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By submitting this request for more information, you are giving your express written consent for Lindenwood University and its partners to contact you regarding our educational programs and services using email, telephone or text - including our use of automated technology for calls and periodic texts to the wireless number you provide. Message and data rates may apply. This consent is not required to purchase good or services and you may always email us directly, including to opt out, at [email protected].

Home Blog How to Achieve Your Goals with a Degree Completion Program

How to Achieve Your Goals with a Degree Completion Program

March 15, 2024

Contributing Author: Alley Bardon

7 mins read

Do you have college credits with no degree? Perhaps you started a degree program, only to change your mind regarding your career goals—or maybe life circumstances required you to put your education on hold.

Regardless, if you're looking to apply your existing college credits toward a new degree, then a degree completion program may be a great solution. By understanding what a degree completion program entails and the benefits of pursuing one, you can determine whether this path may be right for you.

What Is a Degree Completion Program?

A degree completion program is a college degree program designed for students who already have some college credit under their belts but have not completed a formal degree program. Most often, degree completion programs are at the bachelor's level, but some schools may offer them for the completion of an associate degree as well.

The primary purpose of a degree completion program is to help students graduate with their degrees without having to start their educational journeys completely over. This, in turn, can save a great deal of time and money while still helping students earn the degrees they need.

Who Are Degree Completion Programs For?

Technically speaking, degree completion programs are available to anyone who started college, earned some credits, but didn't finish a formal degree program. However, there are some specific examples of the types of learners who are most likely to benefit from a degree completion program:

  • Students who started a bachelor's degree and dropped out for any reason.
  • Community college students who obtained an associate degree and want to apply those credits to a bachelor's degree.
  • Students who have earned college credits but decided to change their major or course of study.

Importance of Completing a Degree

If you started a degree that you didn't finish, you might feel defeated; staying out of school and pursuing a career without a degree may seem like the best option. Yet the reality is that it's almost always worth completing a degree once you've started it, no matter what your career goals may be. Because you already have some college credits, returning to school to finish your degree may be easier than you think—especially if you can find a degree completion program that allows you to transfer those existing credits. You've already put in some of the work, so why not finish and begin reaping all the benefits of a degree? This is particularly true when you consider that 87% of employers and hiring managers place importance on a candidate's higher education credentials.

Create Your Own Major

Pursuing a degree completion program, provides you the opportunity to build your own degree while combining your personal interests with previous education experience.

Combine Unique Interests and Previous Credits

Degree completion programs, such as those in interdisciplinary studies, allow you to transfer your existing credits to create your own degree. This is ideal for those who may have earned some credits toward a degree they are no longer interested in obtaining. Instead of those credits going to waste, a degree completion program in interdisciplinary studies allows students to apply those existing credits toward a new degree.

Additionally, an interdisciplinary studies completion degree is perfect for those who may be interested in several different areas of study. Most of these programs allow up to three different programs to be combined into one comprehensive degree program. Therefore, this can help students pursue their own unique interests while developing the skills employers are seeking.

Upgrade Your Associate Degree

A degree completion program can also be an excellent way to upgrade an existing associate degree to a full-fledged bachelor's degree. Using credits from your associate degree as transfer credits, you could start your bachelor's degree program with anywhere from 60 to 90 credits. This can cut down the amount of time it takes to complete your degree by as much as two years while saving you money on tuition and related expenses.

Is a Bachelor's Degree Worth It?

Still not sure whether it's actually worth it to finish your bachelor's degree? There are a few reasons to consider completing your degree, ranging from personal fulfillment to the potential for increased income.

Personal Fulfillment

You already put in the effort to earn at least some college credits, but failing to complete your degree the first time around may have left you feeling down on yourself. By returning to school to complete your bachelor's degree, you can enjoy a sense of personal fulfillment and pride in knowing you finished what you started.

Career Opportunities

Having a bachelor's degree may result in better career opportunities, too. There are many careers and fields that require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in order to qualify for work. When you go back to school to finish the degree you started, you could expand your job prospects. Even for jobs that don't necessarily require a bachelor's degree to obtain the role, your degree could help set you apart from other job applicants. Likewise, having a degree could help you qualify for promotions and other opportunities to work your way up the career ladder—ones for which you might not qualify without a degree.

Increased Income

In addition, a bachelor's degree can increase your earnings potential significantly. Consider, for example, that a recent graduate with a bachelor's degree earned a median income of $52,000 per year in 2022. For comparison, a worker with only a high school diploma earned a median salary of just $32,320 per year. In other words, you could make an average of about $20,000 more per year just by finishing your bachelor's degree.

Set the Stage for a Graduate Degree

Maybe you have dreams of someday obtaining a master's degree, doctorate degree, or a graduate certificate. Unfortunately, these advanced degrees and certificates are simply not available to those who do not already have a bachelor's degree. In almost all cases, possessing a bachelor's degree is a basic admission requirement for graduate school.

By finishing your bachelor's degree, then, you could open the doors for future advancement toward a graduate degree.

Finding the Right School for Degree Completion

If a degree completion is something you're considering, the most essential step to take is finding the right school and program to meet your needs. There are several specific factors you'll want to ponder and look for as you begin your search.

In-Person or Online Degree Completion Programs

For starters, consider whether you'd prefer to complete your degree in person or explore degree completion online. An online degree completion program can be a go-to option for those who may not live within close commuting distance of a college campus or who may have busy schedules that don't easily accommodate in-person learning.

Transfer Credits

You also should consider how easy it will be to transfer your existing college credits to your new program. Not all credits transfer equally to all schools and programs, and the best way to determine which of your previous credits are eligible for transfer is to set up a meeting with an admissions advisor or counselor. Ideally, you want to enroll in a degree completion program where you'll be able to transfer as many of your previous credits as possible.

Core Curriculum Requirements

When considering a degree completion program, it's crucial to look at the program's core curriculum and general education requirements. These are the classes you'll be required to take in order to be eligible for your degree. These exact classes will vary greatly depending on the areas of study you have chosen, so be sure to look closely at your curriculum and consult with an academic counselor for assistance.

Financial Aid and Student Support

Finally, make sure any program you select has a variety of financial aid and student support resources available to help make the transition back to school as smooth as possible. This should include scholarships, grants, payment plans, and other options to make paying for your return to school more affordable.

Student support resources can also help you receive the guidance and help you need as you strive to complete your degree. Whether you choose to attend online or in-person, you should have access to things like tutoring services, professional development assistance, career counseling, and more. Selecting a school that goes out of its way to support its students can really make all the difference in your long-term success.

Lindenwood Online Degree Completion with a Personal Touch

At Lindenwood University Online, we're proud to offer a wide range of degree programs to suit your busy schedule. This includes degree completion programs that are available 100% online, so you can work at your own pace and make your education your own.

Interdisciplinary Studies Degree

Specifically, our bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies is an ideal choice for those looking to apply existing credits to a new degree. This type of program even allows you to create your own degree with the ability to focus on three different areas of study rather than just one. This way, you could build your own degree program and take your career in the exact direction you wish.

Lindenwood University sets itself apart from other schools with nearly 200 years of academic excellence and a completely personalized approach to education. We believe in developing strong relationships to support students through every step of their journey while offering flexible online degree options and the ability to transfer credits from existing programs.

To request more information about Lindenwood University Online's bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies or any other degree completion program, get in touch with our team today. You can also get the ball rolling by starting your online application.

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