We are constantly on the go, EVERY. SECOND, COUNTS. As a result, every school is advertising an accelerated program—get your degree in less than 2 years! 1 year! 3 months! OVERNIGHT! Okay, so, I was being a little facetious with those last ones, but no one has time to wait! We want everything as quickly as possible, but often don’t consider what this will mean. As a person who has completed two accelerated programs, and am buried in another, I have to say that they are definitely more than a notion. Accelerated programs are always great in the beginning and in the end, but the middle can be a struggle, so I’ve decided to give you a few tips that will help you as you progress through an accelerated program!
#1: Mentally prepare yourself. There will be few breaks. You have to be prepared for the classes running one into another. Think about it: success in most things is mental, if you get hung up on the fact that you don’t have very many breaks, it will break you down. You have to accept that your program is accelerated for a reason, and be proactive about it.
#2: Create your breaks. You have your syllabus ahead of time, which means you can work ahead. If you are strategic, you can finish all of your work a week ahead of time, and then you have a week off. If you can get ahead, do it!
#3: Order materials on-time! You probably won’t have very many breaks, so it’s important that you understand your class cycles and work ahead of time. For example, one class ends on Sunday at 11:59p, and the new one begins on Monday at 12:00a. You need to make sure you’ve already ordered your books and materials in advance—I have been caught MANY A TIME overnighting books, using the interlibrary loans, and sometimes even asking cohort mates to share info with me. You can get so caught up in those final projects that you forget to order book--stay on it!
#4: Keep up with your course sequence. A course sequence is like a to-do list. Keep up with how many classes that you’ve completed and how many you have left to go—it’s motivating. Being able to look at the list and see that you have three classes left until your program is finished or that you get to take a class you’re really excited about next semester helps motivate you.
#5: Don’t fall behind! I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again—DO NOT FALL BEHIND! There isn’t room for playing catch-up in these programs. You really have to manage your time well and get things moving so that you don’t fall behind. There are usually heavy assignments due at a minimum every other week, with some classes almost weekly. Missing one assignment can have a huge impact on your progression because there are so many assignments, AND the assignments tend to build upon one another.
Being in an accelerated program definitely has its benefits—I’ve completed my share of them. You just have to remember to preemptively strike so that you will experience success and the process won’t be more stressful than it needs to be!