What is the Fastest Way to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree?

How fast can I earn a bachelor's degree?

In a conventional school setting, it takes four years of full-time study to earn a bachelor's degree. By pursuing an accelerated online degree you can cut that time down to as little as 16 months, depending on your course of study.

Top 5 Fastest Online Degree Programs

  • Computer Information Systems.
  • Accounting.
  • Management.
  • History.
  • Product Management.

What is the Fastest Way to Earn a Bachelor's Degree?

  1. Take a Self-Paced College Course. Not sure how you can can fit in earning your bachelor's degree in your busy life?
  2. Improve Your Writing and Math Skills.
  3. Create an Accelerated Degree Plan for Your Degree Program.

Is an online bachelor's degree worth anything?

Although students might worry that their degree will be discounted because it was earned online, for many employers, this is not the case. As long as the college awarding the degree was a legitimate one, the degree is just as valid as one which may have been earned through traditional learning.

How can I get my bachelor's degree in 1 year?

You can't if you're doing it the normal way.

A bachelor’s degree is a four-year academic program.

What’s the fastest you can complete an entire bachelor’s degree, in theory?

  • You could get a head start on your bachelor’s degree by taking a ton of AP classes and acing all of the tests. In theory, you could earn enough academic credit to test out of your entire freshman year.
    • Your subtotal at college entrance = 30 units.
  • You could take unit overloads each semester and attend summer school each year. Instead of completing 30 units in a single academic year (15 units in each of two semesters), you would complete 48 units (18 fall + 18 spring + 6 summer session I + 6 summer session II).
    • Your subtotal after 1 year = 78 units.
    • Your subtotal after 2 years = 126 units.

In theory, you could do it in two years. How realistic is the plan I’ve laid out? Not realistic at all.

  • You would have to attend a college that is willing to let you test out of an entire year of undergraduate studies.
  • You would have to ace every AP exam.
  • You would have to be able to get into every class you needed to take, at the time you needed to take it.
  • You would have to major in a subject that doesn’t require you to take any courses that have a lot of prerequisites.
    • Example: Let’s suppose that French I is a prerequisite for French II, which is a prerequisite for French III, which is a prerequisite for French IV, and French IV is a prerequisite for four separate literature classes that are required by your major. Even if you test out of French I, you cannot possibly complete everything else in only four regular semesters.

I’ve known people who completed their bachelor’s degrees in only three years; I did it myself. But expecting to earn a four-year degree in a shorter period of time than that is not realistic.

And if you think you can do that with online colleges and/or universities, you still can't. The material is simply too large.

Take a Self-Paced College Course

If time and money didn’t matter, enrolling in college wouldn’t be cause for scheduling concerns or financial stress. You could simply enroll in a degree program, pay list price for the courses you need, take as much time as you want, and never look back. There would be no fear of student debt and no missed opportunities because of scheduling issues and conflicts.

But in the real world, time and affordability do matter -- and scheduling school and work can be a challenge to many students. Fortunately, with today’s Education online learning environment, you have several ways to earn your bachelor’s degree at an accelerated rate.

Here are 3 tips for earning your bachelor’s degree faster -- and at a lower cost:

Take a Self-Paced College Course

Not sure how you can can fit in earning your bachelor’s degree in your busy life? Need to complete a prerequisite before your degree program start date? Consider enrolling in a self-paced online course. A self-paced course allows you to set your pace and determine when and where you study. A self-paced course enables you to go as fast or as slow as you want and take exams on your timetable. An added bonus of taking a self-paced course online, is that you can take exams in the comfort of your own home anywhere, anytime.

StraighterLine offers 60+ self-paced general education college courses online, in subjects such as:

  • Business
  • English
  • Health Science
  • Humanities
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Languages
  • Technology
  • Social Science

Improve Your Writing and Math Skills

You can also accelerate your college degree by taking a series of writing, business, and math courses that focus on the skills you need for success in your current job but also prepare you for academic achievement as well as earn college credit in advance of enrollment. No matter which degree program you choose, there exists a common set of general education courses, courses such as English Comp or College Algebra, that are required for most majors -- and you can complete these prior to enrollment in order to get a jump start on your degree.

In order to make the best use of your time, map out how (and if) these courses can fit into a degree plan upon completion. By planning ahead, you can work on skills that will help you in your current job while earning credit that can transfer into a degree program when you are ready. For many students, including adult learners, it’s taking that first step, that first class that is often the hardest. Fortunately, many students are pleased to learn that online learning makes it easy to take that first step back because it provides a low-risk (and low-cost) entry point back to school, and is often flexible enough to accommodate busy lives.

Create an Accelerated Degree Plan for Your Degree Program


Online self-paced courses make it easy to study on your own terms in order to complete your degree within your degree completion timeline, but “developing a detailed degree plan to maximize your credits is essential so you don’t waste any time or credits” says students who’ve been successful earning their degree faster than average.

For example, degree acceleration was the preferred path by StraighterLine students Deirdre Henderson, Jason Ransom, and Calvin Duker. Deidre earned her degree in 3 years from Strayer University, Jason earned 90 college credits in under 6 months and successfully transferred them to Thomas Edison State University, and Calvin completed his business management degree at a pace that also worked with his family life. Each of these students were able to move forward with their career goals without putting a strain on their current jobs or financial futures.

According to Calvin, earning a degree at a faster rate is possible! He says, “with StraighterLine, I paid significantly less per course and completed my courses at an accelerated rate. Before StraighterLine, I was on track to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in 2018; instead, I finished my degree in 2017.”

With online learning students have hundreds of colleges to choose from, many offering flexible degree options that will allow you to accelerate the completion of your degree. If you are looking earn your degree as fast possible, enrolling in self-paced courses and flexible online or degree programs may just be the fastest way for you to reach your higher education and career goals.

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