dcsimg
You are here:

The Three-Year Plan: Getting More Bang For Your College Buck

Between a downturned economy and the rising costs of college, everyone's looking for a way to cut their spending and minimize debt. For some students, that means putting college dreams on hold for a while while they work to save money; for other students, it's the other way around. The average student takes a whopping six years to complete a "four year" bachelor degree at a public university, yet according to Associated Press, an emerging trend is to cut that time in half.

Nina Xue, one student interviewed, managed in three years' time to earn a double-bachelor degree in French and History, while still finding time for extracurricular activities like cheerleading. She states that, for her, a three-year degree wasn't the original plan but saving on finances was a great deciding factor once she discovered that previous AP course credits had made it an option. "I didn't think it was worth it to pay another $40,000 to play with my friends for another year, cheer for a year, and write a thesis," she says. "Making my parents pay for another year of school would not have been fair." Now, instead of struggling through senior year in undergrad, she is already looking ahead to law school. Meanwhile Charles Jacobson, another student interviewed, relied not on AP courses from high school but on careful planning. "Halfway through my freshman year, I had all my courses planned out," he says.

When it comes to professors' and professionals' opinions on an accelerated college experience, the jury is still out. According to the article, Senator Lamar Alexander, a former education secretary and college president, praised three-year degree programs as "the higher-education equivalent of a fuel efficient car" at the annual American Council of Education meeting this past February. Some critics, however, warn that if done too hastily, "shaving the fourth year off college could limit a student's social experience and provide a narrower education."

After all, it isn't an easy endeavor completing a bachelor degree in three years: it takes a clear vision and a single-minded dedication. Many online colleges are starting to offer special accelerated programs promising degrees in less time, but with traditional schools, this kind of success often lies in planning that dates back to high school, racking up extra credits with AP courses and summer school sessions at community college. That said, it can be done and many students are aiming to save thousands of dollars on tuition costs by making it a reality.

Search Schools

      
Matching School Ads
  • Full Sail University - Online

    Push Your Creativity To The Next Level

    Programs

    • Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
    • Internet Marketing, Master of Science (Online)
    • Music Production, Bachelors of Science (Online)
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Full Sail University - Online Request Info »
  • Ashford University

    You've found Ashford University, where school comes to you. Earn your bachelor's or master's degree online.

    Programs

    • AA/Early Childhood Education
    • BA/Early Childhood Education Administration
    • BA/Education Studies
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Ashford University Request Info »
  • Animal Behavior College

    At Animal Behavior College (ABC), we're dedicated to helping animal lovers pursue animal careers.

    Programs

    • Cat Training
    • Veterinary Assistant
    • Certified Dog Trainer Instructor Course
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Animal Behavior College Request Info »
  • Penn Foster

    Advance your career with our affordable, self-paced, career-focused distance education programs.

    Programs

    • Home Health Aide
    • Security Guard
    • Veterinary Assistant
    • More...
    Location:
    Scranton: , Scranton PA 18515
    Penn Foster Request Info »
  • Platt College

    Turn your talents into a career at nationally recognized and accredited Platt College.

    Programs

    • Veterinary Technology Alternate Route - Certificate
    • Respiratory Therapy
    • Veterinary Technology - Associates
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Platt College Request Info »
  • USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

    The MSW@USC is the first top-ranked MSW program offered nationally. Many online programs are limited to certain geographic areas or the availability of courses, making it necessary to travel to campus. Our program can be completed from virtually anywhere without the need to relocate to Southern California.

    Programs

    • Doctor of Social Work
    • Master of Social Work
    Location:
    Los Angeles: 3601 Watt Way, GFS-315, Los Angeles CA 90089
    USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Request Info »
  • Capella University

    An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession.

    Programs

    • DBA - Global Operations and Supply Chain Management (ACBSP-accredited)
    • EdS - Teacher Leader in Digital Transformation
    • MS - Addiction Studies
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Capella University Request Info »
  • American University

    Change the World with American University

    Be a part of something bigger than yourself.

    Programs

    • Master of Science in Measurement & Evaluation
    • Master of Science in Nutrition Education
    • Master of Arts in Economics - Applied Economics
    • More...

    Location: Online

    American University Request Info »
  • University of the Rockies

    Join the community of thought leaders at University of the Rockies. Pursue your graduate degree from the University’s School of Professional Psychology or School of Organizational Leadership.

    Programs

    • MA in Public Sociology
    • Doctor of Psychology, Mediation & Conflict Resolution
    • Doctor of Philosophy, Organizational Development and Leadership
    • More...

    Location: Online

    University of the Rockies Request Info »
  • Keiser University Graduate School

    For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. 

    Programs

    • PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
    • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice
    • Master of Science in Nursing
    • More...
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale: 1500 W. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale FL 33309
    Keiser University Graduate School Request Info »
  • Matching School Ads

    Quick School Search

    College & Career Search Tools

    • Careers: Unsure about your career path? Study profiles of hundreds of professions.

    • Interviews: Professors and deans sit down with our team to give you unique insights on college life.

    • Military Education: Find only Military friendly online schools and campuses.

    • Student Reviews: Know before you go. Read student reviews on over 2000 accredited colleges. Write your own experience.