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How Fast Can You Graduate College

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Why Choose An Accelerated Degree Program

Graduated In 3 Years?! How To Graduate College Fast

An accelerated online degree works for students who want to finish their degree quickly. These programs offer a faster path to a college degree, especially for learners with previous college credits. An accelerated program can also save students money.

Before doing an online accelerated degree, applicants should think about if they can make enough time for it. Working professionals and busy students may struggle to keep up with the fast pace and heavy course load. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

The Right Attitudeand Graduating With Pride

From day one in college, you have to focus on graduating on time. Once you firmly set that single, crucial goal for yourself, it leads you to other goals: studying and succeeding in each course, for example. And once youve become more confident academically, you become more focused, more determined to set and achieve even more goals One goal creates another, and all transform you into a first-class student with great options for your future.

So why do so many students take five, six, and even more years to earn their degree? What dont they understand? From my experience, here are four of the major mistakes that prevent students from graduating on time.

How Much Should You Invest

If you’re looking to start investing after college, a common question is “how much should I invest”. The answer for this question is both easy and hard.

The easy answer is simple: you should save until it hurts. This has been one of my key strategies and I like to call it front loading your life. The basics of it are you should do as much as possible early on, so that you can coast later in life. But if you save until it hurts, that “later” might be your 30s.

So what does “save until it hurts” mean? It means a few things:

  • First, you should make saving and investing mandatory. The money you want to invest goes into the account before anything else. Your employer already does this with your 401k, so do it with an IRA too.
  • Second, challenge yourself to save at least $100 more beyond what you’re currently doing – make it hurt.
  • Third, work towards either budgeting to achieve that extra $100, or start side hustling and earning extra income to achieve that extra $100.

Here are some goals for you:

  • Max Out Your IRA Contribution: $5,500 per year, or $458.33 per month
  • Max Out Your 401k Contribution: $18,000 per year, or $1,500 per month
  • Max Out Your HSA : $3,350 for single per year, or $6,750 per family per year
  • If you side hustle to earn extra income, max our your SEP IRA or Solo 401k

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Max Out Your Course Credits Each Semester

Taking a full course load all year with summers off means graduating in about four years. To graduate early, you’ll need to take more credits during the school year and/or enroll in classes over the summer. It’s important to keep your grades from suffering, so try to spread out your course load as much as possible, with night classes and summer courses.

Most colleges limit the number of credits students can take per term to 15, 18, or 20 credits, depending on the school and whether it uses the quarter or semester system. In some cases, colleges will make special exceptions. Just keep in mind that some colleges charge extra fees for taking additional credits.

Who Should Consider Graduating Early

Awesome Graduation Gifts You Can Make At Home

Graduating college early isnt for everybody. But if money is a huge concern for you or you know exactly what you want to do in your life career-wise, you should at least consider it. In this case, graduating early can save you both time and money that can be better utilized elsewhere.

If youre the rare student who isnt challenged by your college course load and is rather bored with everything, graduating college early is something that you should consider too. Time is going to pass the same way regardless of what you do. So the question is what do you want to do with that time? It may be best to graduate early and take the money and time saved to start a business, go into the workforce, continue learning on your own via online courses, go to graduate school or a whole host of other possibilities.

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Take Classes During Summer And Winter

Many universities offer seasonal courses between the semesters, that can also bring more credits to you and help you graduate early. Sometimes, these courses are free, or you need to pay a symbolic amount of money, but the knowledge you get there is valuable and useful.

Also, online courses can help you a lot. You can choose between the options your college offers, but many schools allow the students to take some of the classes at home and then to show up on an exam.

How To Start Investing After College

There are thousands of financial products and services out there, and we believe in helping you understand which is best for you, how it works, and will it actually help you achieve your financial goals. We’re proud of our content and guidance, and the information we provide is objective, independent, and free.

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For more information and a complete list of our advertising partners, please check out our full Advertising Disclosure. strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. The information in our reviews could be different from what you find when visiting a financial institution, service provider or a specific product’s website. All products and services are presented without warranty.

For 20-somethings, investing is important and you know it. In your 20s, time is on your side, and the more you save and invest now, the better off you’ll be later.

Be sure to check out the other articles in this series:

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Earn College Credit In High School

Minnesota students may be eligible to take classes at a college or university as a high school junior or senior through the Postsecondary Enrollment Options program. If you want to do this, careful planning in ninth and tenth grade is important. Your high school may participate in Advanced Placement, College in the Schools or International Baccalaureate which allows you to earn both high school and possibly college credit.

Learn More.

Investment Allocations In Your 20s

How to Graduate College Early – Tips to Get a College Degree FAST

This is one of the toughest parts of getting started investing – actually choosing what to invest in. It’s not actually tough, but it’s what scares people the most. Nobody wants to “mess up” and choose bad investments.

That’s why we believe in building a diversified portfolio of ETFs that match your risk tolerance and goals. Asset allocation simply means this: allocating your investment money is a defined approach to match your risk and goals.

At the same time, your asset allocation should be easy to understand, low cost, and easy to maintain.

We really like the Boglehead’s Lazy Portfolios, and here are our three favorites depending on what you’re looking for. And while we give some examples of ETFs that may work in the fund, look at what commission free ETFs you might have access to that offer similar investments at low cost.

You can quickly and easily create these portfolios at M1 Finance for free.

Conservative Long Term Investor

If you’re a conservative long-term investor, who doesn’t want to deal with much in your investment life, check out this simple 2 ETF portfolio.

% Allocation


Things To Remember About Asset Allocation

As you invest your portfolio, remember that prices will always be changing. You don’t have to be perfect on these percentages – aim for within 5% of each one. However, you do need to make sure that you’re monitoring these investments and rebalancing them at least once a year.

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Finishing College In Three Years

So, you have loaded up on AP courses and taken a few CLEP exams, and now you are ready to start mapping out your three years in school. To understand the best way to set up your schedule, lets first look at what you need to know about college schedules. Then, we will run through a hypothetical scenario to see how it is possible to graduate in three years.

Should You Graduate High School Early

You know how you can plan to graduate from high school earlybut should you actually do it?

The main way to decide this is to think about what you’ll do during the time you’d normally be in high school. If you have a great opportunity you’d like to take advantage of, such as an internship, a travel experience, college classes, or something similar, graduating high school might be a good idea.

However, if you plan to spend your time mostly watching TV or maybe working a few hours a week, it’s probably in your best interest to graduate when you normally would.

Next, go through all the steps above. Is it possible for you to graduate early while also taking all the classes you need to and would like to without stretching yourself too thin? If you’ve found answers to both of the above considerations, graduating high school early might be something for you to start planning.

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I Took College Classes In High School

When I was in my senior year, almost all of my classes were classes where I was earning college credit. I took AP classes and classes that earned me college credit from nearby private universities . I believe I left high school with 14 credit hours . This way I knocked out a whole semester of college.

Also, these classes were cheap. I believe it was around $100 per credit hour instead of the normal cost which was anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per credit hour.

My senior year in high school was a breeze even though I was taking so many college classes. I could have taken even more but I had early release each day from school and got out 3 hours early so that I could go to work instead. So, I had plenty of time to work, go to school, and earn college credits.

I Took Classes One Summer

Can you fast track your future through a one

I regret not doing this more often. I did go to college in the summer time one semester though. I took 12 credit hours and even had to beg the Dean at the college for permission, but he still allowed it. The classes were easy and I had no problem doing this.

I also was able to save money because I took these summer college classes at a community college. I believe it was around $1,500 for all 12 credit hours, which is a steal!

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Extension Classes And Advanced Placements

One way to finish college in two years is to take advantage of every semester, including the summer. Take the maximum number of courses you’re allowed during the summer, fall and winter terms. Don’t forget about night classes. Some schools allow you to take advanced-placement courses while you’re still in high school, which give you college credits in advance. Talk to your high school guidance counselor for information on advanced placements.

Does My Current Or Past School Have A Credit Transfer Agreement With University Of Phoenix

We have hundreds of agreements with two-year institutions that enable you to take the eligible credits youve earned and apply them to a degree program. This transfer process allows you to potentially satisfy degree requirement and graduate in less time. See if your college has a credit-transfer agreement with University of Phoenix.

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Get College Credit For What You Already Know

The credit-granting policies vary widely by university, but its important to point out that accredited universities dont just hand out college credits in exchange for a copy of your resume. To maintain academic quality and integrity, universities generally follow guidelines outlined by the American Council on Education .

With this in mind, some of the types of experience that may qualify include:

  • ACE accredited corporate courses
  • Basic Law Enforcement and Corrections Training
  • Military Service & Training
  • Fire & Rescue Training Institute for the Associate in Science in Fire Service Administration
  • Pilots License
  • RN and LPN certification
  • PMP
  • Various types of professional licenses

Even if your experience is not listed here, that doesnt mean your prior learning isnt applicable to your degree. Reach out to a college advisor and ask them about their prior learning assessment program to see if you qualify.

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Related Programs That Might Interest You

How to Graduate College Early | 6 Ways to Hack College

Degree: Associate of General Studies

Time to complete: 11 months

Cost: $8,973


Ivy Tech Community College is a leading institution that offers an Associate of General Studies program in an online, accelerated format. The four-semester, 60 credit curriculum covers topics such as communications, public speaking, mathematics, biology, chemistry, art, psychology, and so much more. Ivy Tech is also renowned for its virtual accessibility and flexible transfer policies. Although the coursework is relatively rigorous, the outcome is infinitely rewarding.

Purdue Global University

Degree: Associate of Applied Science in Fire Science

Time to complete: 12 months

Cost: $371 per credit


Herzing University

Degree: Associate of Healthcare Administration

Time to complete: 16 months

Cost: $14,200


Florida State College at Jacksonville

Degree: Associate in Arts

Time to complete: 18 months

Cost: $6,293


Florida Institute of Technology

Degree: Associate of Arts Degree in Accounting

Time to complete: 20 months

Cost: $32,640


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Mistake #: Taking A Lackadaisical Approach Toward Majors

As a college freshman, you may not know exactly what kind of career path you want to follow. Thats okay. College is a time of looking, talking, and discovering. But you still have to have an academic plan, and you should start formulating that plan as soon as possible. There are a lot of majors, and you should investigate them. Talk to other students, teachers, and even professionals in fields that interest you take exploratory classeswhile making sure you take care of your prerequisite and required courses and join clubs and pursue work opportunities that will expose you to your major options.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make? Going into the game with zero defined interests. Its that high school attitude creeping in again: Oh, itll come together sooner or later. In college that attitude pushes you further away from a degree. Once you decide on a major, youll know which courses are required and you can begin taking them sooner, not later. If you start college undecided, try to narrow your focus to a handful of majors that interest you, and hedge your bets by taking classes that can work toward multiple degrees. While its good to explore your academic options, choosing a major at the 11th hour might leave you scrambling to make up the required courseswhich will almost certainly delay an on-time graduation.

Mistake #: Not Taking College Seriously

Too many college freshmen continue to act like high school students and think like teenagers. Its a mindset they carry throughout college. They study very little. Instead, they cram for tests and then blame teachers and bad luck for low grades. They generally maintain the attitude that school is something to get through as easily and painlessly as possible. They just dont want to believe that college is different, more demanding, requiring more work and independent study.

This attitude just wont cut it in college where being careless and casual means being left behind. So if you dont take college seriously right away, your education will continue to move beyond your grasp until it is simply out of sight. Therefore, not acting like a college student is mistake number one.

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Can You Get A Bachelor Degree In 12 Months Online

There arent any accredited colleges promising that you can quickly get your bachelor degree in 12 months, but that doesnt mean you have to take 4 years to finish your online degree either.

If you have existing college credits, you can transfer them to a university that offers fast online classes . You can also apply to get college credit for your work, military, or life experience that meets the universitys standards.

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Not all online schools offer this faster degree option, but a growing number do through a program generally referred to as credit for prior learning.

Finally, you can get a lot closer to the 12 month bachelor degree you were hoping for if you take CLEP exams, accepted by over 2,000 universities nationwide. These are low-cost, multiple choice exams that award college credit.

This can help you get college credit for a course without actually having to take it. This is a great time-saver when you are looking for fast college degrees so you can finish your degree quickly online.

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