Accelerated Courses Vs. Traditional Courses

Aug 04, 2018

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.

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Accelerated Courses

When deciding between accelerated and traditional courses, it can be helpful to consider pacing, course availability, admission requirements and scheduling options.

Accelerated courses are like traditional courses in that they're offered at every degree level and available in many areas of study. Shorter in length than traditional college classes, accelerated courses only take about 5-8 weeks to complete, rather than a full semester or quarter. 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. Possible course topics include educational administration, nursing, organizational leadership, business, liberal arts and information security.

Accelerated Admission Requirements

Schools with accelerated degree programs usually have specific admission requirements. These requirements vary by school and degree level, but some of the options may include having previous completed a minimum number of transferable credit hours, submitting standardized test scores, holding a minimum GPA and being a certain age.

However, it is important to note that some accelerated courses do not have prerequisite admission requirements, so interested students should check with their school.

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. Usually the curriculum in traditional curses is exactly the same as in accelerated courses, but students have longer to learn the material and complete assignments when they take traditional courses.

Admission Requirements

Specific admissions requirements apply to traditional course programs and vary by school and degree level. To enroll in an undergraduate program that includes traditional courses, these are some of the standard admissions requirements: having a high school diploma or GED; meeting a minimum age requirement; having a minimum high school GPA; submitting high school transcripts; submitting a personal essay. Graduate-level traditional programs require at least a bachelor's degree.

Other application materials vary by school and program.

Course Scheduling

There are a variety of course scheduling options for both traditional and accelerated courses. On-campus courses are often available on weekday mornings and afternoons, but there are also options for evening and weekend courses that meet the needs of working professionals. Both traditional and accelerated courses may be available online.

There are both similarities and differences between accelerated and traditional courses. While curriculum and scheduling options may be similar, the overall pace of the program can differ significantly, and the selection of accelerated courses may be more limited.

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