Fastest way to finish Bachelor's degree while working full time
September 30, 2014 3:33 AM   Subscribe

Went to U of Utah for undergrad (1992-1998) and ended up leaving before finishing my Bachelor's to pursue a job opportunity. I did horribly in school (2.3 GPA) and had about 108 semester units. Now, I'm older (40 yrs) and arguably wiser and want to get my Bachelor's degree to possibly go after an MBA. I live in Santa Clara, CA now (Bay area) and work full time. I'm trying to figure out the fastest/easiest way to get a Bachelor's degree from an accredited school that also looks good on a resume and that I can use to pursue a higher degree.

Why do I want to do this? Career advancement and frankly in part because I feel embarrassed anytime the discussion of college comes up at work, since I'm the only person at my level who doesn't have their degree.

Seeking degree in business or possibly computer science related. I work in software development as a manager, so I'm thinking either would be helpful/relevant.

My preference would be to do it online on my own time, but a school with night/weekend programs could work as well. I'm disciplined enough to be able to do online coursework. I want the institution to be something I can proudly put on my resume. I'm ok with taking classes at a community college here to fulfill my general ed and anything else before transferring in. Cost is a consideration, but not a showstopper.

Any thoughts on some good options for completing this?
posted by n0stress4me to Education (9 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
At this point in your career, it is probably much less important to have a BA that looks good on a CV than it is to have a BA on your CV. You've been in the workforce for almost 20 years and all of that experience is going to weigh a lot more than where the BA is from once you drag past the hurdle of having a BA.

I would suggest you look at Thomas Edison, which is a 100% legit, public NJ state college and has extensive online courses. Their BS in Business Administration might be what you are looking for. You can have them assess your 108 UU credits and see how many will transfer in to get a good idea of where you'd be going.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:06 AM on September 30, 2014 [6 favorites]

Arizona State University also offers an online program. I mean, it's a real place, I lived in the dorms. I didn't see inside of a classroom very often (hence my 2.0 GPA for undergrad.)

But you could go further and fair worse.

I will say that San Jose State might offer enough classes at night, you could attend on-campus and finish up that way.

But were I you, I'd do ASU and call it a day.

The way you make up for a 2.0 GPA is to knock your GMAT/GRE out of the park.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:11 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

there are quite a few schools who offer general studies degrees for people in your situation. some offer D/F forgiveness too, which will
boost your GPA.
posted by kerning at 5:50 AM on September 30, 2014

Nthing Thomas Edison State College. You should be able to do credit-by-exam for the bulk of your degree.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:54 AM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Are you planning to eventually get your graduate degree locally? If so, that would be an argument to at least look into the local options for finishing the BA locally also (whether in person or through their online program) in order to make connections and find people to serve as references for the graduate application.

And of course the UofU, like everyone else these days, has online courses -- you'll want to check with them as well in case that was the fastest option since you are already in their system.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:59 AM on September 30, 2014

I was in exactly your boat. I did some research and found one of the colleges locally (private accredited university, one you've actually heard of, solid reputation, not a for-profit scam) had a specific "finish your BS at night for working professionals" program that didn't expire my decades old credits. Same classes as the regular undergrads took; not dumbed down to get you out the door. Usually met one day a week for 3-4 hours, though some classes had weekend hours. I note that since I did it, several other colleges have started offering similar programs. There are even a couple that have a "finish your BA and dovetail right into the MBA program", if that's your goal.

I could have done it easier, at a less rigorous program, or just written a check to UoPheonix or some such, but as I'm looking to head off to grad school, I'm glad I didn't. The admissions folks I've talked to have mentioned how much more doing it the way I did gave me an advantage getting in. YMMV, I suppose.
posted by kjs3 at 10:05 AM on September 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

You should look at San Jose State University. Just down the street from you, they have an extensive credit by exam and credit transfer program. In state tuition too.
posted by chevyvan at 2:08 PM on September 30, 2014

Indiana University (my alma mater!) has degree completion programs, including one for a B.S. in Business Administration.
posted by SisterHavana at 12:43 AM on October 1, 2014

I'm about to complete my (online) BAS at Arizona State and it has gone pretty quickly (I had an Associates first). A friend is going to Colorado State and they allow you to get credits based on work experience.
posted by getawaysticks at 10:23 AM on October 2, 2014

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