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Can credits fastened my years in college, so instead of four years in college for a bachelor's degree can it be two or three years instead?


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Dexter’s Answer

Hi Jennel,

I had a friend in college who earned a EECS bachelors degree (considered one of the harder degrees) in UC Berkeley in three years. The way he went about it was that he took transferable AP classes and college classes while he was in high school. He didn't do summer school and rather found internships, which I would recommend to you as well, as I think internships are just about the best thing you can do for your career while in college.

He also took a full 16-18 credit load while he was in college and studied really hard. Still, he got good grades and was able to find a job afterwards (he still has the same manager after 14 years; he did move companies once).

One more tip to do well when you're taking AP or college classes in highschool is to spend the summer studying what you'll be learning in the next year through Khan Academy or similar programs. This way, school will be a breeze and you can stay on top of the extra challenge the AP/college classes bring.

Wish you the best of luck! Love that you're thinking ahead!

--
Dexter

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Cameron’s Answer

Jennel, great question!

There are several ways you can reduce the total number of years it takes to get your undergrad degree and the path you take will depend on your schedule, current/planned high school classes, and personal preference.

Here are just some of the ways that you can graduate in less than four years:

In High School:
- Take AP or IB classes (depending on your high school/country) and take as many as you can handle. You need to score higher on these to make sure you get credit, but the credit you get depends on if your college accepts that class, your final score, and your major program. These classes will mostly fulfill the lower level/general education credits in your plan of study. Regardless, these classes can help you prepare for the rigor or study needed in college.

- Take dual enrollment classes. Many high schools offer dual enrollment programs which means you will be taking a college accredited class while still in high school.


In College:
- Maximize the number of credits you take each semester. But make sure that you will be able to handle your whole course load or you may have to repeat classes later on.

- Take up summer semesters. If you are able to, take classes during the summers to advance in your plan of study. Typically this means that you won't be able to complete an internship or get some work experience, so depending on the field you want to enter this might not be the best option for you.

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Judith’s Answer

Hi Jennel! I completed my bachelor's degree in three years. Entering college with the mindset that it is my job, I attended year-round and took the maximum credits every semester. I found that the summer semesters were an easy way to get through several general education classes quickly. There are test out options available too. As Joshua stated in his response, you can petition to take additional credits. Petitioning for the additional credits helps if you are trying to be creative with your summer schedule to complete an independent study course or to squeeze in an extra general education course.

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Cameren’s Answer

There are many ways to reduce the number of years it will take you to earn your undergraduate degree. My first suggestion would be to take advantage of dual-enrollment (taking college classes while in high school) if this is something your school offers. I would also encourage you to do dual-enrollment before taking AP classes, as many universities require high AP scores in order for the credits to count where as credits gained through dual-enrollment are more likely to be accepted as long as you pass the course. However, all colleges and universities are different with their requirements for AP and dual-enrollment credits so make sure to do your research before applying if the ability to transfer these credits are a deal-breaker for you.

An additional step you can take is to maximize the amount of credits you are taking during your undergraduate years. A majority of full-time students will take about 15 credits each semester with the minimum being 12 credits (at most schools) in order to maintain full-time status. Some colleges will allow you to take about 18 credits per semester before you have to begin paying extra. While taking a lot of credits may seem like the right move in order to expedite your time, remember that it can be very overwhelming, especially in your first semester of school. Additionally, you are going to probably want to join some clubs, get an on campus job, and have free time to explore your new environment and make friends, and all these things will be very difficult to do while take a heavy credit load. So just make sure you know what you're getting into and capable of. It also never hurts to speak with a guidance counselor abut your course load.

My last suggestion is that if you are capable to take summer classes. I was someone who needed a break from school, so with the exception of my summer study abroad term I never took classes during the summer because I knew I needed a reset before the next school year. However, if you find yourself ready and willing to take courses during the summer term then go for it, it is an easy way to get credits toward your degree and finish ahead of time.

Whatever you choose just remember that obtaining your degree is not a race. Whether it takes you three, four, or even five years, everyone operates differently and you are on your own schedule not anyone else's.

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Alfredo’s Answer

Hi Jennel,

University courses all have credits for each class. To be able to graduate you need to meet a specific number of credits. There are certain high school credit-worthy classes that you could take, the most common of these classes in the US are Advanced Placement (AP) classes. By doing well in the the AP exams you take once you are done with the AP classes (usually a score of 4 or 5) you could be exempt from taking introductory college classes. If you take plenty of these classes and doing well on all of the exams you could, potentially, avoid having to take a lot of classes.

Beware that AP classes can be challenging and require a lot of hard work, so you would be assuming a lot of work the more AP classes you take.

Best of luck!

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Anthony’s Answer

Hello Jennel! I am happy to help answer your question. In my experience, taking AP classes while you are in high school and scoring well on the AP exam is a great way to knock out some of your Gen Ed classes in undergrad. For example, I took AP Calculus in high school and because I was able to score a 4 on the exam, I was able to place out of taking math in college. I was able to get credit for a few more courses, and therefore able to graduate 1 semester early. This also meant that I was taking the normal amount of credits each semester (around 15-16 or 4 classes) to stay on track.

In terms of AP classes though, you will need to research the minimum scores required at universities you are interested in attending in order to place out of classes. Depending on the level of school, some require a higher score than others. I believe this can be found on the test I nc website.

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Mary Christine’s Answer

You can look to AP credits in high school to help expedite the degree. Also, consider summer classes in college as well.

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Joshua’s Answer

Hi Jennel,

Alfredo's answer is a great one if you are looking for ways to reduce your time in college while at high school but the way colleges typically work is that you need to take a certain number of credits in order to graduate and can choose to take a certain number of credits each semester. At my university specifically, the maximum number of credits we are allowed to take per semester is 20 (each class is usually 4 credits so this translates to 5 classes a semester). You can petition to take more credits in order to accelerate your college career so that you can finish earlier and some universities give you the option to. For example, if your university required you to take a total of 128 credits in order to graduate you could take 16 credits each semester and be done in 4 years. Alternatively, you could take 20 credits each semester and be done in around 3.5 years.

I hope this helps clarify everything but message me if you are still confused or need more help!

Best,
Josh

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