Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree Online

In today’s fast-paced world, the traditional 4-year bachelor’s degree may not suit every student’s needs. For driven learners eager to expedite their education and career, accelerated online bachelor’s degree programs offer an appealing alternative pathway.

These intensive programs condense a 120-credit curriculum into just 18-24 months through innovative strategies like fast-paced courses, competency-based learning, and credit for prior experience. While rigorous, they enable highly motivated students to graduate faster and launch their professional lives sooner.

This comprehensive guide explores everything you need to know about accelerated online bachelor’s degrees – from their benefits and potential drawbacks to popular majors, and tips for choosing a program.

Table of Contents

    What Exactly Are Accelerated Bachelor’s Degrees?

    Accelerated bachelor’s degree programs compress a standard 4-year curriculum into a shorter timeframe, usually through intense, condensed courses. By accepting transfer credits, utilizing tests, and offering accelerated 5-10 week courses rather than traditional 16-week semesters, students can complete their 120 required credits in as little as 1-2 years.

    These fast-track programs maintain the same thorough course content as standard programs. However, students take on heavier course loads and progress through the material at an intensified pace. Accelerated degrees emphasize self-directed learning, with students managing their own study schedule.

    Degree completion programs are a variation of accelerated degrees tailored specifically for students who have already earned some college credits. By accepting up to 90 transfer credits, these programs enable near-completers to graduate in as little as 1 year or less.

    While rigorous, accelerated bachelor’s degrees offer benefits like entering the workforce sooner, potentially saving money on tuition, and developing sharp time management abilities. They suit non-traditional students like working professionals seeking to upskill quickly.

    The Benefits and Drawbacks of Accelerated Online Bachelor’s Degrees

    Benefits of an Accelerated Online Bachelor’s Degree:

    • Graduate faster – Enter your career sooner and get a head start on advancement and earnings
    • Save money – Complete your degree in fewer terms, paying less tuition
    • Develop valuable skills – Grow abilities like time management, self-motivation, and discipline
    • Flexibility – Study and complete assignments on your schedule
    • Wide availability – Offered in diverse majors from technology to healthcare

    Potential Drawbacks to Keep in Mind:

    • Rigorous pacing – Faster pace can increase stress for some students
    • Intensive workload – Challenging to balance heavier course loads
    • Limited campus life – Primarily online format provides less social interaction
    • Strong self-direction needed – Requires exceptional focus, dedication, and time management skills
    • Potential financial considerations – Extra fees or credits may raise costs

    Popular Fields of Study for Accelerated Online Bachelor’s Degrees

    While accelerated online bachelor’s degrees are available in diverse subjects, some majors are particularly popular:

    Business – Fast-track degrees in business administration, management, marketing, accounting, finance, and more. Learn leadership, analytics, and business operations.

    Computer Science – Become tech industry-ready faster with an accelerated computer science or IT degree. Specialize in software engineering, data science, cybersecurity, and other high-demand tech fields.

    Healthcare – Expedited options in nursing, health sciences, healthcare administration, public health, and more. Start your clinical or administrative healthcare career sooner.

    Criminal Justice – Pursue roles in law enforcement, legal studies, criminology, forensics, and corrections quickly with an accelerated CJ degree.

    Education – Graduate ready to lead a classroom in as little as 1-2 years. Tailor your accelerated degree to grade levels and subject areas you wish to teach.

    Psychology – Enter roles in social work, human services, research, counseling, and more with a fast-track psychology degree. Some clinical careers require further education.

    Communications – Build skills in public relations, journalism, technical writing, advertising, and interpersonal communication rapidly.

    History – Develop strong research, writing, and analytical abilities through an accelerated history program. Pursue law, education, museums, or public sector careers.

    Engineering – Become industry-ready in high-paying engineering specialties like software, mechanical, civil, and electrical engineering more quickly.

    This is just a sampling of the diverse accelerated online bachelor’s degree options available across majors and disciplines. Programs can be tailored to your specific academic and professional interests.

    Tips for Choosing the Right Accelerated Online Bachelor’s Degree Program

    With so many schools now offering accelerated online bachelor’s degrees, it’s crucial to choose your program carefully based on your needs and goals. Follow these tips:

    Look for Proper Accreditation

    Ensuring your program and institution have valid accreditation should be a top priority. Look for regional accreditation, considered the highest standard, which makes credit transfer seamless. Nationally accredited schools usually accept both national and regional credits.

    Accreditation status impacts future education and job prospects, so this step is essential. Reputable accrediting bodies include the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

    Confirm the Program Format Matches Your Learning Style

    Since accelerated degrees move rapidly, asynchronous online delivery is common. This flexible format allows accessing pre-recorded lectures and study materials at your convenience. Ensure you can succeed learning independently before committing.

    Compare Costs Thoroughly

    Research all expenses – tuition, fees, books, supplies, hardware, and software needs. Weigh costs versus time savings and potential boost to future earnings. Take advantage of financial assistance like employer tuition reimbursement, scholarships, and federal student aid.

    Evaluate Admissions Requirements

    Admissions criteria often includes transfer credits, past coursework, test scores, essays, and recommendations. Review requirements to confirm you qualify and understand how to apply. Flexible admissions and multiple start dates per year are ideal.

    Review Curriculum and Specializations

    Browse courses in the major and identify specializations that align with your academic interests and professional goals. Look for hands-on learning like projects, simulations, and internships to boost skills.

    Assess Faculty Experience and Qualifications

    Examine the faculty list and their backgrounds. Seasoned academics with industry knowledge can provide invaluable real-world insights. Look for low student-to-faculty ratios for more individualized learning and mentoring.

    Consider Student Outcomes and Program Reputation

    Research graduation rates and graduate employment outcomes. High marks indicate an effective, career-relevant program. Pay attention to alumni testimonials and employer endorsements. Consult objective rankings from reputable publications.

    Confirm State Authorization for Online Study

    Review the school’s state authorization status to guarantee you can legally take online classes from your location. Ask admissions reps for clarification. Over 2000 accredited schools now participate in reciprocity agreements allowing enrollment across multiple states.

    By evaluating these key factors, you can find the ideal accelerated online bachelor’s degree program tailored to your needs.

    Admissions Requirements and Application Tips

    While each school sets its own admissions policies, accelerated bachelor’s degrees often require:

    • Online application form
    • Official transcripts showing GPA
    • SAT or ACT test scores
    • Letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement or essay
    • Minimum number of transferable college credits

    Reach out to admissions counselors early when preparing your application. Ask about critical deadlines, transfer credit policy, technical requirements, and anything else relevant to your situation.

    Be aware that taking certification exams like CLEP or DSST can earn credits towards admissions requirements. If you have military experience, training or classes may also count as transfer credit.

    Submit polished essays highlighting your academic preparedness, time management abilities, and motivation for an accelerated program. Letters of recommendation should speak to your strong work ethic and self-direction skills.

    Applying early maximizes chances for acceptance and securing financial aid. Some schools admit new cohorts multiple times per year, so target the start date fitting your schedule.

    How Long Does It Take to Complete an Accelerated Bachelor’s Degree Online?

    While traditional bachelor’s degrees take 4 years of full-time study, accelerated programs shorten this duration through their intense curriculum. However, the exact timeframe depends on your specific circumstances.

    Those starting from scratch can finish accelerated bachelor’s degrees in 18-24 months by taking classes year-round. But students with transferable college credits may enroll in degree completion programs allowing them to graduate in just 1 year or even less.

    Factors impacting program length include:

    • Number of transfer credits accepted
    • Prior learning credits awarded
    • Number of accelerated courses required
    • Terms offered per year
    • Credit load per term
    • Use of exams to earn credits

    Consult admissions counselors regarding your particular situation. They can provide an estimated timeline based on your incoming credits.

    Ultimately, an accelerated bachelor’s can cut years off of earning your degree. But this requires continuous accelerated enrollment and focus.

    Is an Accelerated Online Bachelor’s Degree Worth It?

    While intensive, accelerated bachelor’s degrees offer enticing benefits:

    Career mobility – Getting your degree faster enables pursuing promotions and new jobs sooner. Higher earnings often follow bachelor’s degree completion.

    Future education – A bachelor’s degree qualifies you for graduate programs to further specialize. Accelerated degrees maximize time to earn advanced credentials.

    Valuable abilities – The skills developed in an accelerated program, like time management and self-direction, drive success in work and life.

    Lower costs – Saving on tuition, fees, and living expenses from condensing degree time can provide financial benefits.

    However, the value depends on your professional objectives and personal circumstances. These programs demand exceptional discipline.

    Weight the pros and cons and seek input from advisors to decide if an accelerated path to a bachelor’s degree aligns with your needs and goals. With proper planning, accelerated online bachelor’s degrees can fast-track your career.

    8 Strategies to Complete Your Accelerated Degree Faster

    Accelerating your online bachelor’s degree requires dedication and strategic planning. Incorporate these tips to maximize your momentum and graduate quickly:

    1. Maintain Continuous Enrollment Year-Round
    By taking classes every term or semester without long breaks, you’ll expedite your progress.

    2. Enroll Full-Time with Maximum Allowed Credits Carrying a full-time credit load every term keeps you on the fast track to finishing your degree.

    3. Choose Accelerated 5-10 Week Courses
    Completing courses in a condensed 5 or 8-week format saves time compared to standard 16-week classes.

    4. Test Out of Classes Through DSST, CLEP, AP Credit
    Earn credits for your existing knowledge through Credit by Examination programs.

    5. Apply Transfer Credits from Prior Coursework
    Ensure you receive maximum allowable credits for previous college classes and training.

    6. Take Advantage of Prior Learning Assessment Demonstrate your work and life experiences warrant college credit through portfolio review.

    7. Complete Single Major/Minor Only
    Adding extra majors or minors tacks on additional graduation requirements.

    8. Seek Out Learning Opportunities External to School Some colleges award credit for external training programs, certifications, or internships.

    Careful course selection and planning is key to making the most of your accelerated online program.

    Top Accelerated Bachelor’s Degrees Online

    To provide recommendations of quality accelerated online bachelor’s degree programs, we turned to Intelligent.com, an unbiased higher education research organization. Their experts analyzed dozens of schools and identified these top options based on academic rigor, student outcomes, reputation, faculty qualifications, and more:

    Campbellsville University

    This private Christian university in Kentucky offers one of the most affordable accelerated bachelor’s degrees online. Their 120-credit curriculum can be completed in as little as 16 months. Popular majors include business, psychology, and criminal justice.

    Northeastern University

    With its innovative stackable certificate programs, Northeastern University empowers students to expedite their path to a bachelor’s degree while gaining career-focused skills. Students can complete the entrepreneurship program in as little as 2.5 years.

    Indiana Wesleyan University

    Indiana Wesleyan features accelerated bachelor’s programs across over 90 majors, with eight start dates per year for flexibility. Their 18-month tracks allow near-completers to graduate quickly.

    Utica University

    Utica University in New York offers accelerated bachelor’s degrees across over 30 online majors. Students can complete 120 credits in just 2 years by taking two classes per 8-week term.

    Liberty University

    Liberty University has a generous transfer policy and over 700 online programs. Students can potentially earn a bachelor’s degree in as little as 18 months through year-round accelerated enrollment.

    Champlain College

    This Vermont-based college offers career-focused online degrees in in-demand fields like cybersecurity, accounting, graphic design, and digital forensics in an accelerated format. Most programs take just 2 years to complete.

    SDSU Global Campus

    SDSU Global features degree completion programs for near-graduates looking to complete their bachelor’s degrees quickly and affordably. Their business administration program can be finished in 12 months or less.

    Financial Aid Options for Accelerated Degrees

    While condensing your program saves money on tuition and living costs over time, accelerated degrees still require planning for up-front expenses. Review these strategies to ease the financial burden:

    • Scholarships – Schools and external organizations offer scholarships for accelerated programs based on need and merit. These provide free aid that doesn’t need repayment.
    • Grants – Federal and state grants are non-repayable aid awarded to qualifying undergraduate students. The FAFSA form determines eligibility.
    • Student Loans – Federal Direct Loans offer low fixed-rate funding directly from the government. Private student loans through banks are another option.
    • Employer Tuition Assistance – Many employers offer tuition reimbursement benefits, paying a portion of college costs. Accelerated degrees maximize these employer education dollars.
    • GI Bill – Servicemembers can use GI Bill education benefits at schools eligible for VA funding. These grants help pay for accelerated degrees.
    • Payment Plans – Schools often allow students to split tuition payments over installments to ease budgeting as they progress term by term.

    Don’t let financial concerns deter you. With scholarships, aid, loans, reimbursement, and budgeting, you can make an accelerated bachelor’s degree affordable.

    Conclusion: Accelerated Online Bachelor’s Degrees Offer Exciting Potential

    For self-motivated learners able to handle an intensive workload, accelerated bachelor’s degree programs enable entering the workforce with a degree faster and more cost-effectively. Their accelerated format develops valuable real-world skills like time management that drive career success.

    However, these fast-paced programs require diligent research and honest self-assessment. Weigh factors like major availability, program quality and reputation, admissions requirements, and finances to choose the ideal program for your needs.

    With proper planning and focus, an accelerated online bachelor’s degree can set you up for fulfilling academic and professional achievements in a condensed timeframe. For many career-driven students, these innovative 21st century programs offer an enticing educational fast track.