Life can get in the way of big plans and many people who start college do not finish their degrees. This is where degree completion programs come into play as they let you adequately fill the missing credits to a degree left on hold.
But what are degree completion programs, exactly? And are they the right fit for you? Whatever the reason may be for stopping your studies, finally getting your undergraduate degree is only a few steps away.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about degree completion programs, including the best schools to complete them.
What Are Degree Completion Programs?
Degree completion programs are options offered by schools that allow for the completion of college degrees. These specially-designed programs are for students who have started but not completed their four-year undergraduate degrees.
These programs operate by allowing students to transfer prior credits to a new or existing major at several schools. These credits don’t have a time limit, so there is no rush. These are more accelerated degree programs that eliminate huge financial burdens. This makes getting an undergraduate degree more appealing than starting all over.
Many completion programs transfer credits, helping you finish off a few semesters through online learning. This is a wonderful, comprehensive system. It can free up time in an already busy schedule to complete a degree previously left on hold.
Degree Completion Programs: Are They Right For You?
Degree completion programs are a reliable option if you’re looking to complete your education. These fantastic programs are also sometimes available for those who have completed only an associate degree, perfect for community college students who have just finished their two-year degree.
An adult learner who has a lifetime of useful experience, but never got around to earning a degree, is also the perfect candidate. It is beneficial for an adult learner with prior experience in any field to enroll in a degree completion program.
Using degree completion programs to polish off an undergraduate degree can help you climb to the top of the company ladder. On top of that, it can be an incredible accomplishment in life that can be a source of pride.
Degree Completion Programs: How to Apply
So, you have found a school with an online completion program. What’s next? You need to thoroughly examine the program offered by the school you are interested in. Make sure to keep the below factors in mind as they can make or break a completion program.
Does the School Offer your Major?
For starters, you need to make sure the degree completion program is what you are interested in. Did you previously study social science and want to complete that major? Degree completion programs don’t offer all majors, so make sure yours is available with the correct options. This will avoid confusion in terms of transferring credits.
Research a School’s Support Staff
A school with a reliable staff of advisors, counselors, and admission professionals can make your life a lot easier. Many regionally accredited schools have fantastic academic and career planning options. These services are complete with professionals who will help you transition into the career of your choice.
These advisors point you in the best direction possible. Talented career coaches can effectively transform a computer science or information technology degree into a fruitful career. Some choice examples are careers in web development, database administration, and even cybersecurity.
While some may not put this on the top of their list of priorities, it’s vital to your experience. Make sure to carefully explore this option if you feel these are crucial services to your success in a degree completion program.
Online, Hybrid, or On-Campus?
Next, see what the learning options are for the degree completion program. Courses that are synchronous, meaning professors and students interact in real-time, may be preferred over asynchronous, online course. It depends on your learning style and availability.
Degree completion program formats vary from school to school. A hybrid course, for example, holds in-person and online meeting times. If your schedule is bogged down already by prior commitments, choosing an online course may be in your best interest.
Does the School Accept Transfer Credits?
Most importantly, you need to determine if the school will accept your transfer credits. By transferring credits to a degree completion program, you trim a lot of the fat off a standard undergraduate degree. If you have finished many core courses offered by colleges and universities, you can bypass them by transferring your credits.
This gives you the freedom to jump right into your chosen program without wasting time on already-completed courses. It also fuels the entirety of the degree completion program.
Additionally, some schools will potentially offer school credits for proof of expertise in a specific subject. For example, you can come out ahead if you have a long career in technology. Having already mastered certain concepts can save you a lot of time.
The number of transfer credits depends entirely on the student’s previous experience. If many of your transfer credits apply, you could be completing a degree in no time. For example, if you already have 90 credits in liberal studies, you can transfer to a 120-credit degree. With only 30 credits hours left, you will only need a handful of classes to complete the degree.
Best Degree Completion Programs
Let’s now examine some of the most noteworthy, online degree completion programs in the United States.
The University of Florida
This university is an excellent choice for those exploring degree completion programs. They offer a selection of over 20 different majors. Some of its most popular options are criminology, computer science, and business administration.
To apply, you need a GPA of 2.5 and a minimum of 60 transfer credits. However, some completion program majors may require you to have more prerequisite coursework completed before joining.
They especially encourage those with an associate degree to join their ranks through their ‘Finish@UF’ program. The University of Florida allows for those who attended any public university in Florida to transfer all of their credits. This is a huge burden lifted for potential completion program students.
Through BU Online, Boston University offers a flexible, online degree completion program. Students must have a minimum of 52 transfer credits to apply.
Boston University’s online program offers for multiple degree completion programs. These completion programs focus on liberal arts like social science, humanities, and philosophy.
The average time for a degree completion program is about 18 months.
Boston University’s online course load has garnered multiple awards. These include:
- Blackboard Catalyst Award for Teaching & Learning
- Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education
- 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning
- Best Practices Platinum Award for Distance Learning Programming
Another Boston-based school, Northeastern University offers a wide variety of online courses. Northeastern’s regular online degrees have varied majors to choose from, including information technology, liberal studies, and psychology.
Northeastern proves its reliability by allowing transfer credits from multiple states and institutions. Northeastern University particularly emphasizes various forms of interdisciplinary studies. These manifest as participation in work projects, co-ops, and more to enrich students’ education.
Its online wing, Northeastern Online, offers well over 80 different majors for students. It has degrees and certification programs in accounting, biology, information technology, and product management.
Located in Philadelphia, Drexel University is a diverse and esteemed city campus. Drexel’s most popular areas are majors like business and management and engineering. However, it offers a colorful bevy of degree completion programs in multiple fields.
Its online program boasts an insane 125 major and certificate programs available for completion. Drexel’s degree completion programs include nursing, education, criminal justice studies, and business administration.
Degrees at Drexel are amazingly customizable through its Bachelor of Arts in General Studies program. This is designed for students to customize their curriculum to suit their interests and academic needs.
A potential student will need a minimum of 60 credits to transfer. Drexel recommends at least 90 credits for a more streamlined, accelerated experience. All of its bachelor’s degrees require 120 credits to graduate.
Kansas State University
Kansas State University, or ‘K-State,’ offers well over 70 different, fully online majors. Just because you initially enrolled as a social science or criminology student doesn’t mean there aren’t customization options.
Kansas State University allows for amazingly in-depth concentrations and different electives for curious students. For example, if a student chooses an education major, they can choose a concentration in multiple subfields. These include early childhood education, special education, or educational studies.
Kansas State University is exceptionally welcoming, only requiring a student to have a minimum of 24 transfer credits. If you achieved a less than ideal score on your SATs or ACTs, Kansas State University has you covered. Furthermore, if you are 21-years-old or older, or have transfer credits exceeding 24, you don’t need to submit test scores.
Degree Completion Programs: Some Final Thoughts
Degree completion programs can be a saving grace for your education. Thousands can and have already benefited from their existence.
Those with an associate degree or adult learner’s with job experience can reap the rewards of completion programs. There are also great options for veterans. They are a fantastic way to further a career or provide you with new job opportunities.
Degree completion programs are the perfect option for those who don’t want the financial burden of a four-year degree. It also cuts back significantly on time spent at school.
If life got in the way in the form of financial troubles, unforeseen circumstances, or disillusionment, you have options. Now is the perfect time to re-enroll into a solid accelerated degree completion program. With a completion program, you can complete that lingering undergraduate degree in no time.