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.

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.

This allows students who have previously completed several required courses to earn their degree at an accelerated pace—depending on how many credits they are able to transfer.

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Who Benefits from Degree Completion Programs?

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?

Is a Degree Completion Program Right for You?

Pursuing a degree is always a big decision. Here are six questions to help you determine if a degree completion program is right for you.

1. What level of education have you completed?

Before applying to a degree completion program, you should have a thorough understanding of how much education you’ve already completed. Do you have an associate’s degree? Or are you returning to school to complete an unfinished degree? These are great indicators on whether or not a degree completion program is a great fit for you.

2. What are your career goals?

Before embarking on your journey to advance your education, make sure you set personal and professional goals for yourself. Does your current degree support your career goals? Would completing a bachelor’s degree help you achieve those goals? Make sure you have a clear professional roadmap before continuing your education and the purpose of your return to college. After all, a degree completion program is meant to help you move forward in life.

3. 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.

4. Can you afford to return to college?

Returning to school for a degree completion program requires an investment in both time and money! If you’re considering returning to school, make sure that you have the financial ability to continue to support yourself and your dependents while you’re furthering your education.

5. Do you have a support system?

While finances are crucial to this decision, don’t take the investment of your time lightly; it’s important to remember that completing your bachelor’s degree may entail a change to your work schedule or disrupt your regular routine. Be transparent with your employer and family about the decision that you’re about to make and the support you will need to be successful.

6. Are you looking to complete your degree online or in person?

With the amount of time and effort a degree completion program will take, it’s important to consider whether the programs are offered online, in person, or, in some cases, a flexible hybrid of both. Make sure whichever format you choose supports your lifestyle and responsibilities—both personal and professional—to ensure your successful completion of the program.

The Regis College Professional Studies Division recognizes that many individuals who enroll in a degree completion program are juggling full or part time jobs, family obligations, financial responsibilities, and much more. Thus, we strive to offer degree completion in a flexible format to these individuals through hybrid and online formats.

Take the Next Step

A degree completion program can be a valuable and sometimes essential step in your efforts to reach your goals. If you’re ready to take the next steps in your professional career and complete a bachelor’s degree, take a look at the options available through Regis College.

Whether you’re a first generation student, adult learner, transfer student, associate’s degree holder, or you’re simply looking to complete an unfinished program, obtaining your bachelor’s degree is well within your reach.

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