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Get Your College Degree Online In Six Months Or Less

Updated on March 7, 2016
Cardisa profile image

Carolee is a passionate writer with a love for learning and teaching. She is a published author, poet, blogger, and content creator.

Earn your bachelor's degree in six months

There are many colleges to chose from these days and many of them offer accelerated programs, credit for life experience but not many of them allow you to complete a bachelor degree in less than six months, as a matter of fact, I don't know any legitimate college that does that by you attending classes. But I will tell you how to earn your legitimate bachelors degree in less than six months without attending one day of class.

It's not very hard to do but it does take some planning and time to prepare. If you already have college credit that's a bonus, but with this strategy high school dropouts can earn their diploma without taking a GED test or going back to school. Graduating high school is another bonus because most high school students are already prepped for college.

FiRst things first:

  • Assess your situation to see how far you are from earning your degree; how many credits you do have, any life/work experience or certificates you do have, your knowledge base, your ability to study on your own if needed

  • What you want your major in

  • What will you do with your degree once you've earned it

  • How much time you have to dedicate to this venture; including research, study, exams

  • Your budget

Earn your accredited bachelor in six months – the more credits you have the less time it will take

Assuming that you graduated high school or you are brighter than the average dropout and are academically adequate to pass a few exams here is the deal. If you are a military person you will use DANTES but for regular people you will use CLEP as a stepping stone. In this article we are using CLEP (College Level Education Program), Life/work experience portfolio and HSD if you have one (if not no problem).

  1. First step is to find a school that will award 100% credit towards your degree so long as you have all the required credits for graduation. Currently there aren't many Schools that do that so I have two Schools available for you to choose from; Thomas Edison State College and Excelsior College are accredited schools that offer a full degree after submitting your documents. You must enroll as a student and pay some student fees then apply for your degree. You must visit their website in order to see which programs are available via this method. This research will take you less than a day.

  2. Next, gather your resume, all the recommendations you can, preferably from past employers. Any certificates you might have gained and place them in a folder. Make sure the school you are applying for will award credits this way. Find out if they need anything else in your portfolio and submit. The results of the assessment may take a month.

  3. Third step is to take some general ed exams with CLEP if you do not have a HSD or GED. These subjects are Math, English, General Science and Humanities.

  4. Next is to sit exams in areas for the additional credits that you may need for the core courses. These exams are through CLEP. To know the core for each degree program you would need to visit the school website and download the program course. Compare it to what you already have. It would be better to wait for your assessment results from your portfolio in order to know what area your credits were awarded.

  5. After you have completed all the required credits by sitting the CLEP exams, gather all your transcripts and exam results, your assessment results from your work experience and your GED/HDS transcripts and submit to the school of your choice. When you applied for the degree,they would have supplied you with a list of all the requirements for submission. They may require that you take one exam at their school.

Note: What I would do is agree to take the last two exams with the school. Exams are within the same price range the last time I checked.

This is just a sample of your credits earnings. It might be different depending on your current credit standings, the credits awarded through experience and exa

Life/work experience credit
1 - 2 weeks
Credit from High school
General education credits
2 weeks ( 2 exams/week)
Core subjects
8 weeks (2 exams/week)
4 weeks ( 2 exams/week)
Study time
8 weeks
6 months

Note: you must make your own time table and mark which exams you will do at what time. I suggest doing the easiest exams first to give you time to study for the others.

Majors that can be completed this way

  • BA Marketing
  • BA Business Administration
  • BA Business Management
  • BA General Education
  • BA Humanities
  • BA Social Sciences
  • BSc. Social Sciences
  • BSc. General Sciences
  • BA Linguistics

You may choose a BSc. or BA depending what your preference is or what the school offers. If you are in a hurry or find that you cannot complete the exams in six months you can opt for the Associates degree by taking the same time but cutting the credits in half and taking more time to study and doing one exam per week.

There are CLEP testing centers all over the world so this is attainable from almost any country but especially in the US. Thomas Edison and Excelsior also offers distance education so anyone from anywhere in the world can apply for their degree.

Non Credit courses you can take towards your portfolio

There are many non credit certificates and courses you can take from prestigious schools towards your degree. If you are taking this route for you BA degree, having a certificate from a prestigious or Ivy league school will look great on your resume.

Some of these School offer free courses as well and the courses are usually short and self paced. If you live near one of these schools you can go in to classes there; but no worries, most of these non credit courses and certificates are offered online. To enroll in non credit courses you do not need to submit any transcripts.

Here are a few schools to consider.

  • Harvard Extension Online - Free and paid courses
  • Berkeley Online Education - Free and paid courses
  • Oxford University Online - Paid courses
  • Cornell University Online - Paid Courses

The best route for your degree

If you have never attended college before then I would suggest enrolling in a couple courses for credit to add to your portfolio. Attending college gives you an experience that will assist you in the workforce. You will be tutored, given assignments and deadlines which will come in handy when you get a job.

Attending school is what prepares us for life and the experiences gathered cannot be simulated or replaced.

If you do decide to take a few courses here is what to do

  1. Apply to a school such as the one above and enroll in a few courses for credit. Another School which offers up to 75% credit for previous work and college is Adams State College.
  2. Gather all your documents as usual, sit whatever exams you need to get to that 75% credit and take courses that will fill the other 25%.


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    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      13 months ago from Jamaica

      I'm sorry, I won't be able to do that. I am an author with deadlines to meet. What you are asking will take a lot of research. You would need to take the time to research this yourself so that you can know you options.

    • profile image


      13 months ago


    • profile image

      Ardyth Era 

      13 months ago

      How to enrol business administration?

    • profile image

      Akash peter 

      18 months ago

      Mam I want to do B.A in 6 months please can I do please it's urgent for me...please

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      5 years ago from Jamaica

      Welcome to Hubpages Debra. Getting your college degree in little time is possible, but you have to be determined to work hard at it. You must also have prior knowledge and experience of the subject for it to happen. These are legitimate degrees offered by accredited colleges.

    • DebraHargrove profile image

      Debra Hargrove 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      Wow good information. I will have to take out some more time to come back and read you hub again. I never realize what this is stating is something that is possible to do.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      7 years ago from Jamaica

      Nakwa, here is a link to Adam's Accreditation page

      When applying to any school, whether it's online or not you the applicant should make sure that you check the accreditation status of the institution. I have no idea what you are talking about about bad publicity. I have never seen anything negative about these tow schools and I am sure they are Accredited and have been offering tertiary education for many years.

    • profile image


      7 years ago


      please advise the authenticity & legitimacy and accreditation of he universities you mentioned, cause when you google search these universities lots of bad publicity about them -

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      7 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks Starchet, this method has been proven to work but one must be careful how they approach it because they need to study and do the exams or they may fail.

    • starchet profile image

      Chetan Jariwala 

      7 years ago from San Jose

      nice collection of information. thanks for the hub & keep it going!

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      8 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Missy, let me know how it goes. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Missy Mac profile image

      Missy Mac 

      8 years ago from Illinois

      I have a relative who wants to complete a bachelors. This seems like the perfect option. Thanks for the researched information

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      8 years ago from Jamaica

      Rasta, they have a center here in Jamaica. The last I checked each exam cost US$85 which is quite reasonable.

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 

      8 years ago from Jamaica

      This one caught my eyes, I may never stop studying. The clep is a good idea.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      8 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Wesley, there are colleges that allow you to enroll in accelerated programs based on your portfolio and CLEP scores. Remember the CLEP exams are equivalent to the high school college prep program. So having the CLEP scores will be you entry.

    • Wesley Meacham profile image

      Wesley Meacham 

      8 years ago from Wuhan, China

      This is an interesting hub. I have often said that if I had to do things over again the first thing I would do is take every CLEP test offered. I would say that most of your hub is factual. However a couple of times you've mentioned not having a HSD or a GED. I'm not aware of any college or University that will allow you to enroll in their school without one of these.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      8 years ago from Jamaica

      Hey Jackie, I read your hub on distance education and it's exact;y how it works with the online version. One is never too old to go back to school. I, too, want to do some more courses.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      8 years ago from the beautiful south

      You are a wealth of information Cardisa. I have a degree in business and college scared me at first, I don't know why since grades were never a problem for me, maybe because I waited until after I had babies and felt old lol. I did great though and I am so glad I did it.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      8 years ago from Jamaica

      Hello Dee.

      I too worked my way around for the last 20 years and have built a portfolio. The best positions that I have had were based on just my experience and willingness to work hard in my field.

      You know, I can't understand what the problem is with gaining your degree this way if you are already working in the field.

      Thanks you DEE.

      Happy holidays!

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 

      8 years ago

      This is great information. I am now retired but I was an executive director in a non-profit organization that I work my way up the time I became an ED I had worked at almost every position you can name. I was finally in a position to move from one community to another helping to save small non-profits from going under.

      One of the things that I developed was a gut or 6-sense for knowing people and, without a doubt, the people who were the absolute best workers with a great deal of dedication and drive were the people without college degrees. They may have had some college..some only a high school diploma. They were encouraged to take courses and workshops and build that portfolio that you mentioned. I slowly built a library of resources that helped to direct and guide them and encouraged distance learning---one course at a time.

      I do wish I'd had this information back then, but I also wish that companies did not place such high value on degrees in general and especially on degrees from over-priced universities with name reconition. Nothing wrong with them if you can afford it...but there are many places to get a good quality education and experience...without breaking the bank (budget)

      Voted up and useful. Bravo!

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      8 years ago from Jamaica

      Hello Smart Chick.

      I agree with you about the piece of paper. As I mentioned in my hub that you would "need" to have a work experience portfolio. I would not recommend someone undertaking this unless they had the prerequisite experience. I also mentioned that you need to figure out what you are going to do with it once you get it. So while I do appreciate the comment, I am in no way encouraging someone to go get a degree without the knowledge and work experience required.

      Thank you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is really helpful information! I would like to point out a couple things however for the general readership.

      When the United States was a manufacturing giant, having a degree - any degree - was a ticket into the managerial classes and a good-paying job. With the advent of the GI Bill, and the subsequent marketization of higher education (see Derek Bok's book on the subject), the bachelor's (and even master's!) degree is not what it once was. In fact, Dr Ken Gray wrote that it is now "a ticket to stand in line".

      Indeed, in today's economy, having that piece of paper is no guarantee of anything other than an obligation to pay off student loans, whether you have a better job or are still working at the local fast food joint.

      You may benefit from a generic bachelor's degree in the following circumstances:

      - you are already working in a firm that is supportive of you and you have an excellent track record with them. They want to promote you but require that degree for promotion.

      - you are an established business person with a set of significant skills that are highly-sought-after in the workforce and the degree is the "icing on the cake".

      Otherwise, a generic degree with no subsequent body of work or specific skills should be pursued if and ONLY if you can do it for as little financial outlay as possible. In other words, once you finish your degree, unless you are a software engineer from a well-recognized school, do not expect the heavens to open and people to start calling you recruiting you for a job. Even NURSES (RNs) are finding it a tough market in some areas.

      Case in point: I worked in a health care environment where we needed the use of some temporary administrative help. We received "Ellen" from temp services, a woman with a BA degree AND a Master's in Organizational Development. She had decent credentials but we had to let her go after just a month because she knew nothing that was applicable in the work environment (general office/business) and she was seemingly untrainable. She could not figure out how to work the fax, even after being shown how to do it multiple times. She was never able to maneuver in the computer environment and opening and using MS Word sent her into a tailspin. She was not knowledgeable about basic business practices and really was an impediment to business because we had to check anything she sent out because her writing was not professional enough to be left unchecked. In other words, her degrees meant nothing at the end of the day, and unfortunately, she is not alone.

      Just having a piece of paper will NOT guarantee you a job; make sure you have some SKILLS, and are knowledgeable about the business you want to enter. How do you do this?

      Volunteer one day a week in an office related to your area of study. Take an entry-level job in the business you want to work in and get that degree over time, without BORROWING large sums of money. Prove yourself to the employer while you are earning that degree so that when you finish, and have the piece of paper, it has some meaning.

      Once you have relevant work experience AND that degree, you will be much more desirable to future employers.

      Also, as a long time faculty member and academic adviser, many students come to college with a list of CLEP and tested out courses, but often - in the degree programs that provide students the skills most desirable in the workforce, these "credits" are nice, and appear on the transcript but will not eliminate the required coursework that is needed to grant you the degree.

      At the end of the day, do your homework. If you are working, talk to HR or a boss about what the degree will mean. Is it worth borrowing money to attain? If so, how much? Do you know what your potential salary might be once you get that degree? If you borrow $50,000 to finish a BS degree, and you're only getting a 50-cent an hour raise, with no promises after that, will that help you pay the approximately $500/monthly student loans that you now have? Can you leave that work place and land a job that will pay you enough to afford it?

      Google the terms "student loan repayment calculator" and look at how much you are going to have to take OUT of your budget each month to pay back that loan, and plug this into your budget before signing ANY loan documents, and remember: your local community college and many public universities offer online/distance education options at a FRACTION of the price of many other institutions and you can "pay as you go" so that if you get that higher paying position, YOU can keep the money.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      8 years ago from Jamaica

      Thanks Ruby :))

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      8 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Cardisa you are so helpful ..I'm sure many will benefit from your hub.. Thank you..

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      8 years ago from Jamaica

      Thank you Poin2make. I wish you every success and hope you get the info you need to complete it.

      Happy new year!

    • point2make profile image


      8 years ago

      Thank-you for this information. I have long "wished" for an opportunity to finish my degree but did not have the information to proceed. You have helped point me in a new direction and I appreciate your help. I will investigate the possibilities immediately. Thanks again.

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      8 years ago from Jamaica

      Kelly, this is a great way to get finish your degree for people who want an accredited degree but either don't have the time or just need it for posterity.

      It also saves time and money.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Hi Cardisa - I have my associates degree and several credits toward my bachelors....I stopped taking classes after I had my middle child...I worked full time nights too and it just got to be overwhelming. I didn't want my GPA to suffer...I've always wanted to finish it though...maybe I could do it this way! Great hub and great idea!!

      I'm going to think about it some more...I don't really need it but it has always bugged me that I didn't finish! Lol. I hate that!

    • Cardisa profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolee Samuda 

      8 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Sky, yes, this is the real deal. Researched and authenticated.

      And you are right too about being very busy, so if you don't see a comment, it's not because I have not read. It's just that if you publish several hubs, I may comment on one or two because of time.

      Happy new year! and may the rest of the year bring you peace, joy and happiness!

    • Sky9106 profile image


      8 years ago from A beautiful place on earth.

      I am sure that this is the real deal because , you are the helped expose that bogus company, few months ago.

      Then there they were on on the news.

      Great to have you research and help those who so desire, find things, places and companies that are legit and authentic, so that others can benefit.

      I know that life has gotten real busy for you , but in a great way. Much success.

      Always great work Cardisa.



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