How To Earn Your Degree More Quickly

Adult students are continuing to return to college in record numbers and as this market expands, many colleges are working to design new programs that meet the needs of these individuals.  One way that colleges are working to accommodate adult students is by designing accelerated college degree programs.

An accelerated degree program is designed to allow adult students to complete their degree in a shorter amount of time. Classes are usually offered in the evenings, on weekends or online, or a combination of all three. This provides adult students with flexibility in scheduling their classes.


Accelerated programs also offer classes in a different format than the typical semester system. Regular semesters usually run for 15 weeks and are offered twice a year in the fall and spring. By contrast, an accelerated program offers courses in a much shorter time frame. Courses are run anywhere from six to 10 weeks, and are offered five to seven times a year. When students take two three-credit courses seven times in a year, they can earn 42 credits in one year. If the student needs the maximum 120 credits to graduate, it would take just about three years to finish the degree, rather than the standard four years.

Adults who complete their degree in an accelerated format spend less time in school and are still able to work full time.  Also, an advanced degree will potentially lead to a higher salary. Finally, adult students in accelerated degree programs don't have to make as many adjustments to their family and job responsibilities.

If you are looking for an accelerated degree program, make sure that the program has regional accreditation. Schools can have many accreditations, but regional accreditation is critical because it means the work you complete will transfer to other regionally accredited schools.

Also, be sure to visit any school you are thinking of attending. All schools have open houses and information sessions. Most colleges also offer free academic advising. Adult students need to make sure they are comfortable with the school, and by taking the time to visit the college, you will be able to tell more about the environment.

Finally, consider the price of the accelerated degree completion program.  Some adult programs have built in price reductions and scholarships for adult students. It is important to determine these benefits.

A final advantage of accelerated programs is that they allow adult students to work with other adults who have similar career, school and family responsibilities. These shared priorities can lead to peer support and better outcomes.

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