How to Enroll in A Degree Program and Start College Right Away

How to Enroll in A Degree Program and Start College Right Away

Do you want to jump right in and start college right away? We have some tips for those who want to jump in with both feet.

Key Takeaways

  • Whether you’re a recent high school graduate, a transfer student, or you’re returning to school after a gap year, there are several options for starting your degree right away.

  • Many online degree programs are designed for students who wish to start courses at various points throughout the academic year.

  • Below are several options for starting college right away including rolling admission dates, degree completion programs, and self-paced learning.

Looking to go to college without delay?

There are several different options for starting college right away, whether you’re part of the newest crop of graduating high school seniors, you’re a young adult returning to school to earn a degree, or you’re a transfer student looking to jump into a new program without disrupting your learning progress.

Naturally, one of the easiest ways to find that type of enrollment flexibility is to begin your search with a look at online learning options. If you’re planning on going to college and flexibility is a bigger priority than experiencing traditional college life, find out which of the best online bachelor’s degrees offer flexible start dates.

Otherwise, read on to find out how else you could start your degree program right away...

Smiling male student in front of a chalkboard

Seek a College Degree Program With Rolling Admission Dates

Many schools offer online learning options with rolling admission dates. This means that you may be able to go to college on your own schedule. If your top priority is to attend college (and leave college with a degree) as soon as possible, you may wish to look for programs that offer start dates throughout the course of the year.

Many colleges with rolling admission dates operate without application deadlines. This means that you may be able to complete the application process at any time of the year and, consequently, begin your education as soon as you have completed enrollment.

In many cases, degree programs with rolling admission dates will use an array of asynchronous learning options so that students can pursue their degree on their own time. College graduates will typically end up finishing college on their own schedule.

Back to Top

Find Out How Students Earn College Credit Before College

One great way to get your education off on the right foot is to begin earning college credits before you even graduate from high school. Many high school seniors have access to college credits through programs with local college campuses as well as advanced placement programs.

Students may be able to complete some college courses while still in high school. A strong academic track record may improve your eligibility for such opportunities. Certain advanced placement courses and exams may also make it possible for you to earn college credit before you graduate school.

Make contact with the community college in your region. Find out if there are ways that high school students earn college credit in your area. It may also be an opportunity to visit a nearby campus and get a firsthand look at college classes and college life.

Speak with your academic advisor or guidance counselor to find out what options may be available to you on the way to earning a high school diploma. This may be the fastest way to begin “attending college” even before high school graduation!

Back to Top

Complete Your Financial Aid Application Process ASAP

Get your financial aid materials in order as soon as possible!

Financial aid is a critical first step regardless of where and when you plan on attending. You may be eligible for a variety of financial aid options, including financial aid for self-paced online learning or tuition assistance for schools with rolling admission dates.

The first step is to complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This will give you a better sense of your options as you look for a college program with enrollment flexibility. Once you’ve completed your financial aid paperwork, you’ll be able to reach out to the financial aid office at your intended school to see what kinds of options exist for rolling admission, self-paced learning, or enrollment during the middle of the academic year.

So if you are looking for colleges that start any time, the first step is to make sure you have your federal aid determination ready to go.

Back to Top

Shop for Online Colleges with Multiple Start Dates Throughout the Year

Just because you’re attending college doesn’t mean you have to follow the traditional Spring and Fall semester model. Many schools offer a number of start dates throughout the academic year. This means that there are numerous established start dates (often as many as 6 to 10 start dates throughout the calendar year).

You may be required to meet certain application deadlines in order to become a full time student in one of these learning modules. But there will typically be numerous deadlines. This is a great option for transfer students who may be ready to leap into a new program right away but who also wish for a synchronous college education. Schools with multiple start dates may also be a good option for students who are returning to school after a gap year.

Colleges with numerous start dates throughout the academic year offer a great way to start on your own schedule but to still take classes with other students, develop a relationship with your favorite college professor, and gain the life experience that comes with attending college.

Happy female student on a college campus
Back to Top

Consider a Degree Completion Program

Many older adults who return to college after years spent working will enter into their college degree with both previously earned credits and previous work experience. Degree completion programs are typically more flexible when it comes to both recognizing existing credits and awarding additional credits for previous work and college experience.

For this reason, many schools offer degree completion through online programs that start according to your schedule. Most colleges that offer degree completion programs also provide the kind of scheduling flexibility that makes it easier for students to attend class, work a job, and generally succeed at time management.

This is also a great way to save money. Degree completion programs place the emphasis on finishing college as quickly as possible which means you won’t be saddled with the cost of additional credit requirements. You’ll get the best of both worlds with degree completion: a fresh start on your education and a speedy path to graduation.

Back to Top

Explore the Self-Paced College Education

For prospective students who are focused on both starting and completing courses on their own schedule, there are numerous self-paced options. It may be possible to earn your associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, and even an advanced degree through a self-paced online program.

Most self-paced degree programs allow you to attend college through asynchronous learning strategies. This means that you’ll complete online courses on your own personal schedule. If you require a support system that includes in person academic advising, participation in campus groups, or the general life experiences that come with campus residency, self-paced education may not be a great option for you.

On the other hand, if you have a clear vision and you believe you can master an effective time management strategy, a self paced education may make it possible to both hold down your day job, and pursue your degree in the limited free time you have available.

Learn more about the college admissions process with a look at our complete guide.

Or get valuable study tips, advice on adjusting to campus life, and much more at our student resource homepage.

Do you have a question about this topic? Ask it here