Taking an accelerated bachelor’s degree online that is accredited by a reputable organization is one of the best ways to earn your degree and enter the workforce quickly and efficiently. In addition to saving you time and money, accelerated programs can help you earn your bachelor’s degree in a shorter amount of time.
In addition to this, taking courses online can serve as an excellent method of participating in college and university academic programs from a distance. If you have access to the internet, you can access online programs anywhere. This means you can attend classes in the comfort of your home or at a nearby coffee shop. The cost of transportation is also minimized when students take courses online.
However, it doesn’t mean these programs are right for everyone. They can be intense, packing a full term of material into a few short weeks. In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons so you can decide whether an accelerated bachelor’s degree online program is right for you.
Why You Should Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
A bachelor’s degree can open the door to increased salary, lower unemployment rates, and higher job satisfaction. According to the government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2021, individuals with a bachelor’s degree earned an average of $426 more a week than those with just a high school diploma and $371 more than those with an associate’s degree. In addition, the unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s was a low 3.5 percent, while for high school graduates, it is a much higher 6.2 percent.
Jobs open to those with a bachelor’s degree may also be more likely to offer opportunities for promotion compared to those available for persons who only have a high school diploma. As a result, you will have more opportunities to advance in your career and attain higher levels of responsibility and compensation. Certain fields, like teaching, require that individuals have a bachelor’s degree in order to obtain the professional credentials they need to be considered for positions.
Pros and Cons of Earning Your Degree Online
Earning your degree online has both pros and cons. On the plus side, you have the increased flexibility to attend classes wherever you have an internet connection. Attending classes from the comfort of your living room or office, maybe with a cup of coffee next to you, is an appealing idea. It will also save money since you do not have to travel to school several times a week.
There are many online courses that are offered asynchronously or on demand, which means you can choose a class time that is convenient for you. For example, if you have small children, you can log in and attend course sessions late at night after the children are asleep or in the early morning. It’s important to remember, however, that these types of classes require strong time management skills and self-discipline, as students must hold themselves accountable for completing work and meeting deadlines.
Another plus? You can save money on college fees since you will be attending for less time. If your institution has charges that are by the term or by the year, yours will be lower since you are attending college for only a few years (or less) rather than four or more.
There are some drawbacks to earning your degree online, however. If you wish for a “classic” college experience, with lots of personal interaction both in and out of the classroom with your peers and professors, it may not be the best option for you. You probably won’t have the chance to build as many happy memories of your carefree college years when you’re studying online.
Although you should still have some access to your professors, if you have questions or issues, it may not be as seamless as it would be if you were there in person in the classroom. Your professor will likely have online office hours and will be available via email or Zoom if required, but it may be more challenging to build a relationship with them.
Some online programs require you to attend in-person sessions at the beginning of your program or regular intervals throughout, and this can be a challenge if a local college does not sponsor your program. You may also have additional challenges if you need to set up an in-person internship or other practical learning situations, such as student teaching.
Technology can also be a struggle for some students. Having a working computer and reliable internet access is the minimum for attending an online program. However, unforeseen technical issues like equipment malfunctions or internet disruptions due to weather or power can create obstacles to attending classes and completing assignments on time. While most online programs have tech support on standby, it will most likely require more work on your end to fix a problem compared to handing your equipment to another person to fix.
Pros and Cons of Accelerated Degree Programs
An accelerated degree program works by fitting the information you need to learn into longer, more intense class sessions held over a shorter period than traditional programs. Accelerated programs can be held in person or online, allowing you to earn your bachelor’s degree in less than the usual four years it traditionally takes.
There are some obvious benefits to this process. You can earn your degree more quickly and enter the workforce in less time than traditional students. This is especially appealing to adult learners who may have other professional or personal responsibilities and just want to take care of their degree quickly and move on to potentially more lucrative jobs with their new diploma. An accelerated degree may save money on college fees or tuition.
But taking an accelerated program means working harder in the short term. This can be challenging for those who are already in the workforce or have family commitments. It can be difficult to stay on top of the more intense course load and complete assignments and tests promptly. The challenges may seem impossible for a student who is not motivated and focused on success.
Programs take less time than traditional higher ed
Increased flexibility with online classes available asynchronously
Enter the workforce more quickly than traditional students
Increased time commitment may be difficult
Intense courses can be stressful
Less opportunity to connect with other students or professors
Top Accelerated Online Bachelor’s Programs
Although more colleges and universities offer accelerated online bachelor’s programs, a few that excel at this type of study. They are well-suited for meeting the needs of students who wish to study in online accelerated programs. Here are a few that we recommend:
- Campbellsville University: a Christian university that has online bachelor’s programs in education, ministry, business, and more.
- Northeastern University: its bachelor’s degree online programs are especially strong in business, focusing on areas such as analytics, management, and accounting.
- Indiana Wesleyan University: offers a unique free trial period for prospective students who wish to try out the university’s virtual learning platform and resources before they commit.
- Utica University: has a solid program in cybersecurity for those interested in this growing field.
- Western Governors University: WGU is known for its online education programs, including a bachelor of arts in educational studies.
- Southern New Hampshire University: has made a name for itself with its numerous online programs, including those in the creative arts such as graphic design, writing, and more.
- Brescia University: its degree programs in psychology, social work, and the social sciences are well-regarded.
- City University of Seattle: it offers strong business programs with low tuition.
Are Accelerated Online Bachelor’s Programs Right for You?
Accelerated online bachelor’s programs make sense for students who are motivated and eager to finish their degree and have the time to spend on classwork and homework for these intensive programs. With an accelerated online program, you can take courses in a convenient location, often at times that work best for you. They are especially appealing if you already have some credits that will transfer over, either from an associate degree or military or work experience.
An accelerated program is a good choice if you wish to save money, and online courses mean you won’t be spending money on gas or public transportation. If you’re pinching pennies, that can be a real benefit.
If your time is limited, on the other hand, think before you sign up for an accelerated online program. This is especially true if you work full-time and/or have family commitments, such as young children at home. Carving out the necessary time for your program could be a problem in this case, and you’ll want to do everything in your power to ensure that you have significant blocks of time to spend on your program.