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.
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.
Linked up at Frugal Fridays