Bachelors degrees in the US require four years of study, whereas in India or some other parts of the world, they require either 3 years or 4 years of study. But there are some students in India or abroad who attend college for a while but end up dropping out.
Many such students have already completed some college courses and are looking for a way to use their previous learning to finish a 4 yr college degree in about 2 years. So can someone from India or abroad do a 4 year US bachelors degree in 2 years?
The answer to this is “yes”. It is possible for someone in India or abroad to complete a 4 year US bachelors degree in 2 years. This is more easily possible if you have already attended some college before and have a mark sheet for your completed courses or exams. Governments everywhere want their people to get an education so they can help the country’s economy and make a good living for themselves.
In the US, there are degree completion colleges that allow students to quickly complete college by writing exams, with other training or experience, and by using their previous college courses easily towards a US college degree. You also do not need a US visa at these colleges as you can study online and also take any other courses locally where you live.
The Overall Process
It all begins with choosing the right degree completion colleges. I’ll be listing those out in this post shortly. After this, you need to gather up all the relevant documentation as follows:
1) Your previous college mark sheets
2) Course syllabus write-up or brochures for all completed college courses
3) Certificates for all training you’ve completed
4) Description of skills and work done at any previous jobs (if applicable)
Once you know which colleges you’re interested in and have all your documentation ready, then it’s time to figure out which degree program you’re interested in. Most of the colleges have degree programs in Business, Technology, Healthcare, Liberal Arts and more.
The college website itself will have a lot of information on the degree curriculum but you can also reach out to them directly via email or phone with additional questions.
If your objective is to get ANY 4 yr US bachelors degree quickly, just choose a degree in a general field in which you’ve already completed some courses and learning. That will make it faster to complete your degree at the earliest.
Or if you want a specialized degree in say technology, cyber security or something else, you can ask the college advisors questions on how you can meet those remaining degree requirements within 2 years of time.
Now with a general idea of the college and degree program you are interested in, it’s time to start the college enrollment process. As someone living in India or abroad, you can easily apply for admission to the colleges online and send preliminary scanned copies of your mark sheet and previous course certificates and so on.
The college might also want you to submit your certificates and mark sheets for foreign credential evaluation. I’ll discuss more on this in the next section.
Foreign Credential Evaluation
This is the process by which all the college-level courses and training you’ve completed in India or abroad can be evaluated for US equivalent college credits. This process will help the college to determine how many more college credits you need to earn to complete your degree with them.
The US college will have a list of recommended foreign credential evaluation agencies that they work with. The two well-known ones I’ve frequently heard of are:
1) World Education Services (WES)
2) Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)
The complete list of evaluation agencies can be found in the NACES website. In any case, it is best to check with your US college directly to determine which of these agencies they recognize for their foreign student evaluation services.
Degree Completion Colleges
Out of the ten (10) degree completion colleges in the US that we’ve listed in Colleges with Top 10 Online College Degrees, eight (8) of them allow international students to enroll and complete their bachelors degree.
For more information on how to enroll into these colleges as an international student, take a look at the following:
Ways of Earning Credits
College Courses (where you live)
If you have completed any college courses in India or in any other country, those can be evaluated for US equivalent credits. Any BSc or BCom or BA degree courses or 4 yr degree courses can be sent for the foreign credential evaluation.
Standardized Exams (International)
Some of the exams such as CLEP, DSST, AP or ACT can be taken to earn college credits. CLEP and DSST exams are quite inexpensive and there are many low-cost study resources for CLEP and DSST.
However, in countries such as India and some other South Asian countries, taking the CLEP is not easily possible. But there are definitely many test centers conducting DSST exams in India.
You can register for your DSST exams internationally via Prometric. To find an international test center, just follow the directions using the Locate menu/tab on this page. Be sure to enter your city and country after selecting the test name you want to register for.
Though AP tests are used for more success with US admissions and for replacing some college courses, they can also be used to obtain college credits that are recognized by some of the degree completion colleges.
To be absolutely sure, check with your US college to determine if they will award college credits for AP tests. For the year 2020, students are also able to take the AP tests at home. There are many AP test tutorials on YouTube available to students free of cost. Here is more information on taking the AP tests in India.
ACT tests are generally taken for better US college admissions but some colleges also offer US college credits for taking ACT tests. More information on international test centers for ACT can be found here.
You can also check with local Prometric centers to see which tests such as CLEP, DSST, AP or ACT tests they are able to administer. For a list of possible Prometric centers in India, take a look at this ATOZ Tech site.
Online Accredited Courses
Here are the list of accredited college-level courses you can take online:
1) Saylor: These are completely free online courses which you can use to earn US college credits.
2) StraighterLine: These courses can be used to earn college credits for most general US college credits. The cost is $99/month for unlimited courses or $59 for completing one course of about 3 credits or more.
You might also be able to earn college credits for certificate courses from Edx or Coursera. Check with your US college for more information. Once you complete the online course, be sure to write a test and then pay a small fee for a verified certificate from them. Then you will be able to submit this certificate for evaluation at your US college.
Work Experience or Training
If you have any work experience or training that is not directly translatable to college credits, at the US degree completion colleges, a portfolio assessment or prior-learning assessment can be conducted for awarding US college credits for those. This is certainly something you need to discuss with your US college student advisor.
Many years ago, I had completed some engineering courses with AMIE from the Institution of Engineers (India) and I also had completed a one-year BA degree from Osmania University. Along with this, I had a few years of experience as a computer programmer in India.
To improve my career prospects, I enrolled in Excelsior college and completed my BS in Computer Information Systems. I was able to get my AMIE and BA courses evaluated for US equivalent credits. This evaluation was completed by ECE. I also received some credits for my work experience. In addition to this, I wrote a couple of CLEP/DSST exams and completed a few other computer science courses in India.
After this, I continued to have a lucrative career in the US as a software engineer and worked in Silicon Valley and San Francisco in California and also in New York at many leading corporations. This was a real fun experience and I know that anyone with the right drive and interest can definitely find a way to complete a US college degree from anywhere in the world and for less cost.
So if you’ve already completed some college courses in India or other parts of the world but are interested in completing a 4 yr US college degree, any one of the above-listed degree completion colleges can provide this for you.
Once you enroll in the US college, just remember to work closely with your US college student advisor. If you are not yet ready to start the enrollment, you can simply get a foreign credential evaluation done by submitting your documents to ECE or WES and find out how much more you need to study to get a US college degree.
Most US Bachelors degrees require students to complete about 120 college credits for degree completion. But this can be greatly reduced for you once you do the foreign credential evaluation as you can transfer all your previous course credits to your new US college degree.