Tips for Earning Your Degree Faster
While most people may want to get a degree fast, many don't realize what that entails. Many students are busy juggling a full-time job with their family life, daily errands, and social activities. With so many obligations, it's easy to see why it can be difficult to graduate quickly — but it doesn't have to be that way. Here are some tips to keep for fitting school into your busy schedule.
- Plan Ahead: Whether you're juggling work, family, social obligations or school, the key to be an effective planning. At the beginning of each session, look through your course schedules for important deadlines and make note of them. Consider your other obligations and how you can squeeze in enough time for your classes. This might mean dedicating some time to school each morning before work or each evening before bed, or even taking a rain check on certain social situations.
- Share Your Schedule: Planning time for schoolwork can be even more effective if your friends and family are aware of your study schedule. Sign up for an online calendar and send the URL to your friends and loved ones so they know when you need time to yourself.
- Take Classes Online: Online classes allow you to take classes wherever you have access to the internet, whenever you have time — rather than having to be in class at a rigid time several days per week. Being an online student means you can squeeze in courses in the nooks and crannies of your schedule.
- Minimize Distractions: Studying is hard enough in the face of life's obligations — don't make it more difficult by surrounding yourself with distractions. Find a quiet, secluded place to focus on the task at hand — stay away from television, turn off your phone, and resist the urge to check up on any social networks. Make sure you use your study time to enhance your grasp of the material.
- Get Enough Sleep: In the face of a busy schedule, you shouldn't let adequate sleep fall by the wayside. While it may be tempting to add a few more hours to the day, you may end up doing more harm than good — there are studies that indicate that sleep deprivation can lead to an "increased risk of academic failure" and "compromised learning," among other consequences.1
- Test Out of Certain Classes: Taking tests about things you already know can help you leapfrog over classes that might ultimately be redundant to you. Colorado Technical University's Fast Track program was designed with this very thought in mind — by passing a test, you can earn proficiency credit instead of taking a class, which can bring you one step closer to your goal of a college degree.2
- Get College Credit for Real-World Experience: CTU allows you to earn college credit for certain kinds of work experience. Certain kinds of non-academic experience — including professional training or certifications — may enable you to receive college credits for the knowledge and experience you already possess.
The Most Important Tip: Don't Give Up
Effective time management, planning, and earning credit for past work can all help you get a degree fast, but the backbone of a successful collegiate career will be your determination to see it through. Earning a degree takes perseverance and dedication, so stay positive, stay motivated and your diploma will be in your hand before you know it.
Learn more about how to balance school and work.
1National Center for Biotechnology Information, Causes and Consequences of Sleepiness Among College Students, viewed on the internet at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4075951/ (February 15, 2016)
2Colorado Technical University, CTU Fast Track, viewed on the internet at http://www.coloradotech.edu/admissions/prior-learning-assessment/fast-track (February 15, 2016)