No Time for School? 6 Ways to Earn a Degree Around Your Schedule

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Getting a college education can provide you more income, greater opportunities, marketable skills and more, but finding the time to work, spend time with family and friends, and attend school can often be difficult. Successfully doing so is one of life’s biggest balancing acts, but it can also be extremely rewarding. Completing graduation has become a rather controversial issue over the past few years, due largely in part to the rising costs of higher education. More and more students are graduating with degrees and debt from student loans, only to discover that there’s no work for them in the struggling world economy. So is putting all the time and effort into a degree really worth it? Well, it is a statistical fact that college grads make more money over the course of their lives, so if money is a big motivator for you, then yes, it's definitely worth it – even if you have to work it around your busy schedule. Here are six ways to earn a degree around your schedule that you can start on today.


1. 3+1 Programs
Student Jumping in Excitement


Twenty-one states now allow students to earn their bachelor’s at a junior college. Three years of study comprise general and major requirements at the community colleges. The fourth year, instructors from partner universities come across there to teach courses required for the major. This is a good option as they generally tend to have a higher selection of night-time classes, as well as classes at other times of the day when private universities may not want to teach. Also, it holds a huge advantage of being much cheaper than private universities.

2. DIY Degree


Degree-by-examination is gutsy, but flexible and doable. Study guides or life experiences can prepare you for obtaining credit/units by passing exams for different subject areas. Over 1,900 universities grant academic credit based on obtaining passing scores on the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST). All this really entails is taking the time to go to a school and take a test. If you pass, you receive credit for the course and therefore credit towards your college. Testing out of classes and receiving credit is by far the fastest way to graduate, and it can noticeably speed up the process of getting that ever-important diploma.


3. Distance Learning


Students enrolled into online bachelor's degree programs can receive/submit assignments; have group discussions, communicate with their instructor, and more, all in the comfort of their home, office or even at the beach.

Many schools offer online bachelor’s programs in popular majors, such as nursing, criminal justice and elementary education. Taking a summer course with a flex schedule of a four-seven week timeline is an option in disciplines such as the Utah State online bachelor’s programs.

4. Portfolio Assessment


College credit for job related experience or training; volunteer service; travel; or knowledge gained through life experiences can be part of a portfolio assessment that is documented by what has been learned.

5. Alternative Academic Programs


Also known as, non-traditional schools, they allow students to be in charge, making up their own certification by creating their own portfolio of experiences or learning. This type of learning can be done at the student's pace.

6. Employer/Employee Partnership


If your university curriculum is related to or can benefit your career experience, your employer may allow you to study during working hours.


Regardless which option you may choose as you maneuver your way around the ‘way to get a degree maze,’ it’s important to take time to reflect. Whether you're at the beginning, the middle or near the end of your journey to pursue career goals, the easiest, fastest way using the least amount of money can help you reach your destination, even sooner than you imagined.

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