Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree Programs: The Advantages and Disadvantages

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Accelerated bachelor’s degrees are increasing in popularity, especially at online colleges and universities. These programs allow students to finish their undergraduate studies at a faster pace than traditional bachelor’s. Courses are offered over five, eight, or 10-week terms rather than a 16-week semester. Colleges granting accelerated bachelor’s programs typically require students to have at least some transferrable credits from a regionally accredited institution. Some accelerated degrees mandate earning an associate degree first. Accelerated bachelor’s programs are designed to transport students into the workforce or graduate school more quickly.

Accelerated Bachelor’s Degrees – Pros

Enrolling in an accelerated bachelor’s program is ideal for very motivated students. This format enables you to complete the same number of courses in significantly less time, anywhere from 18 to 24 months. You can fast forward through courses where you’re already proficient. Accelerated bachelor’s degrees generally involve taking one course per short term and intensely focusing on that curriculum. There’s no juggling materials for multiple subjects at once, so you’re more likely to grasp the coursework taken. Students in accelerated bachelor’s programs often perform better academically since content is fresher during exams.

Many accelerated bachelor’s degree programs are available 100 percent online. This means you’ll enjoy constant, 24/7 access to assignments and lectures. Your accelerated curriculum can be completed from the office, library, or comfort of home. Saving time and gas money on commuting to the college’s campus is beneficial. You can pick from a wider variety of accelerated bachelor’s degree programs, even out-of-state. Advancements in online learning technology make discussions, team projects, and exams more interactive. You’ll also gain diverse perspectives by learning with students from across the country.

Another benefit of accelerated bachelor’s degree programs is affordability. That’s major because the average cost of tuition is $9,410 at public and $32,405 at private universities. Speeding through your coursework minimizes the amount of tuition you pay. Many accredited colleges offer discounted tuition rates for accelerated students per credit hour. Whether the program’s online or during evenings, you’ll avoid paying costly room and board too. Accelerated bachelor’s programs typically qualify for financial aid, including loans, grants, and scholarships. You can raise your degree’s ROI by graduating and entering your chosen profession swiftly.

Accelerated Bachelor’s Degrees – Cons

Pursuing accelerated bachelor’s degree programs isn’t for everyone. Condensing a semester’s worth of course content into under two months can be challenging. Accelerated programs require students to be highly focused on the curriculum. Assignments are completed in a rapid-fire delivery mode that may overwhelm some students. You’ll need to devote at least two to three times more attention to weekly coursework. Lightning fast learning isn’t always feasible for busy working adults holding a full-time career and family obligations. Having any big upcoming events like a wedding or new baby can also sidetrack your commitment.

The rigorous pace of accelerated bachelor’s program can cause frantic learners to quit. These degrees typically have a higher drop-out rate than their traditional counterparts. Certain subjects may be particularly difficult to study in an accelerated format. For instance, mastering algebraic equations and chemistry solutions in five weeks is insanely tough. Having a compressed timetable for bachelor’s degrees in intensive STEM fields may not work. Accelerated students may simply memorize content, pass the final exam, and eventually forget it. Faster courses are linked to worse long-term retention rates.

Another disadvantage of accelerated bachelor’s degree programs is lack of professor communication. Accelerated online programs may admit more students than on-campus ones. Faculty could simply lack time to aptly respond to every student’s questions. One study at Canisius College found that time constraints made students in five-week courses less satisfied with their mentoring than full-semester students. Earning feedback and reinforcement from a professor is an important part of learning. However, it’s not guaranteed that professors in accelerated programs will respond to emails within 24 hours or return assignments fast enough.

Finding Accelerated Bachelor’s Programs

For transfers with some college credit, being admitted into an accelerated bachelor’s degree program will provide both advantages and disadvantages. Consider the above points and determine if your unique learning style suits a faster pace. If so, carefully shop for reputable bachelor’s degrees with accelerated courses. Make certain the college is accredited and well ranked in higher education. Other essential factors to consider include support services, student-faculty ratio, graduation rate, and credit transfer availability. You may want to find accelerated bachelor’s degree programs that give credit for CLEP tests to further hasten your graduation.