How to Get Your Bachelor’s in Less Time, For Less (Part 1)

Note: After posting I realized I should have included a better introduction. College is probably not on the radar for most of you. Many of you, like me, are full time homemakers. However, so many people have asked us how we obtained our degrees for less than $3000 in a relatively short period, I thought it may be of interest to some of you. I’ve decided to make Fridays the day for posting mini-series. After this college series, I have other series in the works.  

photo by Mary Gober

Joshua finished his Bachelor’s degree in a year. I dragged mine out over several. We both spent less than $3000.

“How?” many people have asked.

Today I’m going to start a series on the non-traditional college route we took and that worked well for us. In the series I will cover:

  • what a non-traditional, or distance, degree is
  • the pros and cons of a non-traditional degree
  • how to get a distance degree
  • various ways of earning credit
  • how to integrate non-traditional ways of earning credit into a traditional college career
  • resources to help prepare for exams

Maybe college is not on your agenda. Chances are, it is for someone you know. If you find the information useful, I’d be so grateful if you passed it on.

Before getting into the pros and cons of a non-traditional degree, it is important to get three preliminary questions out of the way.

“What is a non-traditional distance degree?”

A non-traditional degree is one obtained outside a brick-and-mortar classroom, particularly one earned through exams and online classes. It challenges the belief that the education required to succeed can only be obtained by sitting in a classroom for four years.

“Is a college degree necessary?”

Traditional wisdom says “Go to college. Get good grades. Get a good job.” That worked in our parent’s era, but more and more often these days, students are graduating college with a boatload of debt and few job prospects (unless McDonalds counts.)

One recent study showed that only 56% of 2010 college graduates had found a job by spring. Those jobs paid 10% less than starter jobs in 2006.

Meanwhile, the cost of college and the associated debt load is rising. Tuition is six times more expensive than 20 years ago. The average college senior graduates with $24,000 in student loans.

Will the sacrifice be worth it? Many careers require the letters B.A. stamped on a piece of paper. Some don’t.

“Is a traditional college campus necessary?”

So you need a degree. But do you need to go to a brick and mortar college?

Many degrees can be obtained without ever stepping foot inside a college classroom, including English literature, psychology or political science.

For other degrees like nursing or engineering, at least part of the coursework can be done outside the classroom. Some schools will even allow pre-med students to test out of general education courses.

Earning at least some credit through examination is a wise option for most students.

Next up: the pros and cons of an outside-the-box education.

Linked up at Frugal Fridays

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  1. Kasey says

    This is great, Anna! My husband is a firefighter and is looking to begin his paramedic degree in the spring. I’m looking forward to what you have to share!

    • anna says

      Wonderful! I hope that some of the things we did will work for him too!

      (And I’m so glad to know that my not very homemaking-related post will at least be read by someone. 😉 )

  2. Jennifer L says

    I’m reading it too… I started a distance learning program but never got to completed. 🙁 But I’m hoping to get a degree at some point.

  3. says

    My college education cost a LOT more than that. Although my daughter is only a freshman in high school – I think now is the time to learn a thing or two.

    Thanks for posting!

    • anna says

      You’re welcome! I hope she will be able to use some of the methods that we used to shave money off the cost of her degree. 🙂

  4. sylva says

    i want to get my bachelors degree as soon as possible cause i am really tired that my time is getting wasted…..

    • anna says

      It’s lots of work, but this way is definitely one of the fastest ways to earn a degree. Best of luck and thanks for stopping by!

  5. says

    great, but i m from asian county and i want bachelors degree but how can i get it. would u please help me in such condition?

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