Ways to Shorten your Path to a College Degree

Let’s face it, education is great but many just want to get it done!

Some people go to college purely for educational value and personal enrichment. However, most people see it as a means to an end. Education for many is directly linked with jobs, success, and earning power. Therefore, most people want to complete their program as quickly as possible. This is particularly true for older students who may be returning to school for retraining or to augment their career path. Here are a few ways that a person can shorten their path to a college degree and reach their goal quicker.

Dig up all your old transcripts and utilize all credits possible

One method to shortening a degree is to utilize the credits on old transcripts to meet certain program requirements. If someone has a prior degree or they took at least some college, they may be able to get out of taking certain classes. Older students do have to keep in mind that some schools have policies that require transfer credit to be within a certain number of recent years. Therefore, they may have taken the class but will not receive credit because it was too long ago. However, it never hurts to spend a few dollars and get transcripts sent in for evaluation.

Apply for life experience credit or take proficiency tests

Some schools offer the opportunity to take advantage of previous experience and channel it towards college credit. Life experience credit can include portfolio work, publications, positions in certain organizations, military training, and professional certifications. Again, this depends on the requirements of the school. Also, some institutions give students the opportunity to “test out” of certain courses through assessment instruments. Students can test out of certain general education courses, foreign language, and computer classes depending on their level of expertise.

Look for shorter programs

Not all academic programs are the same in terms of content or length. Some programs simply require less classes to graduate. This is driven by the school philosophy and the accrediting body of the institution. While the student doesn’t want to miss out on key information or deprive themselves of learning, it is worth investigated whether one program is more efficient than another. Or, a student may find that they are not particularly interested in the expanded material of certain programs and can therefore choose a shorter program.

Take online classes

It is becoming increasingly common to take online classes. This can help to shorten the path to a college degree due to the convenience of the online format. Granted, online classes can also require more work and time than “on-ground” classes, but for some students the online classes are easier to manage because they can work on them at their convenience. Therefore, a student may be able to take more classes at a time by including online classes. This will help to shorten the overall time of the program.

Overall, there are ways to shorten your path to a college degree. It takes research, follow-through, and a basic understanding of how colleges function today. Even though you may be eager to finish, spend some time on the front-end making good decisions so that you take advantage of all scenarios and services.