Colleges offer flexible programs that allow you to tailor your education to fit your needs. Here's a sample of these programs.
Accelerated Program: Earn your bachelor's degree in three years, rather than four. Usually this involves attending summer classes or carrying extra courses.
Cooperative Education: Alternate between semesters of full-time study and related paid full-time work. It takes five years to earn a bachelor's degree under this plan, but you get a year's practical work experience, too.
Distance Learning: Take courses for credit without having to physically be in the classroom. Today this usually means taking classes online. However, distance learning can also mean classes and course work offered via television, DVDs or CD-ROMs, and other media.
Double Major: Complete the requirements of two majors at the same time.
Dual Enrollment: Take college courses for credit while still in high school.
English as a Second Language (ESL) Program: Improve your English skills. These programs are for students who are not native English speakers.
External Degree: Earn credits toward a college degree through independent study, college courses, proficiency exams and qualifying life experience. This program usually requires very little classroom attendance — sometimes none at all.
Honors Program: Enter the honors program for special learning opportunities such as educational enrichment, independent study, acceleration or some combination of these.
Independent Study: Complete part of your college program by studying on your own, instead of attending scheduled classes and completing group assignments.
Internship: Participate in a short-term, supervised work experience, usually related to your major, that earns you academic credit. Internships may be paid or unpaid, and may be on or off campus.
Semester at Sea: Live for part of a semester on a ship, often a research vessel, while taking academic courses. This program is typically for students majoring in oceanography or other marine-related fields.
Student-Designed Major: Create a major in a field of study that’s not formally offered by your college as a major. Often nontraditional and interdisciplinary in nature, the major is developed with the approval of a college officer or committee.
Study Abroad: Complete part of your college program while studying in another country. Your college may operate a campus abroad or it may have a cooperative agreement with some other U.S. college or an institution of the other country.
United Nations Semester: Take courses at a college in the New York City metropolitan area while participating in an internship program at the United Nations.
Urban Semester: Spend a semester in a major city, such as Philadelphia, Chicago, New York, Denver or San Francisco. You can experience the complexities of an urban center through course work, seminars and internships related to your major.
Visiting/Exchange Student: Study for a semester or more at another college without extending the amount of time required for a degree.
Washington Semester: Participate in an internship program with a government agency or department in Washington, D.C.
Weekend College: Take a complete course of study by attending classes only on weekends. These programs are generally restricted to a few areas of study at a college and take more than the traditional number of years to complete.
If any of these special programs interest you, use College Search to make sure the colleges you are applying to offer them.