Fastest Way To Get A Bachelor’s Degree Online: A Simple Guide

fastest online bachelor's degrees

Not all of us have the luxuries to dedicate four to five years to higher education. Some of us have other responsibilities and life plans that call for a quick route to graduation. Moreover, the cost of attending an on-campus degree is soaring. The length of a bachelor’s degree can significantly delay career and financial goals. This is why many of today’s students are searching for the fastest way to get a bachelor’s degree online to save time, money, and opportunity costs. The techniques described in this article can dramatically cut down how long it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree.

How to Finish My Bachelor’s Degree Faster

In addition to being comparably cheaper than pursuing an on-campus degree, an online bachelor’s degree also can feature an accelerated learning format. Well, most of them.

It’s important to know that not all online programs offer fast-paced learning because some move in cohorts. This type of learning delivery means you progress through the coursework at the same pace as your fellow students.

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The answer to “How long will it take to get my bachelor’s degree online?” will ultimately depend on several factors. Here are the best ways to earn a bachelor’s degree faster.

Choose an Accelerated Learning Program

When aiming to ‘get my bachelor’s degree faster online,’ the most effective route is to opt for an accelerated or fast-paced program. These programs, designed to be completed in less time than a regular bachelor’s degree, offer a host of benefits, including a quicker path to graduation and the flexibility to study at your own pace.

Accelerated degree programs offer shorter, flexible classes. For instance, the traditional bachelor’s degree program typically takes four to five years, with 16 weeks of classes each term, or longer if students can only enroll part-time.

On the other hand, students in an accelerated format can take classes at their convenience, often compressed into 5 to 10-week sessions instead of 16 weeks. Accelerated bachelor’s degree completion time varies by school, with three years being the average time frame.

You may wonder if this will negatively impact your learning experience. The answer to this concern is no. Accelerated degree programs offer a quick, comprehensive education, streamlining coursework to cover the same material without compromising the quality of the education.

However, because accelerated degree programs expect their students to complete coursework faster, it can lead to a more rigorous and demanding academic experience. To succeed in this learning format, you need excellent time management skills. You also need to be mentally tough; otherwise, you’ll quickly experience burnout.

Maximize Transfer Credits

Many online colleges accept transfer credits. In fact, most of them are very generous, accepting a wide range of credits earned from other accredited institutions. Before enrolling in an online college, it’s important to maximize transfer credits by carefully reviewing the institution’s transfer policies.

The most common transfer credits are those earned from a community college. However, as associate degrees also typically take two years to complete, this may still negate the goal of obtaining a bachelor’s degree faster.

Fortunately, associate degree credits are not the only source of transfer credits. You can also pursue a specific strategy known as a Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio. This process allows students to evaluate and credit college-level learning outside the classroom. The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) explains you can earn transfer credits using any of the following:

  • ACE and National College Credit Recommendation Services
  • Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams
  • Challenge or departmental exams
  • Open-source learning and independent studies
  • Military training
  • Professional training
  • Institutional reviews of external training, licenses, or certifications
  • Standardized exams
  • Work experience

Max Course Credits per School Year

The average student takes on 15 credits a term. However, if you take on more courses than the one suggested by your university, you can graduate faster. Many online colleges offer flexibility in course scheduling. You can enroll in multiple terms throughout the year.

By carefully planning your coursework and utilizing these extra terms, you may be able to finish more credits than the usual 30 in a school year. Some online colleges do not require students to pay additional tuition when taking more credits per year. However, colleges that charge a tuition rate per credit hour may require students to pay extra fees for each additional credit beyond a certain threshold.

Take Advantage of Dual-Enrollment Programs

If you’re a high school student asking, ‘How fast can I get a bachelor’s degree online?’ you’ll be happy to learn about dual-enrollment programs. These programs allow you to enroll in college courses while still in high school.

Dual enrollment programs differ from school to school, with each institution offering its own unique approach. These programs are often facilitated through partnerships between high schools and colleges. In some cases, college faculty members teach courses directly in high school classrooms as part of the dual enrollment program.

Students typically begin the process by deciding which topic area they are most interested in. They then submit an application to be admitted into the college program with which the high school has partnered.

Plan Ahead

In addition to the strategies mentioned above, planning and staying organized is also important in earning a bachelor’s degree. Ultimately, your abilities will answer the question, “How many years of college to get your bachelor’s degree?”

Planning is crucial for navigating the challenging process of accelerating a bachelor’s degree, particularly if you’re starting from scratch without any transfer credits. This is a demanding path that requires careful preparation.

Here are pro tips for preparing for a fast-paced bachelor’s degree online:

Know your desired major.

You need to assess your interests beforehand. It is important to stick to your enrolled program; otherwise, you’ll find yourself switching majors and delaying graduation time and opportunities.

Know the university’s policies.

This tip is mainly for those with transfer credits. Every university has its policies regarding acceptance and transfer credits. Narrow down your choices and choose which university has the most generous policies.

Be financially prepared.

It’s important to know that an accelerated online bachelor’s degree program can be financially demanding. This is particularly true if you’re pursuing the program without any transfer credits. Such programs often require full-time enrollment, leaving little time for a job, which can further strain your finances.

Before committing to an online bachelor’s degree, plan out your financial resources, including scholarships, grants, loans, and personal savings.

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast can I get a bachelor’s degree online?

There are several ways to earn your bachelor’s degree in less than four years. However, the best approach will depend on your situation.

For instance, if I need a bachelor’s degree fast and I’m still in high school, I would take advantage of dual degree programs. However, if my school doesn’t offer one, I would opt for advanced placement courses.

On the other hand, if I am a high school graduate with no college or work experience for transfer credits, I would opt for specifically designed accelerated degree programs.

What is the easiest bachelor’s degree to get online?

The easiest bachelor’s degrees to get online are majors that do not have lab requirements. The best examples include computer science, business administration, liberal arts, nursing, and accounting degrees.

What is the quickest bachelor’s degree program to get?

The quickest bachelor’s degrees are offered in 5-week courses. While these programs offer the advantage of faster completion, they are often highly intensive and require a significant time commitment from students.

Can I finish a bachelor’s degree in one year?

Yes. It is possible to complete a bachelor’s degree online if you have transfer credits and enroll in an accelerated degree program. In fact, some students can graduate within 18 months.