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 costof 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 Learningincludes 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 CLEPtests, 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 ahigh degreeof 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 Because the internet is such a rapidly evolving creature, some of Voeller's content is already outdated.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 CLEPtests, 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through his Global Learning Strategies company and website), these problems are not insurmountable and some have even been replaced by easier distance learning methods.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.
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