For many people, a college education is about the experience of being on campus with like-minded people for four or more years. For others, it is about learning as much as you can as quickly as you can, and graduating with credentials to move on to meaningful employment. If you fall into the second category, there are ways to take advantage of an early graduation. By maximizing your credits and time in college, you can turn a four-year program into an accelerated, two-year program.

College-Level Examination Program

One quick way to knock off credits is to enroll in CLEP, a program designed to let students take examinations in lieu of credits, for a small fee. Find out if your college accepts CLEP marks for credit. If so, you'll want to buy CLEP study guides and take as many examinations as you can at a local test center. Instead of taking lengthy courses, you'll be able to reduce the number of credits you need to graduate quickly and efficiently.

Research Program Requirements

Some students end up taking extra courses because they have not researched the credits they need to graduate. Choose a major early on and stick with it, so you don't end up with extra and unnecessary courses. Look carefully at exactly the courses you will need to finish your degree. Don't take electives and plan ahead carefully. This should allow you to plan a course of study with the bare minimum number of courses you need for your degree.

Extension Classes and Advanced Placements

One way to finish college in two years is to take advantage of every semester, including the summer. Take the maximum number of courses you're allowed during the summer, fall and winter terms. Don't forget about night classes. Some schools allow you to take advanced-placement courses while you're still in high school, which give you college credits in advance. Talk to your high school guidance counselor for information on advanced placements.

Focus Only on School

There are many exciting opportunities that college has to offer, but that will hinder your ability to graduate in two years. Forget about studying abroad for a year. While it can be fun, there is no guarantee you'll be able to find the courses you need for your degree. If you can afford it, don't work during your time in college. Focus exclusively on schoolwork. College clubs and organizations can be stimulating, but consider whether you'll have time for them.


It takes from 2-6 weeks to study for each test. At this rate you can easily take all the allowable tests that your college will accept allowing you to accelerate your graduation date.


Do not take CLEP tests unprepared.


Do not assume that your college accepts CLEP as credits. Some will exempt you from an entry level class and not award credits. Others will not accept them at all.

Related Articles