 15-24 months. As for a bachelor’s degree, the average completion time is right around 36-48 months. While it’s great to be able to get a degree quicker than you could at a traditional college, there are pros and cons to both options.
What to Expect From Accelerated Degree Programs
If you want to complete an associate’s or trade school degree program or bachelor’s degree program at a faster pace, there are two primary options available to you. Some online schools offer programs that allow you to set your own pace with your coursework. While each online course comes with different requirements, it’s common for these schools to provide students with the ability to enter two courses at the same time.
The projects, assignments, and exams are typically provided to students at the beginning of a 12-week period, which allows the student to dictate the pace of their education. At certain online schools, you can complete a bachelor’s degree in anywhere from 9-20 months. Keep in mind that the degrees available to you are usually restricted to specific subjects, which means that your options may be limited when compared to the degrees that are offered at a traditional college or university.
Specialized Education That Fits Your Life
You can also sign up for an associate’s degree program or bachelor’s degree program that’s designed to be completed quicker than the usual two-year or four-year timeline. While you won’t have the ability to complete the degree at your own pace, the program itself will be automatically accelerated. For example, you may be able to obtain an associate of arts degree in just 12 months as opposed to the standard 24-month timeline.
The school that’s in charge of the accelerated program can accommodate a more rigorous schedule in a variety of different ways. Students could obtain 12 credit hours during a single mini-semester that lasts for a period of eight weeks, which means that it would take five mini-semesters to earn the associate’s degree. No matter which route you take, these fast options will allow you to obtain your college degree at a pace that’s right for you.
How to Prepare for a Fast Online Degree
The main hurdle that you must overcome when you sign up for an online degree program is finding the time to complete the heavy load of coursework. Even if you join a program that allows you to study at your own pace, you will still need to be highly motivated if you want to complete the degree program ahead of the standard two-year or four-year schedule. When you take one of these online degree programs, it’s recommended that your life is mainly centered around your education until you’ve obtained enough credits.
Because of how important it is to properly manage your time, you should consider assessing your current time-management skills, which can be quickly done through a variety of available online tests. Along with strong time-management skills, you should have a stable internet connection if you want to complete your coursework without issue.
Make Sure Your Online School Decision Is the Right One
Not all online degrees and schools are legitimate. If the degree program that you’re interested in allows students to sign up for the program by simply paying a fee or sending a resume, it’s likely that the school and degree aren’t accredited, which can make it difficult for you to use the degree to get a job later on. The accreditation of an online school should always be found on their website. It’s also important that you don’t settle for a degree in a field that you’re not interested in. Fast online degree programs are usually limited to a small set of subjects depending on the school. If the school that you’re interested in doesn’t offer a quick degree in your preferred subject, look for other schools before applying.
With this guide, you should have all the information you need to make an informed decision about which option for college is right for you. If your primary goal is to complete your degree as quickly as possible, an accelerated degree program at an online school may be the best option.