How Fast is Too Fast? Accelerated Programs

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Is “accelerated” online study really the right place for you to get your degree?

For many students, earning any degree seems like a daunting task that you just want to get over with, and the sooner the better. This post is an attempt to get you to slow down a little, and consider the real benefits of your education, no matter how fast you think it should move. Any online degree program is probably going to save you a lot of time over what traditional bricks and mortar education might require. Online study is self-paced, so it can be fast and usually offers plenty of flexibility in planning your schedule and living your life.

But what if a school offers to do it all even faster? An accelerated online degree program, one that claims you can finish everything in just a few months, is something everyone looking at online education eventually sees and has to consider.

Getting an accelerated degree usually depends on a few things.

  • Almost every accelerated program one way or another depends on work you’ve already completed!
  • You’re either proving yourself through exams, interviews, or portfolio reviews and similar evaluations.
  • These programs may depend on you already having a lot of verifiable credits under your belt. This might mean your accelerated program is more of a degree completion program.
  • Some online schools will offer you credit through CLEP testing, often eliminating coursework necessary and allowing you to test your way through some credit.
  • In a very few cases, some offline campus visits, usually on one or more Saturdays a month, will allow you to shave off a lot of time. In better programs though, these can be grueling, all day learning sessions. Of course, it all depends on the program you’re enrolling for.

When deciding to complete your degree at a normal pace or an accelerated program, remember that accelerated programs often require just as much work and cost the same for tuition. The worst online study experiences are reserved for those who think they’ll be easy, like a nightly visit to Facebook and a few reading assignments. Accelerated course work can be even more exacting and demanding than what a real online study course will require. With traditionally paced degrees, the knowledge you obtain may sink in and last longer in your brain, thus being more useful.

All of the schools we list on Degree Jungle are accredited institutions of higher learning, and to be accredited, they need to offer many things across the board to every student who signs up. Accreditation is a peer review process that guarantees minimum standards for all students. That can mean reading, writing, and participation in a number of different ways and, of course, advanced research and study.

All of those things can add up to a terrific online education. They can also amount to a rude awakening if you were expecting a cakewalk. Most of the accelerated degree programs we looked at depend on bundled coursework, and multiple review stages of research by qualified professors. Degree mills and shady online schools might make promises but to really advance in any accredited program, you’ll need to put your time and effort in.

We’re not saying that an accelerated degree is not for you. We’re simply suggesting knowing what you’re getting yourself into before deciding to go the accelerated route on your coursework. Ultimately, the point is to look at your online education as an investment. In every successful case we’ve looked at, studying online accelerated everything else in student’s learning process. The coursework and the methodology are that good. Beware of promises that sound too good to be true. If you’ve never set foot in a college classroom, you should expect a bachelor’s degree to take about 4 years to finish, with only a few exceptions. Everything else may be too good to be true so look closely at all the details, and be sure you qualify, and that you can handle the work.

Written by James Tomon – Degree Jungle Staff Writer

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