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How to excel in an accelerated degree

If you are looking for an excellent job with room for advancement, you have probably discovered that many employers rarely give someone a chance if they do not have a college degree. However, for many people, the typical four-year college path presents a few challenges, the most significant of which is the need to work or fulfill family obligations while studying. Fortunately, there are college courses that can be completed in less than four years. An accelerated college degree program is designed for students who work hard to finish college in a shorter amount of time.

Accelerated degree programs provide students with flexible options that allow them to graduate in less time and enter the workforce sooner. Many top universities offer these accelerated programs for working adults and students who want to finish their degrees faster. These programs enable them to graduate ahead of schedule with the same rigor as a traditional program.

Full-time bachelor’s degree students need four to five years to complete all required courses. Accelerated degree programs, on the other hand, provide compressed classes that last five to ten weeks. Instead of a two-semester structure with breaks, students can take accelerated classes all year. This arrangement allows students to complete a four-year degree in as little as two years. Traditional and accelerated curricula are similar in content, structure and academic rigor.

Colleges provide accelerated degree programs both online and in person. A traditional classroom format is typically used in an in-person program, with more classes per year. Some working professionals or busy students prefer the convenience of online learning, especially for accelerated programs. Rather than commuting to campus, students devote their time to their studies.

Accredited online programs provide accelerated degrees in a variety of subjects. Students in accelerated online programs frequently take on heavier course loads, allowing them to graduate sooner. However, many online degree programs are part time, meaning students take lighter course loads and study around their jobs and other responsibilities. In that case, online students may take longer to graduate.

Suppose you are unfamiliar with the concept of an accelerated degree program. You may wonder if it will harm your education. Is it possible to cover everything in such a short amount of time? The simple answer is yes. Universities are streamlining their coursework so that an accelerated degree program covers the same amount of material in less time. As a result, you can embrace this simplified education without worrying about sacrificing the quality of your learning experience.

Accelerated program colleges typically require students to have at least some transferable credits from a regionally accredited institution. In addition, some accelerated degrees require the completion of an associate degree first. Accelerated programs help students enter the workforce or graduate school faster.

There are numerous benefits to pursuing accelerated degrees, including lower tuition fees and less time spent studying. The following are reasons people are drawn to accelerated courses at universities:

Save money

While annual costs vary by university, reducing your school course requirements can save you a lot of money. The average cost of attendance (based on data from the National Center for Education Statistics) for first-year, full-time undergraduate students at public colleges, is $19,204, which includes tuition, fees, and room and board. You could save more than $9,500 if you save six months by completing a semester’s worth of credits during your undergraduate degree. The amount you save will vary depending on your school’s tuition, scholarships and grants awarded, and the number of credits required for your degree.

Save time

Accelerated degree programs may allow you to begin your education sooner, as you will not have to wait for the start of a semester. While each school has its own schedule, many have multiple start dates throughout the year. They will process applications regularly, allowing you to avoid waiting. Aside from having flexible start times, accelerated degree programs are frequently online, allowing you to fit learning into your schedule. If you work full time, you can finish your schoolwork during lunch or on weekends. This will allow you to be present for your family and work obligations while continuing your education.

Faster career development 

An essential advantage of an accelerated degree is the reduced time commitment, which allows you to enter the workforce sooner. For example, if you want to start a new career in nursing, by completing a second degree nursing program you will not have to wait as long to finish your degree and pursue your professional goals. So, what would be the benefits of an accelerated course if we look at the example provided? If you are not already a nurse, it will get your foot in the door much sooner, as this sector is in such high demand.

On the other hand, suppose you are a nurse looking to further your career. In that case, you will know the importance of flexibility, especially regarding your demanding shift patterns. Therefore, an accelerated online course may be the best option for you.

Work/life balance

Mature students with other obligations may benefit from an accelerated degree. Juggling studies with children (or other dependents) can be complex, and the associated costs such as childcare and transportation can add up. Working part-time may not be an option or may be limited at best. Obtaining your degree and returning to work sooner, ideally earning a little more due to qualifying, will make a significant difference. It is important to remain focused on the bigger picture and your long-term goals.

More options

Approximately one third of all first-year college students will change majors at least once before graduating. This means that 30% of college students do not know whether their chosen career path is correct. So, it is no surprise that 60% of students take six years or longer to graduate from a four-year public university. And, given the cost of college, changing your mind or your major can be costly. Accelerated learning programs allow undecided students to quickly obtain the credentials and occupational skills needed to work in an industry while keeping their education costs low.

Remain focused

Taking time away from school after completing your undergraduate degree can be beneficial in many ways. Still, it can also make it more challenging to return. Accelerated programs allow you to jump into a graduate degree without losing sight of your goals. An accelerated program is a no-brainer, especially if you know a master’s degree is required for your field.

Personal qualities you need to succeed

Because accelerated degree programs are so quick and intense, they necessitate a certain amount of dedication and perseverance on the part of students. Students will need to be self-motivated to complete their classes with heavy workloads. Students should be able to make good use of their time, create healthy schedules that balance their social and work pursuits with their academic goals, and be willing to change their class workloads if things are not going well. These programs work best when other aspects of life are slower. However, the qualities below will help you complete an accelerated schedule.

Excellent time management

The most important aspect of these accelerated classes is to make time in your schedule for reading and studying. Mismanagement of your time will cause you to fail every time. By the second week, most students have fallen behind in their reading and studying, and it is nearly impossible to catch up in these fast-paced courses. Because there is not much time outside of class to read every page and chapter, lecture time is critical. In addition, most of your exposure and learning will take place in lectures. As a result, you must arrive prepared to receive your professor’s lesson.

Good work ethic 

Why is having a good work ethic so important? First, it will demonstrate your strength of character. The workload is perhaps the most challenging aspect of an accelerated program. Because you are essentially condensing two years of work into one, you should expect to do more work outside of class than you would in a traditional program. Ultimately, this means you will have less time for activities outside of college. However, always remember that by completing an accelerated learning program, you will have more time on your hands in the long run, when your studies are concluded.

Strong commitment

When obstacles arise, commitment helps you stick to your goals in good and bad times. Commitment is influenced by two factors: importance and ability. To commit to a plan, a person must believe that it is necessary and that they can carry out the required behaviors or tasks. It is easy to make excuses and exceptions, but it is much more challenging to get back on track once you have done so. Goal achievement requires complete dedication.

Determine what you are willing to commit to and stick to it — no excuses, no exceptions. You will discover that 100% commitment is manageable because distractions and emotions are removed. It will be easier to stay on track if you can concentrate solely on your goal and not your distractions. This is one of the most apparent skills an accelerated learning student acquires — choosing to give up some of your free time to obtain a valuable qualification shows any future or current employer that you are passionate about your development.

Self-motivation 

Self-motivation, in its most basic form, is the force that drives you to do things. People can be motivated by a variety of factors. Self-motivation (the ability to motivate oneself) is a valuable skill. People with this quality are more likely to persevere in the face of adversity, seize opportunities, and demonstrate dedication to their goals. You will certainly require plenty of self-motivation to complete an accelerated learning program.

Reading techniques 

Reading will take up most of your time at university. Therefore, developing effective reading techniques to increase your reading speed and select appropriate reading material is critical. When looking for reading materials as part of your active academic reading, there are questions to ask yourself to determine if it is relevant to you. Depending on the medium, there are also various approaches to academic reading. Skimming, for example, entails scanning text to get a general sense of the content. When skimming, the reader does not read every word or paragraph thoroughly. Instead, the reader skims a book’s introduction and conclusion, a paper’s abstract, and a chapter’s opening and closing paragraphs. The goal is to understand the concept without wasting valuable time that could be better used.

Good planning and organizational skills

Developing a study routine to help you retain information and avoid data dumping is a skill. We are not going to get into the neuroscience of it all (yet), but many psychologists have proven through various studies that studying using something called ‘spaced retrieval’ or ‘quiz and recall’ to test yourself over several days rather than all in one day is the best way to get information to stay in your long-term memory. Of course, the first time you learn something is the first you hear it. Still, to truly remember it so that you can recall it at any time, you must have several exposures to it over time. This brings us neatly to our next section.

The science behind accelerated learning

Understanding how you learn allows you to train your brain to retain knowledge and insight better. Everything changes once you understand the keys to learning, from asking questions to consuming information. Learning is instilling new facts, concepts, and abilities in our minds. We begin learning in the womb and never stop — we constantly develop new skills. Every new piece of information we gain adds to what we already know, providing us with a complete, richer picture of the world. And the more developed our understanding of the world is, the more quickly we can adapt and pivot when our circumstances change.

Biology teaches us that organisms that can adapt to their ever-changing environment and survive and thrive — those that cannot eventually become extinct. The same is true in our personal and professional lives. Because we do not passively absorb new ideas and information, people can have a fixed amount of knowledge. Learning something new requires active participation.

According to a Practical Psychology report on the rate of forgetting, most forgetting occurs within the first hour of learning. That is not all. We typically forget about 75% of what we have learned after a day or two. This is because the human brain cannot retain information after only reading or learning it once. However, the rate at which a person forgets is affected by various factors, including memory strength, how engaging the content is, and physiological factors such as stress.

Memory is essential for complex cognitive tasks such as applying knowledge to new tasks and drawing inferences from previously known details or facts. You will gain additional layers of understanding in the new topic by figuring out how to align new knowledge with previous experience. This will allow you to learn and retain information more quickly. Therefore, if memory is essential to learning, then accelerated learning, in theory, should help us to learn more effectively as the information is fresh in our minds. There is less time to forget, given that we have fewer breaks.

Conclusion

Consider your current situation and try to find the best fit when selecting an accelerated degree program. Following this list, it should be clear that not all accelerated programs are created equal. Whether you are looking for a bachelor’s or master’s degree, it is critical to find a program that fits your lifestyle and goals. When deciding whether an accelerated bachelor’s degree is right for you, weigh the potential benefits against the requirements. Examine the online bachelor’s degree programs offered by reputable colleges and universities as part of your research.

With the same number of tuition hours for lower fees, it is difficult to see the disadvantage of accelerated degrees. They allow graduates to enter the labor force more quickly, assisting with the skills shortage and student loan repayment. A shorter degree may also encourage mature students to take a career break to finish their studies and increase their employability.

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