There are many reasons that you may want to finish college faster than a traditional program may usually take. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in less than four years can save students money while allowing them to enter the workforce earlier and begin to earn a salary as a full-time employee. Here are a few tips on how to finish college faster and begin your career.
1. Earn High School Credit
If you are still in high school, you may be able to earn college credit. A few ways that high schoolers are able to contribute to their dream of finishing college faster is by taking International Baccalaureate (IB), dual enrollment or advanced placement (AP) classes. AP classes allow you to take college-level coursework at your high school. If you score at a certain level on the AP exam, most colleges will accept that test for course credit. In addition, those enrolled in IB classes may be able to earn college credit when they pass their final exams.
Many high schools work closely with local universities and community colleges in order to offer dual-enrollment courses. High school students can earn college credit by taking classes either taught by college professors at their high school or at nearby colleges. Oftentimes, because of the relationship between the high school and the university, these courses, which count for both high school graduation credit and college credit, may not cost any extra money.
2. Capitalize on What You Know
It varies from institution to institution, but many colleges and universities allow you to test out of some courses. If you have a lot of experience in a certain subject area and have already mastered the content that is shared in the college-level course, you may be able to take a test such as the CLEP or the DSST and earn college credit. While you usually have to pay for these tests, they do help you finish college faster by giving you credit for information that you already know.
3. Take Online Courses
Online classes allow you to be flexible about when you complete your coursework. If you are going to school part-time because you have to work or care for family, you may be able to increase the number of online classes you take or enroll in an online degree program. You can often complete the work around your family and work schedule so that you can still take a full course load of college credit. Since some online classes are only 8 weeks long, shorter than a traditional campus course, you can learn the same amount of information in a quicker timeframe. This way, you can finish college faster by going to school full-time and still taking the same classes that you would if you were attending campus in person. In addition, you save time not having to commute, park and walk to your classroom. This gives you more time to actually complete the online work, study and also fulfill your personal obligations.
4. Go to School Year-Round
If you follow a traditional college schedule, you may only go to school in the fall and spring semesters. While this can allow you to stay on track for graduating on time, you can finish college faster if you take advantage of winter and summer courses as well. These classes are often smaller and more personalized because fewer students take advantage of the ability to go to school year-round. While spending your summer in class may not sound like an ideal option, remember that it is a great way to finish college faster. Additionally, some colleges offer discounted rates for summer and winter courses in order to attract more students. By taking classes year-around, you may even save money.
5. Get Experience Credit
Many colleges and universities understand that students learn on the job or through life experiences. Many times, they offer credit for those work or life experiences, viewing them as valuable to the degree you are pursuing. For example, if you worked abroad and learned a foreign language, you may be able to earn course credits and test out of the foreign language requirement. If you run a side business, you may be able to apply the experience towards business courses. Work with an admissions counselor to determine if your life experiences can help you earn credit and finish college faster.
At Grand Canyon University, we offer many different ways to schedule your coursework so that it meets your personal and professional needs. One great program we offer is the 3+1 program, which allows you to earn your bachelor’s and master’s degrees together at an accelerated pace. If your goal is to finish college faster, reach out to our admissions department so that we can discuss how you can earn credit, speed up your learning and enjoy your degree sooner. Visit our website or click the Request Info button on this page to learn more.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.