Can You Get Your Associates in a Year?

By: Staff Writer

If it is really that important for you to get your associates in a year then you'll find a way to do it. But to cram 60 credits into a year is definitely going to take focus and dedication.

Can You Get Your Associates in a Year?

There are just about 1,893,456,000 seconds in a year. An average American will eat 160 bowls of cereal in this time. Some $2,500 was spent by the average consumer on entertainment, and 560 movies released, in the year 2010. You might read 4,000 pages, or (more or less) 10 books, during a year. Employed full-time, you’ll probably work 1,900 hours in a year of your life. So how does school fit in? In this case, time does equal money. You may want to cut down on the costs, launch your career faster, or just get college out of the way. Can you realistically get your associates degree in one year?

It is possible. Ivy Tech Community College, in Indiana, is offering a one-year associates program. Their aim is to make higher education more affordable to those whose academic potential is good, but whose financial situation isn’t ideal. Ivy Tech is one of many U.S. schools working to compress the time required for college. Whether or not a similar program is or will be available to you, there are strategies to reduce the time it takes for you to get a degree. The most important factor is how hard you’re willing to work. Everyone has the exact same number of hours to expend—8,760 per year, if you were wondering. Take 33-40 percent for necessary things like sleeping. You still have at least 5,250 hours. You’ll have other engagements, as well, but you can become more efficient with your time. I hate to break it to you, but Call of Duty isn’t actually your call of duty. Limit your video gaming and TV watching time. When you’re standing in line at checkout, or in the waiting room for a dentist appointment, review information instead of playing Angry Birds. While driving, you could listen to lecture recordings. See where your time is going to waste, and make use of it. An associates degree will usually require about 60 credits, half for general ed, half related to your major. This translates to roughly 1,500 hours.

One great way to get started, if you have the opportunity, is to earn college credit in high school. Several great programs are available to you in high school, depending on where you live. And they’re mostly free! (There may be a few minimal costs associated with things like taking tests.) Some colleges offer concurrent enrollment, which allows you to earn double credits for a class in high school. You can also attend a university during regular school hours, or take classes online. Advanced Placement classes are also a great choice. They’re rigorous, great preparation for college, and a final test will determine the credit you earn.

Sometimes it may be unnecessary to attend certain classes. There are a couple of ways to speed your education. First, you can take the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). It’s a test where you prove you already know enough to skip the course—so you get credit without having to waste time studying something that’s yesterday’s news to you. Like a final without all the classtime. And of course, another approach to the CLEP could be a six-pack of Mountain Dew, a big fat course textbook, and your favorite, the All Night Study Session™ (I can’t guarantee success). Schedule yours at a college near you! The second way to accelerate is switching classes. Colleges may dish out introductory curricula and electives that you don’t need. Get familiar with the requirements for your associates, and look for alternatives. If the class you’re enrolled in isn’t getting you anywhere, swap it for something more enlightening.

Another way to maximize your time and money is increasing your course load. Go to school year-round, and you get an extra semester. This will be a big boost. By itself, it can reduce your 2-year degree to 1.5 years. Go for more courses at a time, and it’s simple math to see how efficient it is. Twice the classes, half the time. Like I said, though, it has everything to do with your commitment. You’ll have to work hard and discipline yourself so you keep up and maintain a good GPA. School is your choice, and whatever dedication, planning, and effort you put in, will come out.

There are plenty of opportunities out there for you. You can get your associates degree in less time than two years. But one year? If it’s really important, you can find a way. Just don’t expect to be kicking back in a recliner very often.