How to Complete a Bachelor’s Degree in Three Years

Students choose a three-year bachelor’s degree for many reasons, including the benefits of graduating early

 Completing a bachelor’s degree in three years can be easier said than done, but not impossible. With the right tools, resources, and motivation, you can complete your bachelor’s degree in as little as three years. 

The experience varies depending on the student’s level of education. High school students will need to start early, whereas college students need to accommodate their class schedule with more classes. 

To give you an idea of how you can complete a bachelor’s degree in three years, we took the liberty of breaking down this article by your level of education. 

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High school student 

If you’re currently in high school, below are some ways you can earn college credits before graduating

  • Advanced Placement (AP) Courses – To earn college credits that will contribute to the bachelor’s degree, you must score at least a three on any of your AP exams. These exams vary by subject such as Calculus, Statistics, History, English, etc. 
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP) – The College Level Examination Program offers 34 exams covering intro-level college course materials. Taking and passing any of the 34 exams could qualify you for 12 college credits towards your degree. 
  • College Now High School Programs – Numerous high schools partner up with community colleges to offer students college courses. Students can often take these courses on the community college campus or even in their high school campus. For example, a student might go to a community college to take criminal justice.

Note: Some of these programs are free if your high school offers them. Even if they aren’t free, you may be able to get the fee waived by reaching out to your school’s counselor. 

College student 

You can complete a bachelor’s degree in three years by following these tips:

Keep constant communication with your academic advisor.

Regardless of your level of education, school officials play a huge role in your ability to complete a bachelor’s degree in three years. 

As a college student, the best way to plan for a three-year degree is by speaking to your academic advisor first. Your academic advisor will help you thoroughly plan out your schedule for the next three years, according to your major. 

Transfer over course credits.

Assuming you took a couple of college-level classes in high school, those credits will transfer over to your college. For instance, if you passed the AP English exam in high school, it will probably cross-off a required general education class. 

Take more course credits.

Many students complete their bachelor’s degree in three years by taking on more coursework than others. 

To earn a bachelor’s degree, students must take 120 credits, equivalent to 40 courses. Typically students are only allowed to take 18 credits per semester, but since you’ll be pursuing a three-year bachelor’s degree, your advisor may permit you to take more than 18 credits. This means that you’ll probably be taking more classes per semester than your classmates.

Completing a bachelor’s degree in three years requires discipline and motivation. Although it takes a lot of work to earn a degree at this accelerated pace, many students have saved thousands of dollars by doing so.