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What Are the Different Types of Accelerated College Degrees?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 09 February 2019
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Different types of accelerated college degrees include degrees intended for adult students, programs that allow students to complete college-level courses while in high school or programs that allow students to take courses year-round. Some students have also been able to accelerate their degrees by passing equivalency exams and effectively "testing out" of required college level courses. Some schools openly advertise that they offer accelerated college degrees while others simply make program acceleration options available to their students.

The average amount of time that it takes a student to complete a college or university degree varies by region as well as the type of degree that a student wishes to complete. For example, in the United States, a bachelor's degree typically takes four years of full-time study to complete, on the presumption that the student will take summers off from school and resume his studies in the fall. Some students can earn accelerated college degrees by simply attending summer school, increasing the number of courses he takes every semester, or both.

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Some schools may also offer scheduling formats that make it easy for students to complete their degrees more quickly. For example, many universities may offer several summer school sessions, allowing students to complete several courses over summer "break", while others may simply not offer a summer break, but continue to offer a full schedule throughout the year. In addition, schools may also offer a "winter break" term, which allows students to take a course over an "intensive" schedule: Three hours per day, five days per week per class is one typical schedule, allowing a student to complete a full course in a matter of two to three weeks.

Another option for pursuing accelerated college degrees is taking college-level coursework while in secondary school. In some places, academically talented students have the option of completing college courses while still in high school. They can then apply these courses, often taught at a slower pace, to a college degree program. Another option for some students is to take an exam covering the subject matter in standard college courses. If a student passes these exams, they can earn college credit.

Adult students who pursue an undergraduate degree can, in many places, apply life and work experience to their degree programs. This is because many schools recognize that adults may have significant knowledge that a younger student may not have yet been able to acquire. Schools that have adult learning programs may grant older students college credit for life and work accomplishments, thus accelerating their degree program.

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