by Kathy Kirchoff

Do you want to earn your degree as soon as possible? The Adult Success through Accelerated Programs (ASAP) may be just the thing for you. This program at Inver Hills Community College is designed for adults who want to finish a degree quickly, may require a flexible schedule, or want to learn at their own pace.  Whether you’re just starting out, have worked for a while, or are returning to school, this may be a great way for you to get the degree you have been wanting.


ASAP degrees usually apply toward a two-year associate degree. Classes usually meet once during the week or on Saturdays, and you can take more than one course during a semester. You can also transfer to a four-year college or university to work towards a bachelor’s degree. 


ASAP also has an individualized professional studies (IPS) option. This allows you to design your own degree. These degrees are often pursued by working professionals who have five or more years of working experience and are looking to advance within a certain industry. The degree combines 30 credits of liberal arts with a specialized academic concentration of 30 credits.


Earn Credit for Prior Learning

You can shorten the amount of time you’re in school by earning college credits through Prior Learning Assessments (PLA). These assessments test the knowledge and skills you have gained through work and life experiences. You must demonstrate the same knowledge or skill as a student who has completed the equivalent college course to earn credit. You can earn credits in a range of fields, such as business management, customer service, communication, and computer applications. Credit earned through PLA assessments can also save you money because they cost much less per credit than regular courses.  Be sure to check out the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) which also awards credit for prior learning.


Know Your Options

Inver Hills staff can help you develop your degree plan. How long it takes to complete it depends on how many credits you take each semester, whether your prior college credits can be transferred, and whether you receive credit for prior learning. An educational planning class offered by the school will help you determine how long it will take you to complete your degree.


Financial aid assistance is also available. If you haven’t taken a course in the last seven years, you may qualify for the ALLISS grant which provides free tuition (up to five semester credits) and books. Check with the school you are interested in attending to see if they participate in this program.


Learn more about the Inver Hill’s ASAP degree program.