How to Complete a Bachelor’s Degree in One Year

A Bachelor’s degree usually takes up to four years to complete. Depending on the student’s previous education and academic status, it may take a shorter or longer time. 

The sky-rocketing cost of pursuing a college education has caused students to think of other alternatives. One option is to earn a bachelor’s degree in just a year to avoid all additional costs. 

To earn a bachelors’ degree, students must complete at least 120-semester credit hours (about 40 courses). With that being said, aiming to achieve a said degree in just a year will require discipline, motivation, and concentration — it is not recommended but there is a potential for you to do so if you’re confident about passing the necessary exams.

There are a couple of ways to rack up the required credit hours to graduate in one year:

Completing 1 year of college credits by taking CLEP and DSST exams 

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) offers 34 exams covering intro-level college courses material. This exam gives students with prior knowledge of introductory college courses the opportunity to showcase a mastery of the courses. 

Similarly, the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) exams are college subject tests that you can take to earn college credit for knowledge you acquired outside of a traditional classroom environment. The DSST is composed of 38 subject exams that cover anything from Business to Physical Science. 

By taking these types of exams, you can earn up to 12 credit hours with a single exam. Keep in mind that the amount of college credit awarded varies by college and universities and test scores.

The average exam costs about $80. If you can’t afford to pay this kind of fee, reach out to your academic advisor. Some exam fees are waived depending on your ability to demonstrate financial need. 

Note: Other exams may qualify for college credits. Discuss these exams with your school to ensure you’ll receive the credit for taking and passing them. 

Submitting a professional portfolio based on your life and work experience 

Believe it or not, you can earn college credits for what you already know. 

You can earn up to 30 credit hours by submitting a portfolio highlighting your relevant life experiences and professional training. 

Below are a couple of popular fields in which credit can be awarded:

  • Art 
  • Accounting 
  • Biology 
  • Business
  • Computer Science 
  • Criminal Justice 
  • Education 
  • Marketing 
  • Management 

Common examples of relevant life experiences include certification, licenses, and training. 

It’s essential to keep in mind that the amount and type of credit awarded vary by college and university. 

Earning credit hours through accelerated online classes

Accelerated online classes are known for the schedule flexibility it provides to students. It also allows students to earn a degree in a shorter, more convenient way. 

Although accelerated online classes typically go at a fast pace, students have the option to go at their own pace and earn a degree whenever they are ready. 

By taking 2 online classes at a time, you can potentially earn up to 36 credit hours in 12 months with 8-week courses. 

Suppose you rack up the credit hours necessary by following what was previously mentioned. In that case, you can earn at least 90 credit hours. The remaining credit hours can be completed by adding more courses to your schedule or by looking for other alternatives such as summer classes. 

Completing a bachelor’s degree in one year is definitely a challenge and will require your full attention. You will most likely need to become a full-time student and invest 30-40 hours of your time per week. 

It is not recommended that those that need to hold full-time or part-time jobs, or have significant family responsibilities outside of the classroom try to take this on.