College in Three Years?

Jaime Dalbke

"Some colleges offering 3-year bachelor's degrees"

An article just published in USA Today, reports that a small number of American colleges are starting to offer degrees in three years instead of the traditional four. Justin Pope, author of the article, writes: "Not much else seems to be helping keep down college costs, so maybe this will: a three-year college degree."

What colleges are offering three-year degrees? One is Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, According to Pope, Hartwick is the "most high profile school yet" to offer the option of completing a degree in three years.

But other colleges have officially entered the fray too. A little online research shows that they include Chatham University, Purdue University the University of North Carolina at Greensborough.

Of course, some smart students have discovered other strategies to cut their degree programs down by a year or even more:

  • Simply take more courses in each of the semesters when you are in school. Taking five courses in one term might not be easy, but it could save one of those $50,000 annual tuition fees.
  • Earn credit for life experience. To find out how, talk to admissions officers at the colleges where you are applying.
  • Pack your high school schedule with lots of advanced placement (AP) classes. It's a no-cost way to earn college credit and shorten your time on campus.
  • Take college courses online and then transfer the credit that they carry to another institution.

So, is it possible to cut your time in college down to three years - or maybe even two? Yes, it is. With the growing cost of education, it's a trend that is likely to grow.

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