Ways to Shorten your Path to a College Degree

In these difficult economic times, many college students need to attain their college degrees in the shortest time possible, in order to graduate and begin job hunting. This is particularly important for older students with family obligations who need to save as much time and money as they can toward obtaining a degree that would qualify them for a better job, or facilitate a career change. The ways used to shorten one’s path to a college degree will vary; depending on the student’s age and financial situation.

High school students planning on attending college can take advanced placement (AP) courses, which will earn them college credits by the time they graduate high school. Many public and private secondary schools even offer free programs in which students can take college courses at state universities and community colleges, in addition to their high school classes. Utilizing these two methods can enable high school students to earn their diplomas, along with a year or more of college credit. They would be able to complete a bachelor’s degree in three years or less, instead of the usual four year time frame. The savings of a year or more of college tuition, fees, and textbooks is a strong incentive, as well. This is most beneficial for those students who plan to enter a career that requires an advanced degree.

Older students who have to financially support themselves and their families cannot waste time taking courses they don’t need. Many can achieve their career aspirations by attending a postsecondary technical school, instead of a two or four year college or university. Careers in nursing, information technology, massage therapy, medical assisting, and many others can be achieved by completing a six to twelve month educational program. Some career colleges offer degree programs that can be completed in shorter time periods than other colleges because they can offer more flexible class schedules. Some colleges even offer independent study programs which provide college credit for past work experience. Many offer on-line courses which enable students to complete college courses and earn their degrees, while maintaining full-time jobs.

Most importantly, individuals pursuing college degrees need to do thorough research on the programs offered, and the schools that offer them. If you’re pursuing a career that requires a professional license, make certain the school offering the program is accredited so its graduates meet the academic criteria necessary to complete the licensing requirements. The degree granted by an educational institution must be nationally recognized. A great deal of time and money can be wasted if one can’t utilize a college degree to further one’s career.