Accelerated Programs For Transfer Students: A Guide To Fast Track Degrees

fast track college degrees

Do you want to earn a degree in less time? If yes, then you should prioritize accelerated programs.

An accelerated transfer program allows students to earn two-year degree credits for a four-year degree. An accelerated program aims to help students earn a degree—or two—in a shorter time frame and, possibly, at lower costs. These are programs that are designed to optimize the transfer process.

As you already know, higher education costs are hitting an all-time high. According to the Education Data Initiative, the inflation rate of college costs averaged 12% annually from 2010 to 2022. The longer you stay in college, the more you are likely to incur higher expenses and student loans.

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An accelerated degree program offers more benefits beyond cost-saving. You can also save time, which helps you compete in the job market faster.

This is a short but informative post about accelerated degrees for students who want to transfer from school to school seamlessly. By the end, you’ll know how the accelerated transfer program works, its eligibility criteria, and the application process.

What Are Accelerated Transfer Programs?

The traditional route for a degree takes years to complete. An associate may take two years, a bachelor’s four, and a master’s degree three. Pursuing the traditional route will make you spend more time in school. This could mean:

  • spending more time away from work or other activities
  • spending more money on tuition, books, and other expenses
  • risk of delaying ROI

Accelerated transfer programs/fast track degrees are designed to reduce the time and costs of earning a degree(s). There are three main types of fast-track degrees:

Two-Year to Four-Year Transfer Programs

These programs are for students who want to start their journey at a community college and pursue a four-year degree later. The goal is to make sure the credits they earn during their first two years at the community college smoothly count towards their third year at the university.

Example: Savannah Technical College to Georgia Southern University

STC offers an ATP program partnered with GSU. Students who were denied admission to GSU can start at Savannah Tech’s Interdisciplinary Studies program. After completing 24 credit hours of transferable general education courses at STU, graduates with at least a 2.0 GPA can swiftly transfer to GSU.

This offers an accelerated path and gives hope to students who got rejected at GSU.

Integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programs

Integrated programs blend undergraduate and graduate courses into one efficient curriculum. Students earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree within a shorter period. They typically begin taking graduate-level courses in their senior year of college. Students can finish both degrees faster than if they pursued each one separately.

Example: Roanoke College and Virginia Tech

RC has partnered with VT to offer an accelerated 4+1 Agricultural and Applied Economics program. This accelerated degree program allows students to complete two notable degrees in a shorter time frame. Students will get to build strong foundations at RC and later develop various skills at VT, such as:

  • data analytics
  • economic modeling
  • econometrics
  • forecasting
  • both micro- and macroeconomics 

Standalone Accelerated Programs

These programs allow students to complete a single degree in half the time it would take in the traditional route through 8- or 10-week courses. Some programs allow students to take on more course load per semester.

Example: Arizona State University

ASU offers several accelerated programs in various fields, leading to bachelor’s and master’s degrees. These programs involve taking heavy class loads to graduate in less time. 

Benefits of Accelerated Transfer Programs

What is an accelerated program, and what benefits do they bring to higher education? These programs provide numerous advantages, which is why they’re highly sought after by many students, particularly working adults and those who want to save money. Here’s a much closer look at their advantages.

Time savings

This is the top benefit of accelerated transfer programs. The primary concerns of the majority of students are time and money. Attending a traditional degree is a commitment that lasts two years for an associate’s and four years for a bachelor’s. 

Accelerated learning pathways allow you to complete degrees faster. For instance, you can complete an associate’s and bachelor’s in four years instead of six. Not only does this save you time, but it also saves you from delayed gratification. This allows you to pursue your career sooner.

Cost savings

Accelerated undergraduate degree programs can potentially save you thousands of dollars. Tuition and college fees are rapidly increasing, meaning the longer you stay enrolled, the more expenses you incur. By reducing the time spent in higher education, you minimize overall costs associated with tuition, fees, and other expenses.

This cost-saving is particularly helpful for students financing their education. Plus, starting work sooner allows you to earn more sooner as well, which can help balance out education costs.

Accelerated transfer programs also help you transfer your credits smoothly. It means you don’t have to repeat the courses you’ve already completed.

How much you save, however, will depend on the online college and program you’re pursuing. To ensure that you save more, we suggest thoroughly researching and comparing tuition costs and financial aid packages.

When choosing an online college, consider public schools within your state first. They typically have lower tuition fees compared to private schools or those out-of-state. If your preferred major isn’t available at an in-state school, explore out-of-state options that have agreements with your state or offer flat-rate tuition policies. This can help you find the best educational fit while managing costs.

Flexibility

Nontraditional learners require flexible scheduling. These students often have other commitments, such as jobs or family responsibilities, that make traditional class schedules challenging.

The good thing about accelerated transfer programs is they offer plenty of options for different types of students. These programs let students study when it suits them instead of rearranging their lives for school. The schedules are designed to meet the needs of students who prefer more control over their time and don’t want school to dominate their schedules.

How to Qualify for Accelerated Transfer Programs

Accelerated transfer student programs may have different specific requirements. These will depend on whether you’re pursuing an integrated associate and bachelor’s or bachelor’s and master’s degree. They will also depend on your major; some majors have more stringent admission requirements than others.

However, you should expect a few requirements in accelerated transfer degree programs.

  1. GPA

Most accelerated transfer programs require a strong GPA, often around 3.0 or higher. Some competitive programs may have higher GPA requirements.

  1. Standardized Tests

Check if the program requires standardized test scores such as SAT or ACT, especially if you transfer after completing only a portion of your undergraduate studies.

Some accelerated programs operate independently from your current college or university. These standalone programs may require additional documentation or coursework beyond what is typically expected in integrated programs. Here are a few materials you might need to add if you’re considering pursuing transferring to a standalone accelerated program:

  1. Prerequisite Courses

Ensure you have completed any prerequisite courses for your major or program of interest. Some programs may have specific prerequisites that must be fulfilled before admission.

  1. Coursework and Credit Transfer

Understand the specific coursework and credit transfer policies of the accelerated program. Integrated programs may have pre-determined pathways or course sequences that you must adhere to.

  1. Additional Documentation

Standalone accelerated programs may require additional documentation beyond what integrated programs typically require. This could include detailed course descriptions, syllabi, or additional essays explaining your academic and career goals and letters of recommendation.

Navigating the application process is difficult, especially for transfer students who plan to pursue another degree at a non-partner institution. Here are a few tips that might help you in applying for accelerated transfer programs:

Tip #1: Plan Early

This is very important. Proper planning prevents you from running into unexpected issues, delays, or oversights that could derail your project or goal. Planning early allows you to anticipate challenges, allocate resources effectively, and set realistic timelines.

Tip #2: Research Transfer Requirements

Each institution has different requirements for transfer students. You should always research the specific requirements and criteria and evaluate yourself to see if your credentials fit in. You should also keep track of deadlines and required documents.

Steps to Successfully Transfer and Fast-Track Your Degree

Here’s a simple guide to help you plan your transfer to an accelerated course:

Plan your transfer timeline.

  1. Investigate possible transfer institutions.
  2. Request college catalogs, applications, and admissions requirements.
  3. Begin looking for scholarships, grants, and other ways to reduce costs.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the transfer institution’s academic calendar and deadlines.

Work with academic advisors.

Consult with both your academic advisor at your current school and an admissions counselor at your intended transfer institution. Involving everyone in the process reduces the chances of surprises along the way!

Ensure all credits transfer smoothly.

Review your current transcript and ensure that all credits are eligible for transfer. Some courses may require syllabi or additional documentation for evaluation. You should always be prepared to gather and submit these materials as needed.

Conclusion

We encourage you to consider accelerated programs. Accelerated transfer programs offer several benefits. They offer you a cost-effective and fast way to earn degrees. If you decide this is your path, you should plan early and talk to advisors to ensure a smooth transfer process.