Hi! I’m Joy.
I launched this website 10 years ago to share my story in hopes of helping someone like you. Have you ever been overlooked for a promotion because you don’t have your college degree yet? Or perhaps you want to speed your way up the corporate ladder? Or qualify for a new career?
You are not alone.
Thousands of adult learners like you are heading back to college to earn their degree… but they don’t want to spend four years or more sitting in class. And that is why I want to help spread the word and let you know that you can realize your dream of finishing college, without spending half a decade in the process.
You can finish college faster.
At the age of 27, I decided that my career was going nowhere, so I enrolled in night classes at the University of Houston. After one year, I only had four classes under my belt.
It didn’t take me long to do the math.
At that pace, it would take me nearly 10 years to complete my degree!
With a full-time career, bills to pay, and family commitments, it would likely take me even longer.
So, I started searching for alternative methods of earning college credit at an accelerated pace… and I was shocked to discover nearly a dozen ways to earn college credit without stepping foot inside a classroom.
I earned one year of college credit in less than 24 hours
Yes, you read that right. I discovered a way to earn 30 college credits, the equivalent of 10 college classes, in less than 24 hours.
Here’s how I did it.
In the course of my research, I discovered three major paths I could take to finish my bachelor’s degree faster:
- Completely “test out” of college through credit by examination
- Earn my degree through a combo of credit by exam and credit for prior learning
- Earn my degree through a combo of credit by exam, credit for prior learning, accelerated classes
After taking stock of my situation and future academic goals (grad school), I opted to go with the third option, earn my degree through a combination of credit by examination, credit for prior learning, and accelerated classes.
I was majoring in Business Administration, so I knew I needed to earn 120 credit hours to graduate. I had already earned 12 hours by taking night classes, but I wanted to finish my degree faster!
I tested out of 5 classes in just 5 hours
By checking out my university’s academic catalog, I learned that they awarded up to 15 college credits (the equivalent of five college classes) for satisfactory scores on CLEP exams and DSST exams. So, I dug a little deeper to find out how I could use this to my advantage. Most of the exams were in subjects covering my general education requirements, so I did a little bit of research and decided to take the following exams:
- CLEP Natural Sciences – 90 minute exam worth 6 credit hours
- CLEP Analyzing and Interpreting Literature – 90 minute exam worth 6 credit hours
- DSST Public Speaking – 120 minute exam worth 3 credit hours
Total number of credits earned: 15 credit hours
I was awarded credit for the equivalent of 5 classes, an entire semester of college, in just 5 hours!
That saved me from sitting in class every single day for an entire semester, not to mention the $4,934 in tuition and books (or the 60-mile roundtrip commute each day in Houston traffic)!
Sure, I spent a few hours reading up on the topics covered in these exams, but both CLEP and DSST make it very clear what you need to know to pass their exams… with a little planning and a little prep, you can save yourself a great deal of time, money, and hassle!
I used CPL to get credit for 4 classes in just a few hours
When I discovered Credit for Prior Learning (CPL), it was a relatively new concept that was slowly catching on at major universities.
Basically, a number of colleges will award you credit for what you already know, provided you can demonstrate mastery of topics covered in a given course. There are limits to how much credit is awarded, so be sure to review your university’s academic policies before taking the time to map out your action plan.
If you haven’t decided on a school yet, here’s a list of online colleges offering credit for life experience.
Since I had already logged twelve years of work experience at IBM Corporation, I knew that I could easily demonstrate mastery in a number of computer science and information technology courses at my college.
Each university has its own method of evaluating CPL, but I had to take the following steps:
- Find courses in my university’s academic catalog that were directly related to my experience
- Review the topics covered in each course and directly connect them to my work experience
- Submit a portfolio outlining my experience for each course, along with appropriate documentation
- Submit my portfolio for review
The majority of my time on this project was spent writing my CPL portfolio. In order to maximize your chances of being awarded credit, you will want to cover each topic that the course covers and directly link it with your work experience.
At the end of the day, I was awarded credit for three Computer Science classes and one Information Technology class… saving me $5,224 in tuition & books and another semester of college!
I enrolled in accelerated courses
Although shaving an entire year off of my degree helped, what really supercharged my time to completion was enrolling in 8-week online accelerated courses.
More and more colleges have started offering accelerated courses as they recognize students’ need to juggle existing responsibilities with earning their degree.
The concept is simple. Instead of spending 16 weeks sitting in class on campus, you spend 8 weeks in class online… cutting the time it takes to finish a course in half (and eliminating your need to commute to class).
Not too shabby.
How can I help you finish college faster?
If you have any questions about accelerating your degree plan, feel free to contact me. You can also check out some of my articles to find more tips on how you can finish college faster.
And if you’re ready to get started, go ahead and use the school search tool to get matched to a college offering online classes now: