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How To Get Your College Degree Faster

By: Melanie Bacallao
Jun 10, 2020 • 4 min read

Same Degree, Less Time

Aiming for a degree can be quite tedious due to the many courses needed to fulfill graduation requirements. If you’re a student who is not good at juggling between work and school, want cheaper tuition, or cannot deal with many courses at once, you’re in luck. Getting an undergraduate degree fast is simple in both concept and execution. There is no trick. It requires efficient planning ahead and research. Fortunately, many options can accelerate the time it takes to earn your college degree. 

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Dual Enrollment

In which college brings the class to you — a humble highschooler. Only available for high school students, Dual Enrollment courses are essentially college classes that can be taken inside your high school or on the class’s designated campus. That means they run on the regular 3-month college schedule. To check if your high school allows Dual Enrollment courses inside your high school, speak with your counselor. There may also be a limit as to what courses or how many you are allowed to take. Typically, courses that are focused on general requirements, humanities, and in-demand are offered to high schoolers through Dual Enrollment. Taking these courses relieves some college credits and shrinks your tuition by a dramatic amount. 

Pros:

  • Free
  • College credits
  • Cheaper tuition
  • Feel more prepared for higher education
  • Fewer classes to take

Before anything, make sure to confirm that the college or university you want to enroll at accepts Dual Enrollment credits. Some schools restrict the number of credits received, others refuse to accept them. 

AP/IB/AICE

Similar to Dual Enrollment, these are college-level courses offered by accredited programs or schools. The abbreviations are respectfully listed in order: Advanced Placement (AP) by College Board, Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) by the University of Cambridge, and International Baccalaureate (IB). These are classes offered to high schoolers, which have their own final exams. Not to be mistaken as official college classes, AP and IB are imitations of what a college course feels like but are generally reported to be more difficult than some actual college courses. However, do not be discouraged from taking it.

Study Guides

There are many materials and study guides from your AP/IB/AICE teacher and on the internet. By taking these courses, you are letting colleges and universities be aware of the fact that you can handle rigor and pressure. Be advised that you can only get college credit if you pass the final exam with a specific score. This does not apply to AICE, as schools will usually override the final exam grade due to the British grading scale being different from the United States.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Fewer classes to take
  • Cheaper tuition
  • College credits only if you pass the exam.

CLEP

Administered by the College Board, they also provide CLEP exams nationwide. Unlike the latter, CLEP exams can be taken by anyone at any point in time, regardless of where you are currently studying. Colleges and universities will recommend CLEP as a way to take fewer classes and achieve certain credits. Instead of taking a college course on Information Technology, you can sign up for a CLEP exam instead and get the same credits under an hour in contrast to doing it for 3 months (or more.)  There are study guides on College Board’s website, and they only have specific exams, meaning there will not be an exam for every college course you need to take. 

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Saving Money

If you need further aid, Modern States is an accredited website that lets you take CLEP-related courses for free and will offer you a voucher that covers the CLEP exam cost. These exams typically cost more than $90, but with the coupon, it drops to $0. Be mindful that your school may also charge a testing fee too, which Modern States also covers. You will have to pay the testing center fee yourself, but by sending Modern States a picture of your CLEP exam grade and testing center receipt, they will mail you a check total to what you paid for. Using this method, you save money, time, and receive help before taking your CLEP exam.

Pros:

  • Free if using Modern States voucher
  • College credits
  • Fewer classes
  • Save time

College or University Exams

A handful of colleges or universities offer their own version of CLEP exams but under different abbreviations. The subjects that these exams cover may also be different and very specific to individual courses. Contact your advisor or testing department to know if your school provides other alternatives to your classes.

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