So what exactly is a degree completion program and what are its benefits? An accelerated degree completion program online enables current or previous students to utilize all their skills, knowledge and previous courses to quickly complete a few additional online courses for the award of their accredited US college degree.
It is ideal for those who have already completed a few college credits, training and/or work experience to quickly get their US college degree. Working adults, single moms, college dropouts, people in the military/ armed forces and many others can benefit from these degree completion programs.
Years ago as a young adult, I was able to complete my US college degree through a similar program from New York State. This helped me a lot in my career to get better jobs and perks as a college graduate with a four-year bachelors degree!
There is also no location dependency and you can complete this program from anywhere in the United States or from most other parts of the world.
Shortlist Your Colleges
I’ve carefully selected a list of 10 colleges that offer Degree Completion Programs. More details are available in my earlier post titled Colleges with Top 10 Online College Degrees. I would suggest shortlisting no more than 2 or 3 of these colleges as their admission criteria is quite flexible and your application is likely to be accepted at most of these colleges.
So there is no point in wasting time by applying to all 10 of these colleges. Just be sure to choose colleges that are a good fit for your requirements. The most popular college is not necessarily the best and it is important to find a college that you find comfortable for completing your degree.
For additional information, you can call them or write to them via email for further clarification. If you are looking for an even more in-depth feature-by-feature comparison of the 10 colleges, you will find my insights on that in the Book on College Shortcuts.
Alternatively, simply go over the article mentioned above and conduct further research using the college websites and external sources for determining which colleges are a good fit for your needs.
Check the Admission Requirements
Most of the colleges have liberal admissions criteria. Here are the admissions criteria for the top 5 degree completion colleges:
- High school degree completion, GED or Home school diploma is required
- Minimum 20 years of age for the general population, or 18
yrs for military personnel
- For 18-19 years students who are not in the military need to show 24 prior college credits (or) completion of an Accuplacer, Next Generation exam on Reading, Sentence skills and Mathematics.
- High school completion
- Application essay
- Official transcripts of all prior courses
- $50 Orientation fee
- Proof of immunization
- Minimum 16 years of age
- Nine or more college-level credits
- High school graduation proof is not mandatory
- International students need to have their prior college-level courses evaluated by Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE) or World Education Services (WES).
- High school diploma, GED or homeschool equivalent
- Talk to an Advisor, (or) via Live Chat
Apply to the College
SUNY Empire State has 3 academic terms throughout the year and so the application needs to be completed before these deadlines:
- Fall: July 15 (Application Deadline)
- Spring: Nov 27
- Summer: March 22
Granite State has the following academic terms and application deadlines:
- Winter 2020: Oct 29 (Application Deadline)
- Spring 2020: Jan 28
- Summer 2020: May 5
Speak to your Student Counselor
Upon acceptance into the degree program, the college will typically evaluate your prior college-level credits and generate your college transcript. This transcript is the starting point for you to create a study plan for completing the college degree. The plan is best to create with close consultation with your assigned student counselor at the enrolled college.
Consult Senior Students
There are times when senior students might have much better information on the latest courses and online study options. One great place to look is the DegreeForum.net which is a part of InstantCert. At DegreeForum, many students from the Top 3 degree completion colleges, namely Excelsior, Thomas Edison and Charter Oak post their college-specific experiences regarding specific courses, credits earned, their score reports and so much more.
If you have additional questions regarding your degree plan, you can post them in this forum for a lot of helpful advice.
Chart out Your Degree Plan
Using all the information from you college transcript, the student counselor and the degreeforum students, it is now time to formulate your customized degree plan. If needed, check on additional courses and your schedules to come up with a study plan from this point until the successful completion of your college degree.
Plan Your College Finances
Note that we’ve specifically chosen the 10 flexible/ degree completion colleges for being highly affordable and for a fast completion of the college degree. For a listing of affordable college-level courses and credit options take a look at our article on the Review of Free College Courses Online.
Now taking into account that we’re primarily focusing on low cost college-level courses, here are the different ways to finance your college education at these colleges:
- Pay from you pocket with some savings or a small part-time job
- Get the money from your parents. Since you will not be spending much less than $10,000 for your entire college degree, it should be possible for parents to fund your college with their salary or savings.
- Find additional ways of making money as an online business owner.
- Apply for grants and scholarships to cover for all or some of your college expenses.There are federal scholarships, state grants and scholarships, community scholarships and ones specific to individual colleges. The College Board which administers various school and college tests also provides great tools and resources for students looking for college scholarships. Take a look here.
To further reduce the cost of college, try to live with your parents or family while attending college. This will greatly reduce your living expenses. Also, there is generally no necessity to relocate for studying at these highlighted colleges. You can complete these college degrees right from where you currently live.
Set Your Study/ Exam Schedules
Depending on whether you have a part-time job, full-time job and/or other family responsibilities, setup a realistic study schedule and try to stick to it to the greatest extent possible. Some hard work now will reap huge benefits upon your completion of the bachelors degree.
Meet Fellow Students
As you start your degree completion program, there will be times when you would get a bit stuck and need additional help and guidance. For this, you can contact your college’s student advisors and also post your questions here with us at CollegeOnomics. We are always here to guide and encourage you with the right information and tools!
But there are also times when you will gain a lot of energy by simply talking with fellow students who are going through similar experiences as yourself. Some students can give you great insights to further speed up your college degree progress. So upon college enrollment, make an effort to reach out to some of your college students. Since most of your student interaction will be online and so on, just talk to other students in your online classes, by getting their contact numbers from the college office and so on.
Purchase/ Rent/ Access Study Resources
Additionally, there are many public libraries where you can find textbooks. Speak with the librarian if you are having trouble locating a particular book. Many libraries also allow students to reserve a book online before physically picking it up from the library. Some of them even provide electronic textbooks which is another great resource to have.
In cases when you urgently need a book and cannot find it in a library, another option apart from buying the book is to spend a few hours daily in a bookstore for reading the books. Many popular bookstores provide adequate seating for hours of reading and some even have a cafeteria for even more comfort!
Use Progress Updates to Revisit Degree Plan
As you complete more courses and get them updated in your college transcript, you might come across more effective ways of earning the remaining college credits. Sometimes your work schedules would also dictate as to how many hours or days you can spend in studying. So be always open to re-adjusting your degree plan to accommodate such changes.
Study/ Study/ Study
The best action you can take for faster degree completion is to dedicate time for concentrated studying. The more you study, the easier it will be to quickly earn the required college credits and to ultimately graduate from college.
Minimize all distractions and let all friends and family know that you will be busy with your college studies. This will ensure that people do not disturb your schedule and occasionally some of them may even assist and guide you with your studies.
Libraries are also good places for uninterrupted study time. Many of them provide study rooms and desks that are exclusively reserved for students.
Review/ Revise Final Transcript
A typical bachelors degree requires the completion of about 120 college-level credits. And the degree curriculum at each college has specific courses and credits that need to be earned in specific subject areas. At times, it so happens that students earn much more than 120 credits but still some degree requirements for the major/ specialization may not have been completed.
That is what happened to me years ago. I had about 126 college credits when I enrolled in Excelsior college but I did not have the required credits in computer software. Finally, in another couple of years all my computer software credits were also completed but my GPA became much lower as some courses with lower scores were reflected in my transcript.
So I called my student advisor and requested her to remove those courses and instead replace them with other courses where I had earned an A grade. This effectively brought up my overall GPA from 2.86 to 3.43 instantly!
Plan for College Graduation
It is advisable to attend your college graduation ceremony. This is a great opportunity to meet other students and to thank the college staff for and your student advisor for all their help! Choose a date which you can easily fit in your schedule.
But in case you are unable to attend the graduation ceremony due to work schedules or something else urgent, just be sure to request that the college office mail you your degree certificate to your mailing address. This will ensure that there are no delays in receiving your final degree certificate.
Also, pay for and request additional originals of the college transcript as this will come in very handy for graduate studies and future career. You can also choose to buy a nice degree docket and frame for saving/ showcasing a copy of your college degree at home or in your workplace. Finally, be sure to safely store your final transcript and degree certificate in a locked box or drawer for safekeeping.
Have a Party!
Now that your accelerated degree completion program is all done, it is time to have a celebration to highlight this major achievement! A degree completion program is ideal for someone with a few prior college credits and/or work experience to quickly complete their four-year bachelors degree.
Having a four-year degree in your chosen field is a huge asset and will definitely improve your career. For those who have already completed a bachelors degree is a different field than their area of work, he or she can re-enroll into the right degree program and transfer prior credits and earn a few additional credits. This will enable them to readily showcase a college degree in a field that is closely related to their career.