It’s hard to argue that the cost of higher education isn’t exorbitant. After all, most families don’t have a spare $40,000 or so laying around every year for tuition and other college-related expenses. And while there are many amazing life advantages that come with getting undergraduate and advanced degrees, it’s also true that there are ways to cut costs without losing out on those benefits.
One lesser-known pathway worth exploring for students looking to save both time and money? An accelerated degree. Here’s a closer look at this alternative to conventional degree programs, along with four reasons why an accelerated degree program — particularly one overseas — might be right for you.
What is an Accelerated Degree Program?
An accelerated degree program is exactly what it sounds like: this non-traditional course of study offers students the same degree in a particular field of study in a shortened period of time — as little as half when compared to conventional degrees. Available at a number of different academic levels, accelerated degree programs usually come with more stringent admissions requirements, including a minimum GPA, course credits, work experience, professional certification, and/or completion of a lower-level degree program.
In addition to bachelor’s degree programs, other popular accelerated degrees include nursing, business, law and medicine. For each, admissions requirements, course format, and completion time vary depending on the school. Additionally, many accelerated degree programs are dual in nature, meaning enrolled students can work simultaneously toward a bachelor’s and advanced degree. (This avenue may also allow accepted students to bypass graduate admissions tests, and the fees that go along with them.)
Four Reasons to Consider an Accelerated Degree
1. You’ll save time while learning as much.
While most conventional degree programs are structured according to semesters, accelerated degree programs typically utilize shorter periods, such as terms or quarters. Additionally, accelerated degree program courses usually run continuously without lengthy breaks in between terms. The result? Students can pack in the same amount of learning in a significantly shorter amount of time. Yes, this means the demands are high. But if your goal is to graduate and enter the workforce sooner, accelerated degree programs deliver in a uniquely exciting way.
2. You’ll enjoy numerous financial benefits.
It makes sense that the less time you spend in school, the less money you’ll spend on tuition. But how much will you pocket in an accelerated degree program? According to Investopedia, an undergraduate who trims six months off of his/her degree stands to save more than $15,000. Similar savings apply to upper-level degrees, as well.
Students enrolled in dual degree programs, meanwhile, may find that their undergraduate scholarship funding also covers their graduate level coursework.
But the financial benefits don’t end there. In entering the workforce with an accelerated degree, you minimize lost income and start earning soon — more likely than not with a lighter debt burden.
3. You’ll climb the ladder faster.
Not only does entering the workforce sooner mean you start earning earlier, but it also gives you an inside edge in today’s competitive job market. As Australia’s Bond University Director of International Student Recruitment Cheryl Jolliffe told US News & World Report, accelerated degree programs offer students a “career head start [that] puts them on a promotional fast track.” According to Jolliffe many graduates of accelerated degree programs go on to land high-ranking administrative positions and even coveted partnership status within a decade of graduating.
Think all of this sounds too good to be true? You’re right: There is a catch. By nature, accelerated degree programs are inherently challenging. Not only do most programs have rigorous admissions requirements, but the expectations remain intense throughout the length of the program. (After all, students do get the same education in half the time. Did you really think it would be easy?) Given all of the advantages of accelerated degree programs, difficulty level isn’t reason enough to stay away. However, it is reason enough to make sure you’re fully motivated, committed and focused before deciding to pursue an accelerated degree.