A Fast College Degree Program Requires You to Choose a School With the Right Structure

Getting a degree fast encompasses many elements: some of which you can control, and some of which you cannot. Whether or not you can pursue college credit quickly will depend on how much time your normal classes require of you. If you have to juggle too much work, you will be overwhelmed with your course load alone, and you may go bananas. For this reason, the school you choose is an essential element of determining the speed at which you can achieve your degree, and the class structure they offer is a main prerequisite. Let’s look at my early experience in college to gain perspective regarding this.
There is a psychological aspect about school that kept me from going back for over twenty years. When I just got out of high school, I felt I could do it all. I had a full-time job and thought I could handle a full schedule in college as well. As we all know, the standard college schedule is a Fall and Summer semester with Fall classes beginning in September and ending in December. I enrolled in four classes and burned myself out within a few months. Given, the classes I took were all difficult, I could barely handle two. I dropped one class early on, and then another one late in the semester. It felt disgraceful. It made me realize the horrible truth: if I could only handle two courses at a time, I was going to be in school for the next ten years.
Worse yet, I watched my friends who chose not to go straight into college enjoying themselves in life while I struggled terribly. I finished out the semester and gave up on school. I was making enough money anyway; more than my friends did. I decided I did not need school after all. Over the years, I had to put the shallowness of this viewpoint out of my mind as I watched myself get passed over, time after time, for promotions. I was not even considered. Twenty years later, I was still doing the same job. By then, a number of my acquaintances were near the top in the management ranks of many different companies. While I had accomplished a lot in my life–in many ways much more than they did–I still felt like a nobody.
The bad economy brought me back to school, but what held me this time was the structure of the school itself. Whereas most schools have a semester length of sixteen weeks, the school I enrolled in had a condensed program with classes that lasted only eight weeks. It enabled me to take two classes at the beginning of the semester, then two more at the midpoint of the semester. I was enrolled full time, but only had to juggle two classes instead of four. With the condensed format, I could concentrate on just two subjects, which was much less stressful and much easier to coordinate. Any time I had left over was easier to identify and set aside for the pursuit of other means of gaining credit. Also, I consistently remained more relaxed and ready to learn something new.
While the net result of my in-class time was 12 credits, the same as in a classical sixteen week format, the psychological weight of it was significantly reduced. I was able to finish my coursework with little stress and had the free time to find other ways to gain credit. Another unexpected benefit of this was that I could spread out the cost of books and supplies across each semester.
If you want to get on the fast track to a college degree, then the stress level your school imposes through its class structure will play a big part in whether or not you can handle any extracurricular credit-seeking activity. This factor lays the foundation for a high-speed degree program, or undermines it. If all that your school offers is the classical approach, I would consider switching to a more up-to-date, dynamic, and student-centered school.

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