Accelerated Courses Vs. Traditional Courses

Accelerated courses and traditional courses, although different in many ways, also share similarities. Like programs that offer traditional courses, accelerated course programs are available at the diploma, certificate, associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. A major difference is that accelerated courses, like their names suggest, are completed in much shorter time periods than traditional courses.

Accelerated Courses

Accelerated courses are like traditional courses in that they're offered at every degree level and available in many areas of study, including educational administration, nursing, organizational leadership, business, liberal studies and information security. Shorter in length than traditional college classes, accelerated courses only take about 5-8 weeks to complete. Many programs offer this option to students who are eager to start advanced classes and wish to move on to higher-level work more quickly.

Course Format

Some accelerated courses take place in the evenings and on weekends, and many are designed for working professionals. Summer sessions are also available. Accelerated courses are commonly completed on campus, but distance education is an option through select schools. Another format for accelerated classes is hybrid courses, or courses that are partially completed in the classroom and partially online.

Admission Requirements

Schools with accelerated degree programs usually have specific admission requirements. These requirements vary by school and degree level, but may require students to earn a minimum number of transferable credit hours, submit standardized test scores, hold a minimum GPA and be a certain age.

Traditional Courses

Traditional courses are more commonly available than accelerated ones and often come in more subjects. The completion time is generally twice as long and allows students to take time with their studies. Some schools offer the exact same programs and requirements for both traditional and accelerated formats. An example of this is an associate's degree in nursing program offered in both traditional and accelerated versions.

Program Format

Depending on the degree program, classes must often take place on campus during weekday mornings and afternoons. However, traditional adult education courses may be offered on evenings and weekends, as well as online.

Admission Requirements

Specific admissions requirements apply to traditional course programs and vary by school and degree level. The basics tend to include a high school diploma or GED, minimum age and GPA, high school transcripts and a personal essay. Graduate-level traditional programs usually require a bachelor's degree.

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