What is a Completion Degree Program? The Complete Guide

Life doesn’t always go according to plan. For instance, not everyone who goes to college ends up finishing their degree. The good news is that anyone with college credits⁠—whether transferred or from an associate’s or unfinished bachelor’s degree—can obtain their bachelor’s through a degree completion program.

These programs can be especially beneficial for adult learners and first generation students looking to continue and complete a degree they previously didn’t have the time or resources to pursue. It also gives students the option to take some time off and complete their degree at a later time, if needed.

Here’s an overview of degree completion programs and how to determine if pursuing one is the right move for you.

Completion degree programs provide a pathway for students who have some prior college credits to finish their bachelor’s degree. These flexible programs recognize your existing credits, allowing you to complete your degree faster and more affordably.

Whether you have an associate degree transferred credits, or an unfinished bachelor’s program a completion degree can help you finally attain your degree. Read on to learn what a completion degree is, who it benefits, and how to determine if it’s the right choice for you.

What Is a Completion Degree Program?

A completion degree program is designed for students who have started, but not finished, their bachelor’s degree By accepting your previously earned credits, it offers an accelerated route to finishing your undergrad education

These programs go by different names, including bachelor’s completion programs, degree completion programs, and 2+2 programs. But they all share the same purpose – helping students with prior credits complete their bachelor’s degree

Completion programs offer benefits like:

  • Flexibility – Take classes online, on campus, or both. Programs are designed to fit into your busy life.

  • Affordability – Transfer credits let you save time and money. Scholarships and financial aid are also often available.

  • Support – Advisors provide guidance from enrollment through graduation. Smaller classes also allow for individualized attention.

  • Relevant Curricula – Courses focus on current workplace needs and trends to prepare you for career success after graduation.

Who Can Benefit From a Completion Degree?

Completion degrees serve a diverse group of students, including:

  • Adult learners – Going back to school as a working adult or parent requires flexibility. Online and evening classes allow you to balance education with other responsibilities.

  • Active military and veterans – Completion programs provide an accelerated path by transferring in credits for military training and experience.

  • Career advancers – Earning your degree can unlock promotions and other advancement opportunities.

  • Former transfer students – Transferring schools can cause credits to be lost. Completion programs help you make the most of your existing credits.

  • Associate degree holders – Take your education to the next level by transferring your 2-year degree credits into a bachelor’s program.

  • Former college students – If you previously left college before earning your bachelor’s, you can pick up where you left off.

The right program recognizes your life experience and helps you apply it towards a degree on your schedule.

Key Things to Look For in a Quality Completion Program

With so many options to choose from, it’s important to vet potential completion programs thoroughly. Here are some key indicators of a high-quality option:

Flexible Learning Formats

Quality completion programs offer flexibility to accommodate students’ schedules and learning styles. Look for a blend of online, evening, weekend and accelerated courses. Hybrid programs blending online and in-person instruction are ideal for balancing education with work and family commitments.

High Transfer Credit Acceptance

Maximize the value of your prior college experience by finding a program that accepts as many of your existing credits as possible. Look for established transfer credit policies and articulation agreements with other schools. Top programs may accept 75% or more of your credits.

Strong Student Support Services

From enrollment to graduation, you should have access to academic advisors, career counseling, tutoring and other support services. These resources are critical to keeping adult learners on track to finishing their degree.

Relevant, Marketable Degrees

Choose a program offering degrees that align with in-demand career fields like business, IT, healthcare, and education. Your ideal program partners with industry leaders to ensure curriculum is career-focused.

Affordable Tuition Options

Completing your degree is an investment. Make sure your program offers savings through transfer credits as well as merit scholarships and financial aid to cut costs. Employer tuition reimbursement may also be an option.

How to Apply to a Completion Degree Program

Once you’ve chosen a quality completion degree program that fits your needs, follow these steps to apply:

  1. Gather transcripts – Request official transcripts from all prior colleges attended. This verifies existing credits you can transfer.

  2. Review transfer policies – Understand the program’s transfer credit criteria, limits, and processes to estimate how many credits you can transfer.

  3. Calculate costs – Factor in tuition, fees, books, and other expenses. Then explore financial aid options to offset costs.

  4. Complete the application – Follow all instructions carefully. Provide full details on prior college experience to maximize transfer credits.

  5. ** Apply for financial aid** – Submit FAFSA and any scholarship applications promptly to qualify for aid by enrollment.

Take the Next Step and Complete Your Degree

The skills and knowledge you’ll gain from completing your bachelor’s degree can reap rewards throughout your career and beyond. Let an accredited completion program help you reach this milestone on your terms.

Find the right fit and take the next steps toward your goals. With hard work and the right support, you can finally complete your degree.

what is completion degree program

What level of education is required for your desired job?

Do you have a specific career path in mind? If so, do some research to determine whether a bachelor’s degree is required to be successful in that role. In such circumstances, it’s possible that you’ll succeed in your career with only an associate’s degree, as not every job requires a bachelor’s degree. Make sure that a degree completion program supports your career goals and ultimately benefits your livelihood. Take some time to research the level of education required for your career path before investing time and money into continued education.

Who Benefits from Degree Completion Programs?

A degree completion program may be right for you if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • You have an unfinished undergrad degree: As the name suggests, degree completion programs are ideal for students who have incomplete college credits toward a bachelor’s degree.
  • You hold an associate’s degree: If you hold an associate’s degree and want to advance your education, you can obtain your bachelor’s degree without having to go through a four-year program.
  • You’re a transfer student: Students transferring from one educational institution to another could benefit from enrolling in the degree completion program. This, of course, depends on your situation and what kinds of programs your new school offers.
  • You have previous college credit: According to Hillary Trischitta, assistant director of enrollment and advising professional studies at Regis College, “Degree completion is beneficial to anyone who has previous college credit, whether that be through a certificate program, associate’s degree, or simply bulk credit.”

Just because you fall into one of these categories, however, doesn’t mean that a degree completion program is always the right choice for you. So how can you determine if it is the right next step for your career?

Different Types Of Degrees Explained: (Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate, and Professional)

What is a degree completion program?

A degree completion program allows students with an associate’s degree, unfinished bachelor’s degree, or transferable college credits to earn a bachelor’s degree. They provide opportunities for students to transfer any eligible college credits they’ve already earned and take the required courses to complete their degree.

What is an online degree completion program?

An online degree completion program awards transfer credits for college classes you’ve already taken. Instead of spending four years on a bachelor’s degree, you can graduate from degree completion programs online in as few as 1-2 years. You’ll submit transcripts to learn how many credits you’ll still need for your degree.

Is a degree completion program right for You?

A degree completion program may be right for you if you fall into one of the following categories: You have an unfinished undergrad degree: As the name suggests, degree completion programs are ideal for students who have incomplete college credits toward a bachelor’s degree.

How do I choose a degree completion program?

When choosing a program, consider whether the degree completion program is online or in person, how many of your previous credits the college will accept, and the college’s accreditation status. Many colleges offer fully online degree completion programs. These programs are often flexible, and they may target working adults.

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