Tips for Success in Accelerated Degree Programs for Adult Learners

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Key Infor­ma­tion:

  • Adult learn­ers must devel­op strong time man­age­ment skills to bal­ance course­work, work com­mit­ments, and per­son­al life efficiently.
  • Edu­ca­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy tools are cru­cial for stay­ing orga­nized and enhanc­ing learn­ing. Tools like dig­i­tal books, learn­ing plat­forms, and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty apps can be high­ly beneficial.
  • Hav­ing sup­port from fam­i­ly, friends, and aca­d­e­m­ic advi­sors can pro­vide both emo­tion­al and prac­ti­cal assistance.
  • Main­tain­ing moti­va­tion is key. Set­ting small, man­age­able goals and car­ing for your men­tal and phys­i­cal health can help sus­tain your per­for­mance through­out the program.

Due to their speedy process, accel­er­at­ed degree pro­grams are pop­u­lar among adult learn­ers. With these forms of edu­ca­tion, you can get a bachelor’s or master’s degree in half the time of a tra­di­tion­al pro­gram with­out wor­ry­ing that you will waste all day on cam­pus. They are quick and flex­i­ble, and you can hang onto your day job while prepar­ing for your lessons and exams.

That said, get­ting your degree in an accel­er­at­ed man­ner could be rather chal­leng­ing. In fact, around 20 per­cent of the stu­dents with a job are less like­ly to fin­ish their edu­ca­tion. Unless you have a sound plan back­ing you up, achiev­ing suc­cess can bring a lot of stress. We have pre­pared some fast-track degree tips to make things eas­i­er for you.


Challenges of Accelerated Programs for Adult Learners

Accel­er­at­ed degrees can bring about cer­tain chal­lenges for those unfa­mil­iar with this type of learn­ing process. Here are some of the obsta­cles you’ll come across:

· Intensive Workload

When join­ing an accel­er­at­ed pro­gram, you go through the same top­ics and mate­ri­als a tra­di­tion­al pro­gram cov­ers. The only dif­fer­ence between the two is that you will be going through it at a faster rate. This means you will have to absorb a fair amount of infor­ma­tion in a lim­it­ed time­frame, which can seem over­whelm­ing for some students.

· Balancing Education and Work

Per­haps one of the great­est chal­lenges of con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion for adults lies in bal­anc­ing work, stud­ies, and per­son­al life. When you have to get your 8 hours of sleep, go to work for anoth­er 8, and study, there seems to be lit­tle time for you to have a per­son­al life. It doesn’t help that the aver­age per­son spends about 28 min­utes on their way to work, which adds to around an hour by includ­ing the return com­mute. This can give you less time for your fam­i­ly and hob­bies, espe­cial­ly as you will have a high­er work­load to deal with.

· Fewer Networking Opportunities

Tra­di­tion­al pro­grams keep you on cam­pus for about four years, offer­ing plen­ty of time for net­work­ing. Accel­er­at­ed pro­grams take half that time, and many class­es are usu­al­ly held online. While you get net­work­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties if you are deter­mined enough to reach out, build­ing long-term pro­fes­sion­al rela­tion­ships can still be challenging.

Tips to Succeed in Accelerated Degree Programs

Suc­ceed­ing in an accel­er­at­ed learn­ing envi­ron­ment does have its chal­lenges, but it’s in no way impos­si­ble. Here are a few in-per­son and online learn­ing tips that you might find helpful.

1. Have a Good Time Management Strategy

You must learn a few time man­age­ment strate­gies to com­plete your accel­er­at­ed pro­gram suc­cess­ful­ly. First, you should cre­ate a week­ly sched­ule that includes every­thing from your work hours to your study time and your per­son­al endeav­ors. Depend­ing on the course load, you should block out ded­i­cat­ed study time, doing it in places with min­i­mal distractions.

Learn­ing how to pri­or­i­tize these “study blocks” is also quite impor­tant. You should allot unin­ter­rupt­ed blocks of time for tasks with tighter dead­lines and deep work. This way, you won’t get side­tracked. Make sure to include some breaks here and there to make the process eas­i­er. The Pomodoro tech­nique has shown great poten­tial, as a 5‑minute break every 30 min­utes or so can help improve your focus and productivity.

2. Leverage Technology Whenever Possible

We live in a world where tech­nol­o­gy has tak­en a great hold of every­thing, so it makes sense to make the most of it. Not only can it help you stay orga­nized, but it can also help smooth out the learn­ing process while keep­ing you con­nect­ed. Some use­ful edu­ca­tion­al tech­nol­o­gy tools to take advan­tage of are learn­ing plat­forms, dig­i­tal books, and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty apps (e.g., note-tak­ing and task man­ag­er apps).

Peer-to-peer col­lab­o­ra­tion tools could also help stream­line the study­ing process. For instance, Google Dri­ve or Drop­box can help you share doc­u­ments with your col­leagues and pro­fes­sors in real-time. This could be very use­ful for stu­dents who are attend­ing the class­es remotely.

3. Create a Support Network

A fam­i­ly and aca­d­e­m­ic sup­port net­work is essen­tial for stu­dents to make it through an accel­er­at­ed learn­ing envi­ron­ment, and it doesn’t have to be lim­it­ed to the class. First, you should rely on your friends and fam­i­ly for emo­tion­al sup­port and prac­ti­cal assis­tance. For exam­ple, hav­ing some­one take care of house­hold chores while you are focus­ing on your stud­ies can help you a great deal.

Engag­ing with aca­d­e­m­ic advi­sors and men­tors can also be very use­ful for obtain­ing suc­cess. Below are a few tips for you to do so:

  • Reach out and sched­ule reg­u­lar meet­ings with your aca­d­e­m­ic advi­sor, where you can talk about poten­tial issues.
  • Always be pre­pared for those meet­ings, as a slop­py stu­dent can prove very frus­trat­ing for a teacher who just wants to help.
  • Look for poten­tial men­tors, whether they are pro­fes­sors, alum­ni, or pro­fes­sion­als in the field, and reach out to them.
  • Go to work­shops and infor­ma­tion­al ses­sions when­ev­er pos­si­ble, as this allows you to meet knowl­edge­able people.

Once you find these con­nec­tions, all that’s left to do is nur­ture the rela­tion­ship. Pret­ty much all suc­cess sto­ries in edu­ca­tion start with the peo­ple that helped sup­port them.

4. Learn to Stay Motivated

Find­ing moti­va­tion for adult stu­dents is often dif­fi­cult, espe­cial­ly as the dead­lines are get­ting clos­er and you are over­whelmed by oth­er life respon­si­bil­i­ties. One of the best ways to hang onto your moti­va­tion is to get a grasp on your “whys.” Why do you want to get your degree? Do you have a goal or per­son­al aspi­ra­tions to meet? Very often, this proves to be the great­est nudge to keep you going.

Visu­al­ize those goals and suc­cess, as this can make you more con­fi­dent in your abil­i­ty to stay on track. Cre­ate a pos­i­tive envi­ron­ment where dis­trac­tions are elim­i­nat­ed, and always reward your­self once you get past a mile­stone. Remem­ber that small goals are often eas­i­er to meet, so you should break the big­ger tasks into small­er ones. This way, the process should feel less overwhelming.

5. Take Care of Your Health and Well-being

Car­ing for your men­tal health and gen­er­al well-being is also essen­tial, as burnout could eas­i­ly lead to a dip in pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. High lev­els of stress can cause your cog­ni­tive func­tions to decline, which could make you feel that you are not strong enough to han­dle the intense course­work. This is why most health tips for stu­dents involve strik­ing a bal­ance between your tasks and hob­bies, as the demand­ing cur­ricu­lum could tire you out if you take no breaks.

Set­ting a rou­tine is a good idea, espe­cial­ly if you incor­po­rate exer­cise, healthy meals, and a good sleep sched­ule. Prac­tic­ing mind­ful­ness and relax­ation could help reduce ten­sion, and engag­ing in leisure activ­i­ties could offer a sense of fulfillment.

6. Have a Proper Financial Planning Strategy

Finances are often one of the main rea­sons many stu­dents don’t get their bachelor’s degree. While accel­er­at­ed pro­grams are com­plet­ed in one to two years, you could still have to pay around $20,000 annu­al­ly. This is why you should do some thor­ough finan­cial plan­ning for edu­ca­tion if you want to attend such a program.

Loans can help you cov­er your tuition, and this route is often rec­om­mend­ed if you are aim­ing for a pro­mo­tion. How­ev­er, if you have per­formed well in the past, you could opt for grants or schol­ar­ships for adult learn­ers. Many pro­grams offer this, and you won’t have to wor­ry about pay­ing back once you graduate.

Resources and Tools

As a stu­dent in an accel­er­at­ed pro­gram, you need to make the most out of the tools and resources made avail­able to you. While the offer­ings can vary from one pro­gram to anoth­er, here are some that could be extreme­ly helpful:

· Online Libraries

The eBook pop­u­lar­i­ty in pub­lic libraries has increased sig­nif­i­cant­ly over the past few years. More peo­ple pre­fer the advan­tage of dig­i­tal books, as they no longer have to com­mute to the library. Not to men­tion that they don’t take up any space. Most accel­er­at­ed bachelor’s degree pro­grams have their own online libraries you can con­nect to, but there are sev­er­al oth­er plat­forms from which you can get your resources.

· Tutoring Services

Accel­er­at­ed pro­grams can be very chal­leng­ing to keep up with, and uni­ver­si­ties know that. For this rea­son, most of them offer tutor­ing ser­vices, whether online or in-per­son. If you have any prob­lems pro­gress­ing and need clar­i­fi­ca­tion, you can call them, and they will assist you.

· Counseling

Accel­er­at­ed pro­grams can lead to a lot of stress and anx­i­ety, along with oth­er men­tal health con­cerns. Rep­utable uni­ver­si­ties offer access to coun­sel­ing, where you can learn stress man­age­ment tech­niques and more. Check whether your pro­gram pro­vides indi­vid­ual or group coun­sel­ing, and don’t be ashamed to use this ser­vice if you can’t cope with the inten­sive curriculum.

The Bottom Line

Accel­er­at­ed pro­grams might seem over­whelm­ing at first, but they can be eas­i­ly man­aged. All it takes is a good sched­ule, moti­va­tion to reach your goal, and help from your peers. Once you get into a rou­tine, you will real­ize that get­ting your degree fast is not such a far­away dream after all.