In today's job market it's often the applicant with the degree rather than the one with experience who gets the position, even at fast food restaurants and coffee shops. But with the cost of education continuing to rise, many are finding the trade-off less than profitable, especially when debt is basically a prerequisite to obtaining a four-year degree the traditional way. At the same time, getting any kind of experience is increasingly difficult, creating a vicious cycle where no one can get a job without experience, but no one can get experience without a degree.
Brad Voeller's remarkable alternative to four-year college allows young people to get both at the same time, and much faster than usual. Accelerated Distance Learning includes his experiences getting a long distance degree, testimonials from successful individuals who promote or followed a similar path, and advice, resources and strategies for current and prospective distance students. Written from an intensely practical perspective, this book is a tool, a guide, and a source of encouragement as you chart your own distance education path.
Many of Voeller's strategies will already be familiar—taking CLEP tests, developing good study and memory skills, accessing online study resources. Some will be less familiar and require much more discipline—independent study at community colleges, internships that translate into college credit, finding and applying for scholarships and grants. Be aware: though this route may seem easier than four-year college, it's actually more difficult as it requires a high degree of self-motivation. Still, the time and money saved make this an excellent option for those dedicated anough to pursue it.
There are a few downsides to this volume. Because the internet is such a rapidly evolving creature, some of Voeller's content is already outdated. Many colleges have stopped offering CLEP tests, some no longer include them on transcripts, and others will not accept CLEP scores toward completion of certain degrees.
Distance education also works much better for some degrees than others—there are programs, like engineering and nursing, that aren't available long distance. But because Accelerated Distance Learning is more a jumping-off place than a complete course guide in itself (Voeller continues to promote accelerated education through his Global Learning Strategies company and website), these problems are not insurmountable and some have even been replaced by easier distance learning methods. CollegePlus!, for example, is a program designed to help you pursue accelerated distance learning.
Accelerated Distance Learning is not for everyone. For some, the benefits of traditional classroom education with the possiblity of interaction and intervening reflection can never be replaced with the kind of rapid-fire techniques Voeller extols. For many, however, particularly for those with defined career and vocational goals, the prospect of earning the kind of degree that will help them acheive those goals with a minimum of time and money is too good to ignore. If you're among that number, Voeller's guide is an invaluable resource and a constant source of encouragement for those pursuing an education through routes even more difficult than the traditional ones.
Accelerated Distance Learning provides an introduction to this revolutionary new method of higher education. CollegePlus! provides guidance through this somewhat complicated system of learning. Fully accredited four year bachelor degrees can be accomplished with vastly reduced costs and time investments. Business degrees can be accomplished within six months for $12,000! However, this method is not limited to simple degrees that can be accomplished wholly online. The glory of this system is its flexibility. You choose what classes you take and from where you take them. Take music classes from that wonderful university near your home if that's what you want! Take physics classes with lab if you want! It's completely up to you! (Be sure that the college is regionally accredited though...) Once you've accumulated credits from various institutions, as well as from CLEP credits, you then transfer those credits to one institution (in my case, Thomas Edison State College). That institution then pulls your credits together into your desired degree and grants you your diploma.
Another immense benefit of this system is that when taking CLEP tests you get to choose what study materials you use. I'm a math and science person, so I filled as many electives as I could with math and science. I had used Saxon math and Apologia Science in my homeschooling so I continued to use those curriculum textbooks to study for CLEP tests. Not only did I avoid the Godless college classroom but I was able to use textbooks written for Christian homeschoolers! How much better could it get?!?
CollegePlus! helped me through the accelerated distance method to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Applied Science Technology (BSAST) in Aviation Flight Technology. CollegePlus! enabled me to obtain 60 general education credits (half my degree) in 6 months at 16 years old! I then went on to take online aviation classes from two different universities, included Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (the top aviation university in the country). Meanwhile, I began to pursue flight training. I now have all the ratings that I need to be a professional pilot. These ratings counted as 45 credits towards my degree.
Now, three years from when I started down the path of Accelerated Distance Learning, I have a fully-accredited bachelors degree in aviation flight technology, am a professional pilot, and am working in my chosen career field. And last Saturday was my 19th birthday! Thank you, Brad Voeller and CollegePlus!!