Earning your bachelor’s degree can open the door to better career opportunities and potentially higher income. The National Center for Education Statistics indicates that 87 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher are employed compared to just 80 percent of those with some college and 74 percent of those with just a high school degree. If you want the best chance at kickstarting your career, your best bet is a four-year degree.
Many adults find themselves in the role of having some college experience—or even an associate degree—but lack the number of credits needed for a bachelor’s degree. If you’re in this situation, online bachelor completion programs can help you quickly get the job done. Online training is often more flexible and affordable than traditional classroom instruction, giving you the freedom to finish that degree while still maintaining your other responsibilities.
What is a Degree-Completion Program?
A degree completion program is a program for students who started a degree but didn’t finish. They accept most, if not all, of the credits you’ve already learned, so all you need to do is complete the remaining credits.
Accelerated online degree completion programs are a type of degree-completion program designed to help you graduate as quickly as possible. They often offer credit for prior learning experiences outside of the college classroom, letting students take exams or cite work experience for classes in areas where they have professional experience or proficiency. Accelerated programs also compress the education into a shorter time frame, giving students an intense experience for a short period of time to finish their degrees more quickly.
Whether you take an accelerated online degree completion program or a traditional one, completing a degree online requires a little creativity and a lot of planning. These tips will help you stay on track.
Tip 1 – Get Strict with Your Schedule
While one of the perks of online learning is flexibility, it still takes time and discipline to succeed. Carve out set times for coursework to provide structure and lessen the risk of procrastination.
Tip 2 – Make a Time Map
Consider making a daily time map. Map out the responsibilities you have that can’t be moved or changed, like work or family roles. Then, fit in time to watch your course videos or read your assignments. By seeing it all on paper, you will see just how you can make your schoolwork a priority. You may even find that you have more room for your education in your schedule than you think!
Tip 3 – Find Ways to Stay Connected
One reason many online students end up stopping before finishing their degrees is that they don’t feel connected. Unlike on-campus students, online students don’t meet with their teachers and classmates face-to-face, making it harder to build friendships and connections.
However, those connections are essential. US News and World Report has found that social relationships in the online classroom make students more productive. When you’re productive, you finish more quickly.
How can you stay connected in an online classroom? Take part in interactive projects. Join and participate in discussion boards. Connect with professors and fellow students on social media and LinkedIn. Get connected wherever you can to make the most out of your degree.
Tip 4 – Test Out When You Can
Many online bachelor completion programs offer an option to “test out” of certain courses. Your previous educational experiences and your work experience may make this possible. Testing out of required courses helps you finish more quickly. It lets you make the most out of your time and money. Saving money and time while completing your degree is definitely something to get excited about!
Tip 5 – Choose Schools Wisely
The school you choose will play a significant role in the quality of your bachelor’s program. Look for the flexibility you need with your online scheduling and quality education. And be sure to check their accreditation status to ensure the program you’re entering meets the quality standards of independent assessment agencies.
Tip 6 – Transfer Your Credits
If you’re completing a degree and not starting from scratch, you want to use your existing credits towards your bachelor’s degree program. The best online schools for transferring credits are those with flexible credit transfer requirements that will take most of your credits.
As you research schools, get a short list of prospective options. Then, request their policies about transfer credits. If necessary, send your transcript to the school to have them check the credits. Schools that will take more of your credits should be high on your “yes” list.
Tip 7 – Know the Difference Between Asynchronous and Synchronous Online Courses
Online degree programs are either asynchronous or synchronous, and this difference is critical to understand.
Asynchronous online delivery lets you access the course materials when it works for your schedule. Your communication with professors and peers happens on discussion groups and message boards.
Synchronous online delivery requires you to log in to attend class at set times. You will have a set schedule for when you must be on the platform for real-time instruction. While this mirrors the traditional classroom better than asynchronous, it’s far less flexible for busy adults.
Tip 8 – State Your Why
Before you start your degree completion program, state your “why.” Why are you going back to school? What do you hope to accomplish by completing your degree? Consider making something visual you can put near your computer or desk to keep this goal in the forefront of your mind. When your work gets challenging or you lack motivation, keeping your overarching goal in front of you may give you the motivation you need to keep pushing forward.
Tip 9 – Seek Support
Finally, build a support network around yourself. Enlist the help of friends and family who will motivate you when you find yourself lacking. It won’t take long and you’ll have succeeded in finishing that valuable bachelor’s degree!
Remember, completing your bachelor’s degree is challenging, but affordable degree completion programs you can complete online will make it very doable. By finishing your degree, you’ll gain a tremendous amount of satisfaction and open the door to greater potential income and career opportunities.