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If you once took some college credit courses, but had to interrupt your studies due to financial issues or other life responsibilities, you’re not alone. Colleges and universities have created a vast number of degree completion programs to help adults like get full college degree. You can also find a wide range of accelerated programs and schools with liberal credit transfer policies for to help an adult toward degree completion.
Online colleges have put a particularly strong focus on adult learners, who don’t have time to travel to classroom lectures. They’ve developed degree completion programs online that offer scheduling flexibility and that can save you a great deal of money but allowing you to avoid spending time and money on classes you may already have taken in the past, or have gained expertise on in the workplace. If you prefer classroom study however, you may be able to find schools in your locality that also have completion programs in campus-based formats.
Adult Learner Advantage
Some adult learners apply just a few old credits toward a baccalaureate degree completion program. But if you take time to learn about your options, you may find you can apply a large block of credits toward a degree. You certainly shouldn’t feel that the time you spent in school in the past was wasted – several studies have shown that older students who start an online or campus-based degree program with some previously earned credits actually complete their degrees at a higher rate than students who start from scratch, straight out of high school.
This site is designed to help you to find the right program to finish your degree. It can be tricky finding an online degree completion program that matches your needs. Some of the best options come from schools that don’t even advertise a “completion program” per se. You’ll probably find that any college or university that has a real focus on adult learners will let you transfer credits in from a different school. Some very well-known colleges currently accept up to 90 transfer credits toward a 120 credit degree bachelor degree, which could save you many thousands of dollars on your tuition.
Standard Degree Completion Programs
While there are associate degree completion programs, most are at the bachelor’s degree level. Schools that an official “bachelor degree completion program” usually accept only students who already have a full associate’s degree. The majority of schools that actually list “completion programs” in their catalogs do them in very career oriented specialties like business or criminal justice. Nursing is probably the top category for online degree completion programs. So-called “RN to BSN” programs are widely accepted by employers and can have an immediate and positive effect on a nurse’s earnings. Virtually all these completion programs last two years if you study at a normal pace.
If, however, you don’t have an associate’s degree, it’s quite possible to create, in effect, your own completion program by figuring how how many of your old credits you can transfer into your new school. Read more about how to successfully transfer credits here.
Among the ins and outs to be aware of: some schools will only let you use previously earned credits toward the “general education” or elective part of your degree program, but not toward your “core” credit requirements. Most schools also require that you have received a minimum grade of a C or in some cases a B in any course you wish to transfer credits from. And finally, it’s common for a college to accept transfer credits only from schools that have accreditation from particular organizations. Accreditation is a very important issue to be aware of, both for transferring credits and in looking for a job after you graduate.
It pays to learn the rules in the particular subject area where you are pursuing and adult degree completion program. Nursing and criminal justice schools, for example, may grant you a large block of credit for real world experience you have obtained through work. Don’t worry if it’s been a long time since you got your first college credits. Many of the degree completion programs given online take in students who are in their 40’s or 50’s and haven’t been to school in decades. If you have a clear picture of what your career goal is, a full degree can be a step worth taking.