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Accelerated Degree: A Homeschooler’s Successful Experiment

By November 18, 2020December 28th, 20212 Comments

Guest post by Ashney Patoka, who earned an accelerated degree in one year for under $8,000

If you are a parent homeschooling a high school student (or maybe two), you are probably already in the “What about college?” mindset.

Are you preparing correctly? What credits are required for college entry? Should you do dual enrollment? Which universities should you consider? How much will it cost? What kind of education will my child receive?

Sometimes all of this can be overwhelming, but there may be one more question to add to your list…. What about earning a college degree at home while still in high school?

Yes, you read that correctly. You can help your child earn their bachelor’s degree while still in high school!

There are many different routes to obtaining a college degree and we are all guilty of having a strong opinion on the right way to do a particular thing. Some folks in a traditional college frame of thinking may balk at the mere idea, but it is totally possible for your high school student to graduate with enough college credit to satisfy a bachelor’s degree!

We all have different giftings and talents; therefore, we all may need a slightly different approach to higher education.

For some, a traditional college classroom is what works best. Some may wish to enroll in a vocation/technical program. Still other students may find an accelerated distance learning degree is ideal for them. Staying open-minded is key to having a fulfilling and enriched education.

In a nutshell, here’s how an accelerated degree works:

  • Your student studies independently until he feels he has mastered the context of a college-level class syllabus.
  • He then goes to an approved testing center (usually a local college campus) to take a college-level examination on the subject he studied for.
  • Upon passing the exam, three to six college credits are granted.
  • You repeat this process until a significant amount of college credit has been earned.
  • Lastly, a student can add to the examination credits with a few community college or online classes as needed.

There are many study resources available to ensure proper depth of learning.

Of course, one aspect of this type of learning is that the student must be self-disciplined as there is no college professor providing tests, deadlines, etc.

no college debtAnother great thing to consider is that a degree earned by this method can easily be earned for under $10,000! Spreading that cost out over the four years of high school reduces the financially felt impact of the college education.

A student with a part-time or summer job could easily support his college degree and graduate debt free. This is something most students today cannot begin to boast of.

What majors can be earned on the accelerated path? Good question! A doctor or engineer is not going to be able to sit on the back lawn, sipping iced tea and studying to earn a college degree.

Some majors demand high amounts of hands-on/classroom experience. However, many degrees can be earned “at home,” or at least a moderate portion earned by examination, and the rest completed on a campus.

Here’s a brief list of a few majors successfully completed by the accelerated student:

  • Communications
  • Social Sciences
  • Liberal Studies
  • Political Science
  • English/Literature
  • Business Admin

There are several more options. This is just a start! Even if you do not wish to complete an entire degree via accelerated distance learning, “testing out” of a few basic classes can save you thousands of dollars!

If you would like more information on this, please visit Here you will find extremely user-friendly material to walk you each step of the way on this educational journey.

Our vision at No College Debt is to empower students and their families to take charge of their education and for students to not be tied down to years of student loans when there is another option.

Author Bio: Hi, I’m Ashney! I am a homeschool graduate and extremely grateful for my parents’ sacrifice in educating me at home. That education was invaluable! My husband and I are excited to start our own family’s home education very soon.

After graduating high school at home, I immediately began my own business, teaching dance and music lessons. That business grew and I am still teaching almost a decade later. In 2009, I learned about earning a college degree quickly and by self-study. I dove in headfirst and completed my bachelor’s degree in one year for under $8,000.

I was able to continue my business and order studying around my schedule as I saw fit. Afterward, I found that people were largely uninformed about this type of learning, and even if they had heard of it, they weren’t quite sure how to make it all work.

So I decided to write a manual to walk students through the details of earning an accelerated degree. My husband and I work together and are passionate about helping students avoid unnecessary debt! I hope No College Debt can bless your family as it has mine.

We have updated this guest post, originally published in May 2016, for timeliness and detail.

Guest Post

The views and opinions expressed in guest blog posts are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of MPE. If you are interested in submitting a guest blog post, please visit:


  • Sara says:

    Are there other ways to do this other than study/test study/test etc. Aren’t there online courses that will give Dual credit. If they are spending all their time studying for a CLEP test for example, they are not learning anything new for high school.

    • Hi Sara! Thanks for your question and interest! You are right, there are classes that can be taken locally or online that offer high school students dual credit. These are typically referred to as dual enrollment classes. CLEP exams offer this same scenario simply in a self-study format. You will likely spend more time on any kind of class (community college or online) than you would studying for a CLEP (or other) exam. I studied on average 40-50 hours for each exam. If a high school student had a goal of taking one exam per month, about 2 hours a day of study toward the exam would be sufficient. Obviously, this leaves plenty of time for their regular high school requirements. CLEP exams are all academic subjects, many of which your high school student will need to cover anyways. So think of it as “double dipping.” You are not taking time away from your high school English requirements by spending time studying for the CLEP English exam because the content covered is the same. You are simply seizing the opportunity to earn college credit for time the student already has to spend studying for high school credit. Of course not all college exams will double as high school credit, but many will! We offer degree consulting because we love to work with students, and their parents, to help them create a plan that will work for their life goals. Please let me know if you have any additional questions!

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