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It typically takes four years to obtain a bachelor's degree but some students may be able to complete the online courses in less than four years. Likewise other students may find it takes them longer than four years to complete their bachelor's degree requirements. Some schools may have limitations on the amount of time which can elapse before course credits become invalid. This restriction prevents students from taking too long to complete the degree requirements.
Although most students complete their bachelor's degree requirements in four years, there are some students who do so in less time. For example, students who take one semester off to complete an internship may take extra courses during other semesters to ensure they still graduate after four years despite taking one semester off from active coursework. Students pursing a bachelor's degree online may also find it possible to earn a bachelor's degree in less than four years. This is because the learning is largely self directed which enables the student to complete coursework at an accelerated pace. Again, there will likely be limitations on the number of credit hours taken each semester.
In general, the academic bachelor degree requirements for online and traditional students are very similar. This includes the types of courses which are required, the number of credits which are required as well as the methods of demonstrating an understanding of the course materials. However, the significant difference in the bachelor degree requirements for online and traditional students is the way in which the learning process takes place.
Traditional students typically spend the majority of their time in lectures and are required to do additional reading and homework assignments outside of the regularly scheduled lecture times. Additionally, their aptitude is typically tested through examinations and completion of projects and assignments. Online students may also be tested through examination, projects and assignments but the majority of the learning process will be self directed. Lectures covering the required material are usually available to the students online but it will be up to the student to either download and follow these lectures or make time to attend live lectures, if available. This flexibility enables the student to learn at a pace which is convenient for him.
Managing the time commitment for an online bachelors degree while juggling a full time career, family obligations and other social obligations can be quite difficult, but it is not impossible. While full-time students in a traditional college have to budget their time carefully to ensure they are dedicating adequate time to each course, students who have other obligations outside of school also have to schedule their time carefully. This often means becoming more efficient and organized, staying up later or waking up earlier and making sacrifices with leisure activities. Although this may seem burdensome, it is often considered worthwhile to students who are pursuing a degree for either personal satisfaction or career advancement.