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.


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